20 Replies to “Washing day at the Hostel”

  1. Re using your photo in a local history book – including Wacol
    Would you send me a version at 300 dpi?
    See my email some days ago ….
    Hope you can help
    Vicki Mynott
    Richlands Inala History Group

  2. Hi Neil,
    I’m a griffith uni student doing an photo essay on Wacol Migrant Hostel as a part of my final year of a history major and I found your blog as part of my research, I was hoping I could use some of your images from Wacol in my essay.
    If this is ok (which i truly hope it is) all i need to know is how you would like them titled, Ennis family photos? something simple and i will of course reference your blog, unless you would specifically like the individuals in each photo named in the essay, i would require nothing else but your permission. please let me know via email if this is ok.
    hope to hear from you


  3. i was at wacol 1951 when we emigrated from england we went sydney would ther be anybody around from that era if soi would like to make comtact

    1. Hi Ian. Do you have any photos of your time at Wacol? The Australian National Archives has a photo collection on Flickr. If you share your photos there, you might get in touch with former wacol migrants.

  4. I was at Wacol Hostel in 1963/64 with my parents – I was only 6 at the time and stayed in one of those awful huts as we used to call them back then. I remember having semolina for dessert, which was disgusting and I also remember there being a little church on the site. I also remember being chased by the biggest goanna I have ever seen (still till this day). We used to attend Darra Convent..as I remember we would walk or catch a bus from the hostel. We spent christmas 1963 on the camp. I remember my mother telling me about the cockroaches in the tiny little room that the 6 of us had to cram into. Not such great memories…..I do have a beautiful photo of my mother standing near the bush on the hostel..she was only 31. My family (siblings) are going to travel back to Scotland together for a 50year reunion in 2013 (next year)….

  5. My parents and I came from Agrentina 30 yrs ago today and stayed at the Wacol Migrant Hostel for a couple of months 1982. My parents say they hated their time there, cramped conditions, very primitive but despite this, helpful on first arrival to a new land. I was sent off to school/ kindy on a bus all day and my parents attended English classes. We all ate together in a hall and had to share toilets which were not kept clean at all. I believe this was very hard for a young couple coming from such a big city like Buenos Aires but they were so thankful to be looked after by the new govenrment. My parents made some good friendships there which helped them adjust into society in Brisbane once they left Wacol. All in all the memories are held close to the heart, and just glad they are now Australians!

  6. wow.
    I moved to Australia from Scotland in 1964 with my family to Wacol Hostel/moved to Inala for a few years then moved to nth of Brisbane. Wacol still holds some of the best and happy memories for our family. I travelled home to Scotland in 2008 but will always call Australia home.


  7. my family moved to wacol in 1967 i was nine years old.i also came from Scotland.
    we went back to Scotland in 1969 i think.
    sharron cocker

  8. we lived in a wooden hut 2 rooms. cockroaches and ants.
    i also recall the possums eating from my hand. the frogs.
    lizards .the hot sun.
    we had good and bad times.It was hard on all of us.
    My mum worked in goodna mental hospital
    when we lived in Wacol.And my parents drank in Mally’s bar
    the weeroona.
    After some time,My father got a car and we left and travelled
    all the way down to the North, we saw the great barrier reef.
    and stayed one night in the palms springs motel.
    Then we caught a ship and went to Tasmania.

    1. Sharon that sounds like an amazing experience for a nine year old.
      When you went back to Scotland did you stay? Did you ever return to Australia?

  9. neil;
    no i never returned to austrailia.
    i would like to one day.we left tasmania
    in 1969 and went back to scotland.
    i live in england now

  10. My family moved to Wacol in 1963 and we returned to England in 1966 as my mother was very homesick.
    We attended Darra convent and Goodna state school and enjoyed 3 very happy and carefree years at the hostel. There were great activities at the summer camps and no shortage of good friends.
    The huts got very hot and the mosquito nets over the beds made is even hotter. There were loads of little brown and white lizards running up the outside walls.
    My parents had friends call O’Brien, Sadie was the mum if I recall. We also were friends with the Smiths, their mum was called Nancy. Not sure if these are the same families mentioned above.

    It was a wonderful adventure, both the 6 weeks journey on the Fairsea to get there and the return journey on the Australasia. We all resettled happily in UK, my parents sadly are no longer with us.

  11. My daughter is travelling in Australia at the moment. It has brought back all sorts of memories to me. After trawling through the internet i noticed the name Wacol and this struck a cord with me. I also went to Darra convent(couldnt remember the name till i saw it on here) it was around 1965. My mum sadly has alzheimers and i lost my dad so i cant verify the exact dates. I seem to remember us being there for around three months before travelling south to NSW and to Melbourne to be nearer my uncle.

    I remember going through some woods to get the train to the school & being scared as the other kids would tell me of the “peck-eye birds” (magpies as i know now) would get me!! So i would run through the woods. I remember the toilets in the convent were wooden blocks with a hole in and at the bottom of the playground & i hated using them. Wow the memories have been flooding back today. 🙂

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      My dad walked through those “woods” on the way to catch the train to work in 1965. One morning he had his shirt unbuttonned and a bug flew inside it. He promptly ripped off his shirt to the amusement of other people walking nearby. I recently re-visited Wacol railway station. There’s a huge prison where the hostel used to be, and there’s a bike path which passes in front of the prison and goes near the railway station. There’s still plenty of trees there though.

      1. Only just saw your reply. I do seem to remember there being a prison nearby already and also an army camp. I returned to Australia this summer to visit my daughter. We didn’t make it to wacol but we had a week in Sydney a week on the gold coast and the down to melbourne . I visited prahran where I found our old apartment and also my old school which has niw been made into an auctioneers. …if was very emotional. Had a lovely trip. My daughter is still there she will he back for xmas she lives Australia so much.

  12. Hi Neil, I came across this section by accident when looking at your mountain biking blog. My family arrived in Australia in 1972 on the Britanis. We stayed at Wacol Hostel in timber hut C-27 for a whole 6 weeks. (I have a photo but don’t know how to attach) We attended Goodna State School where I learnt 1 english word in 6 weeks – Frog. My parents then moved us to a rented house in Ashgrove and we went to Ashgrove state School.
    Great blog.

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