Migrant accommodation camps

Between the 1940s and 1980s, some migrants who arrived in Australia went to migrant reception and training centres or hostels.

Migrant reception and training centres

Reception and training centres helped migrants learn English while they looked for a job.

The centres, also called migrant accommodation camps, were run by the Department of Immigration.

Where were the centres?

There were migrant accommodation camps all over Australia. Listed below are just a few of the camps in each state.

In Victoria, there were camps at:

  • Bonegilla
  • Benalla
  • Rushworth
  • Somers.

In New South Wales, there were camps at:

  • Greta
  • Kapooka.

In Queensland, there were camps at:

  • Stuart
  • Wacol.

In Western Australia, there were camps at:

  • Northam Holden
  • Graylands
  • Cunderdin.

Records about migrant centres

Not many migrant centre records have survived. But there are some that tell us about life in the camps, including records about:

  • camp administration
  • migrants who stayed at the camps.

We hold name index or registration cards for all of the migrants who stayed at the Migrant Reception and Training Centre at Bonegilla in Victoria. They include a description of the person and a photograph.

Migrant hostels

Migrant workers hostels were run by the Department of Labour and National Service and, later, Commonwealth Hostels Limited. You can search for records about these hostels on RecordSearch.