Standard issue Commonwealth Hostels Ltd dinner plate. It was used at Preston Hostel by Joan Gant (then Foster) in 1955. She believes she probably took a meal on it back to her hut for her husband who was working overtime, which was strictly not allowed, and that the plate was never returned and was packed up with the family's belongings when they left the hostel in January 1956. Joan her husband George and their two children, June and Brian, immigrated from England to Australia on an assisted passage in 1955, travelling on the MV Georgic.

Physical Description

White china dinner plate with burgundy stamp 'Commonwealth hostels Ltd' with company logo on map of Australia. Reverse side makers stamp: 'John Maddock & Sons Ltd, Made in England'.


Statement of Historical Significance:
Migrant hostels and reception centres played a critical role in the administeration and temporary housing of migrants from the immediate post WWII period through to the early 1990s. Government hostels were managed by Commonwealth Hostels Limited (renamed Commonwealth Accommodation and Catering Services in 1978). They 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.

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