A Place to Call Home? Migrant hostel memories

25 September 2015

Snakes in the laundry and dreary meals of mutton are just some of the memories post-war immigrants have shared in A Place to Call Home? Migrant hostel memories, now on show at Lavington Library.

The exhibition showcases images from the National Archives Immigration Photographic Archive, and includes some taken at the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Lavington Library will host a Destination: Australia workshop on Thursday 15 October at 1pm. Participants will learn about the Destination: Australia website, and how they can add their own photographs and stories. Bookings are essential on (02) 6043 5645.

'While this latest exhibition is based around photographs held in our collection, it is these human recollections, both good and bad, that bring it to life,' said National Archives Curator Amy Lay. 'People recalled the tastes, the sights and smells (including the 'rotten' scent of mangoes) which, on our companion website Destination: Australia, evoked memories and strong responses from other immigrants,' she said.

'Such memories, with their depth of personal emotion and culture shock, give us an insight into what it meant to cross the world in hope of a new life.'

'With hundreds of thousands of new arrivals, housing was at a premium,' said Lay. 'Former army and air force camps were converted into hostels to provide temporary accommodation while immigrants found homes and jobs. The images were taken by government photographers and used to promote Australia overseas as an ideal destination.'

A Place to Call Home? is a touring exhibition developed by the National Archives of Australia. It continues at Lavington Library until Thursday 19 November.

More information here.