Account book used to record the menus for the period of October 1971 to February 1973 at Enterprise Hostel in Springvale. It includes details for four menus. One of the set menus was provided each week and after four weeks the cycle of menus was repeated.
On the first day of the menu, Commonwealth Hostels Limited served: Breakfast, poached cod; Lunch, fish cakes or beef hot pot, Dinner, fried fish or haricot ox tail. The meals offered were largely traditional British fare with some European influences, such as 'savoury spaghetti'. Cooks and chefs at the hostels were often earlier immigrants to Australia, and they played a part in altering the types of food traditionally provided at the hostels.
The back of the Account Book contains a record of the weights and prices for each food item, hostel occupancy numbers and notes about the available stores of food items and about the consumption of certain food items. One of the jobs of catering managers was to keep prices to a minimum and the notes are a record of the pressure to reduce expenditure and provide for fluctuating numbers of new arrivals.
Blue 'V.C. product' Account Book, lined pages, records handwritten in pen.
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).
Donation from Victor Sikich, July 2009
Place & Date Used
Inscription: hand written in blue pen, 'Central Kitchen Orders/ "ENTERPRISE"/ w/c 8.10.71'
Type of item
2D Dimensions - Document
200 mm (Width), 8 mm (Depth), 325 mm (Height)
This collection is also accompanied by a small archive consisting of company magazines, financial documents, and material relating to personnel and residents. 'A worthwhile Enterprise: the migrant hostel in Springvale', Exhibition Catalogue, Museum Victoria (2009); Powerhouse Museum website: [Link 1] Migration Heritage Centre website: [Link 2] ; Agency Notes for CA 1649 "Commonwealth Hostels Limited, Central Office", National Archives Australia: [Link 3]