In the five decades following the Second World War tens of thousands of 'new arrivals' were accommodated in migrant hostels across South Australia. Informed by research undertaken in partnership with The University of Adelaide, Hostel Stories is the first attempt to bring together their history.



About 26,000 Displaced Persons and assisted migrants passed through the ‘migrant camp’ at Woodside. Its isolation and limited public transport frustrated many residents, but some remember the beauty of the location.

Location: Woodside, Adelaide Hills, at the Woodside Army Base

Years operated: 1949 - 1963

Administered by: Commonwealth Government

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Opening later, and established in more permanent buildings, Woodville appears to have offered a slightly higher standard of accommodation than most of the earlier hostels. 

Location: At the corner of Findon Road and Woodville Road, Woodville, in the former Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) hostel

Years operated: c.1969 – c.1978

Administered by: State Government

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Work camps and interstate hostels

Tens of thousands of people went through migrant hostels in South Australia. In addition to the government-run hostels there were a number of camps or work hostels run directly by organisations that employed large numbers of migrants. These included sites at Salisbury, Hendon, Springbank and those run by the South Australian Railways in Adelaide (North Terrace), Islington and Peterborough, the Engineering and Water Supply Department in Bedford Park and Leigh Creek, and the Woods and Forests Department in Mount Gambier, among others.

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