Summary

Bath Towel, used at Enterprise Migrant Hostel, circa 1970s-1980s. This towel is an example of the standard types of basic items (towels, bedding and utensils) issued to migrants upon arrival at the hostel.

The Enterprise Migrant Hostel, in Springvale, operated from December 1969 until it was closed on 22 December 1992. Enterprise was managed by Commonwealth Hostels Limited (renamed Commonwealth Accommodation and Catering Services in 1978). Enterprise and other hostels were the first home for many new assisted migrants and refugees, upon arrival in Australia. Migrants were charged for their accommodation and meals according to their income or had their tariffs deducted from their social security benefit until they were able to secure employment. The hostels were designed to assist migrants in establishing a new life in Australia by providing a period of subsidised accommodation, while they secured work and found housing.

Physical Description

Blue and white cotton towel which is woven in a striped pattern of the following colours: white, aqua and blue.

Significance

Statement of Significance/ Technical significance:
The stories of migrants and the organizations that assisted them comprise a significant part of Australian post-war history. Since World War II, thousands of government-assisted migrants and refugees have experienced arrival and accommodation at the migrant hostels. Yet migrant hostels are an under-documented area of Australia's immigration history - with the exception of Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre, which was managed by the Department of Immigration. This collection is significant as it contributes to filling the gap in knowledge about the Commonwealth migrant hostels, which were a function of the Department of Labour and National Service. This collection and the accompanying archival documents are a rare find. Items from the migrant hostels were often sold or disposed of by the government soon after they were closed-down. Many migrants have kept photos taken during their stay at the hostels but day-to-day items belonged to the Company and were returned to the hostel upon departure. This collection has the potential enhance collections in cultural institutions such the NSW Powerhouse Museum and Migration Heritage Centre (Villawood [Westbridge] and Cabramatta hostels).

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