Since the initiation of the hostel stories research project, the following articles and internship reports have appeared.

Academic publications

Agutter, K., Ankeny, R.A, & L. Lacey (2021), “Place-making and the Finsbury/Pennington Migrant Hostel: Capturing 45 Years of Refugee and Migrant Heritage,” in Alexandra Dellios and Eureka Henrich (eds.), Migrant, Multicultural and Diasporic Heritage: Beyond and Between Borders. London: Routledge, 102–18. 

Agutter, K.M., & J. Persian. (2021). European Post-war Migrants and Indigenous Australians: A History in Fragments. History Australia.

Agutter, K.M. (2020). "Exploring the Migrant Experience through an Examination of Letters to The New Australian," in Catherine Dewhirst and Richard Scully (eds.), The Transnational Voices of Australia’s Migrant and Minority Press. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 151-167.

Agutter K, & R.A. Ankeny (2020), “Food, Taste, and Memory in Australian Migrant Hostels,” in Emily Falconer (ed.), Space, Taste and Affect: Atmospheres that Shape the Way We Eat. New York: Routledge, 61–73.

Agutter, K. (2019). Her Majesty’s newest subjects: official attempts to assimilate non-English speaking migrants in post-war Australia. History Australia.

Agutter, K., & C. Kevin. (2019). "Forgotten Women: Remembering 'Unsupported' Migrant Mothers in Post-World War II Australia," in Kate Darian-Smith and Paula Hamilton (eds.), Remembering Migration: Oral Histories and Heritage in Australia. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 107-122.

Kevin, C., & K. Agutter. (2018). Failing 'Abyan', 'Golestan' and 'the Estonian Mother': Refugee women, reproductive coercion and the Australian state. Immigrants & Minorities

Agutter, K., & C. Kevin. (2018). Lost in translation: managing medicalised motherhood in post-World War Two Australian migrant accommodation centres. Women's History Review.

Kevin, C., & K. Agutter. (2017). The 'unwanteds' and 'non-compliants': 'unsupported mothers' as 'failures' and agents in Australia’s migrant Holding Centres. The History of the Family.

Agutter, K., & R.A. Ankeny. (2017). Food and the challenge to identity for post-war refugee women in Australia. History of the Family.

Agutter, K. (2017). More than Just a Roof over Their Heads Migrant Accommodation Centres and the Assimilation of “New Australians” 1947-1960 [PhD thesis, The University of Adelaide].

Agutter, K. (2016). Assimilation through play: migrant hostel play centres in post-war Australia. International Journal of Play.

Agutter, K., & R.A. Ankeny (2016). Unsettling Narratives: Overcoming Prejudices in the Hostel Stories Project. Journal of Australian Studies. 

Agutter, K. (2016). Fated to be orphans: The consequences of Australia's post-war resettlement policy on refugee children. Children Australia.

Madden, J. (2015). British migrants in post-war South Australia: expectations and lived experiences [Master’s thesis, The University of Adelaide].

Agutter, K. (2013). "Displaced Persons and the ‘Continuum of Mobility' in the South Australian Hostel System," in Margrette Kleinig and Eric Richards (eds.), On the Wing: Mobility before and after emigration to Australia. Australia: Anchor Books, 136-152.


Dr Karen Agutter, the University of Adelaide, & Catherine Manning, Migration Museum, ‘Migrant Hostels and Work Camps’, SA History Hub, History Trust of South Australia,…, accessed 19 May 2023.

Internship reports

The Arts Internship Program is a six unit course for final year students which culminates in a 7,000 word research report. A number of individuals have completed this course in partnership with organisations associated with the Hostel Stories Project.

  • Cataloguing archival material at State Records

    Cataloguing Archival Material at State Records: Hostel Stories from the 1940s to 1980s (2012) by Zephyr Hicks in partnership with the State Records of South Australia.


