Sign used in the Enterprise Hostel dining room, it was printed by Commonwealth Hostels Limited, circa 1970. This sign is an example of the often strict and regimented nature of migrant hostel life, for example meals were only served at specific times and food and beverages could only be consumed in the dining room area.

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

White rectangular cardboard sign with bold, black text.


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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