Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Metal tray

Object information

Physical description

A tray made of metal that is blue in colour with the letters "CHL" stamped into the bottom of the tray. Possibly anodised metal?

Statement of significance

This collection of memorabilia from the Finsbury (Pennington) Migrant Centre was obtained when the hostel closed in November 1985. The collection contains forty-one items of furniture: a kitchen chair, three tables, two divans, four chests of drawers, four single beds, two stretcher beds, one wooden cot, springboard, garden rocker, trolley, two electric radiators, three mattresses, crockery, cutlery, single and double bedspreads and sheets, mattress cover, towel, floor mat, stainless steel dessert, kindergarten table, chair and set of building blocks, white ceramic soup bowl, dinner plate and dessert bowl with the letters 'CACS' logo (for Commonwealth Accommodation and Catering Services) in the centre of each.

By late 1944, the Australian Government had begun negotiations with Britain for assisted immigration programs in response to the "Populate or Perish" policy propounded by the Curtin Government before the end of World War II. Because insufficient Britons took up the opportunity, Australia opened its doors to more migrants from war-devastated Europe. Thousands of these immigrants were housed in migrant hostels, which offered temporary accommodation in which they could stay for up to five years. Finsbury Hostel, located in the Adelaide suburb of Pennington, was originally established in 1942 as an army camp and converted to migrant accommodation in 1950. It consisted of a series of dormitories of converted Nissen huts, which were divided into apartments furnished with beds, chairs and wardrobes. Communal dining, laundry and recreational facilities were provided. Many notable Australians passed through Pennington Migrant Centre, among them, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who spent several weeks there after immigrating with her family to Australia in 1966 at the age of four.

Object information

Back to top