It was common for people to stay in more than one migrant hostel before moving on to a home of their own. Displaced Persons, and migrants on many of the assisted passage schemes, were subject to a two-year work contract and required to move wherever the government sent them.
Families were frequently separated. Woodside, like other large centres around Australia, operated as a holding centre for women and children who could not be accommodated with husbands and fathers who lived in hostels closer to their work, sometimes interstate.
The hostels served as launching pads for ‘new arrivals’. In the 1950s and 1960s most of the hostels were on the fringes of the city, or in rural areas. Transport was crucial and many people’s first priority was to acquire a bicycle, motor bike or car.