    This internship undertaken at State Records of South Australia is one component of a much larger project examining the experiences of migrants in South Australian migrant hostels. This project will be discussed in two parts. Firstly, a broad synopsis of the project as a whole will be given, followed by an in-depth discussion of the processes of the internship and the production of the final report.
    In 2011 the Australian Research Council granted funding for a linkage project entitled ‘Hostel Stories: Toward a Richer Narrative of the Lived Experiences of Migrants'. This is a joint-project with collaborations from The Migration Museum, State Records of South Australia, The Vietnamese Community in Australia (SA), The City of Port Adelaide Enfield, The City of Charles Sturt and The University of Adelaide with Associate Professor Rachel Ankeny overseeing the project. The outcome of this research is to ‘compare the South Australian hostel experiences among hostels, across time, and between migrants/refugees from different cultural backgrounds, and to document the history of lived experiences in this critical period of Australian contemporary history through scholarly research and publication'.

    This internship was established under the grant to take place in the first year of research with the aim of beginning the cataloguing process of relevant material within State Records. The development of the research question has guided the intern in the process of collating the information with a clear focus on producing a thematic report, which provides a narrative view of the material found. In addition to the final report a research advice sheet to be held by State Records will be created. This fact sheet will provide archivists with a reference from which to guide queries and allow patrons at State Records a basis from which to begin any personal research into migrant hostels.

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  • South Australian Maritime Museum research paper

    South Australian Maritime Museum Research Paper: What were people's experiences on Torrens Island Quarantine Station (2013) by Emma Kluge in partnership with the South Australian Maritime Museum.


    The purpose of this report is to investigate the question: what were people's experiences on Torrens Island Quarantine Station? The South Australian Maritime Museum are interested in discovering more about the quarantine station and people's experiences on it. The Maritime Museum have run tours on the island for a number of years and there are many people who are interested in the history of the quarantine station. This report aims to fill in some of the details of the history of Torrens Island Quarantine Station to enable to the Maritime Museum to invite people to explore its history with a new depth. The report is comprised of four sections: basic history and context, buildings and site layout, life on station and recommendations.
    This report aims to investigate the topic through the exploration of primary sources. This includes photos, maps, oral histories, newspapers, letters and diaries. Secondary sources on this topic are limited but some were used to provide basic information and to supplement information gained from primary source investigation.

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  • Hostel stories

    Hostel Stories (2010) by Joshua La Grutta in partnership with the Migration Museum.

    In the literature and oral history records I have reviewed, the post-World War II migration experience of South Australian hostels are both criticised and praised by both author and migrant. It is in my opinion that, for the migrant, the experience of hostel life was dependent on the expectations they brought with them and the reality of the hostel environment presented. Themes which influenced the individual hostel story to be either a positive or negative experience consisted of; the different immigration schemes presented, whether you were British or a displaced person, the accommodation presented to the migrant, food, social activities and community integration. It has also come apparent, throughout my study, that there were a lot of generalisations and stereo types made about different groups at the time, the best example of this are the whinging poms. It is not in generalisations that the true migrant story will be discovered but by using our empathetic skills to put ourselves in the shoes of the individual migrant.

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  • Organisations active in migrant hostels

    Organisations Active in Migrant Hostels, the Effect They Had and the Evidence We Have: With case studies into a selection of well documented organisations (2012) by Sam Rainbow in partnership with the Migration Museum.

    This report is a thematic guide to the organisations that were present and active in the migrant hostels of South Australia between 1948 and 1989. The prominent types of organisations at the time were ethnically based groups, female centric groups and religiously based organizations. These three thematic groups are explored in turn with case studies of the most prominent organizations that have the most available evidence within these thematic groupings. Within these case studies a basic history of the organization - where available, a summary of the types of services they offered, the people and hostels they offered them to, and lastly a discussion of their impact on the lives of migrants has been included. A discussion of the evidence available, the limitations of the evidence, and the future viability of pursuing this line of research is discussed. Appendix i is the complete list of organisations that has been generated for the Migration Museum.

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  • The life cycle of migrant hostels

    The Life Cycle of Migrant Hostels Established in South Australia Post WWII (1948-1955) (2009) by Jamie Varacalli in partnership with the National Archives of Australia (SA Branch).

    The purpose of this research is to produce a document, which can be referenced by the staff of the National Archives of Australia (SA Branch) to assist with enquiries from the public regarding Migrant Hostels/Camps established in South Australia Post WWII. The scope of the research is limited to providing information on the buildings (establishment, layout/design, decommissioning); facilities (toilets, washing, food, entertainment, sport); dates of operation; administration; targeted nationalities/migrant groups.

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