Hostel Stories offer rich history of a migrant State

Friday, 26 April 2013

A series of 12 community events being held in Adelaide and regional areas of South Australia aims to bring members of the migrant community together to share their stories about a critical time in their lives - living and working in migrant hostels.

The Hostel Stories events, which are part of About Time: South Australia's History Festival, will be hosted throughout May by the University of Adelaide's School of History and Politics and the Migration Museum, together with a range of community partners.

Hostel Stories aims to tap into the rich histories of migrants and their lives in hostels from the 1940s up until the 1990s. It's a research project based at the University of Adelaide and will be the subject of a future exhibition at the Migration Museum.

The events - open to all members of the community - will be held at various locations:

  2 May - Semaphore Hostel Stories (Semaphore Library)

  5 May - Gepps Cross Hostel Stories (Enfield Library)

  6 May - Finsbury and Pennington Hostel Stories (Cheltenham Community Centre)

  9 May - Gawler and Mallala Hostel Stories (Gawler Public Library)

  10 May - Salisbury and Smithfield Hostel Stories (Playford Civic Centre)

  10 May - Glenelg Hostel Stories (Buffalo Restaurant - HMS Buffalo)

  13 May - Elder Park and Work Camps Hostel Stories (State Records of SA, Leigh St, Adelaide)

  14 May - Woodville Hostel Stories (Woodville Civic Centre)

  16 May - Whyalla (Milparra) Hostel Stories (Whyalla Library)

  22 May - Woodside Hostel Stories (Woodside Library)

  23 May - Hendon Hostel Stories (Seaton North Neighbourhood Centre)

  25 May - Rosewater Hostel Stories (Port Adelaide Library)

Members of the community are invited to attend and share their personal stories or stories of friends and relatives.

"For many migrants, these hostels were their first contact with Australia, helping to shape their experiences of the new country," says project leader Associate Professor Rachel Ankeny (School of History and Politics).

"When we think of migrant hostels we often think of the British 'ten pound poms', but in fact a diverse range of migrants lived and worked at these hostels, including people from Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Chile, El Salvador, Iran, and many other locales.

"We would like to hear from members of all of these communities. Their stories have much to add to the tapestry of South Australia's history," Associate Professor Ankeny says.

Some events may require bookings. Full details of each event can be found at the About Time: SA's History Festival website:


Contact Details

Professor Rachel Ankeny
Department of History
School of Humanities
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5570
Mobile: +61 (0)414 893 379

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762