Migrant hostel in Fishermans Bend

Mike Brady’s huge contribution to Australian life has been recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours with an AM.
A less well know part of his story is the time his family spent in the migrant hostel in Fishermans Bend after their arrival in Melbourne in the ’50s.  The experience of life in the hostel is described in a colourful way by Noel Delbridge in his book ‘Up There Mike Brady’:

“A blind man could describe the scene, because the inescapable odours of Port Melbourne are penetrating the tiniest chinks in the bus doors and windows. It’s an obnoxious smelling cocktail of animal, vegetable and chemical waste.

To the south of the hostel is the Port Melbourne tip, permanently burning the rotting garbage deposited from homes and nearby vegetable and fish markets. The prevailing wind drives the sour smoke over the hostel.

To the east, stretching almost to the city, is a chain of animal-holding yards and abattoirs. Here, pigs are slaughtered and put through a furnace to burn off their bristles. The stench of burning hair and flesh is compounded as it joins the stink of boiling fat from the Unilever and Cedel soap factories.

 Adjacent to the hostel is the Kraft Vegemite factory. The pungent, yeasty smell drifts over constantly. Vegemite is not the spread of choice at breakfast in the hostel canteen.

The Brady’s accommodation was in a large corrugated-iron hut divided into four flats. Each flat had three rooms – a living room in the middle and a bedroom at each end. Bathroom and toilet blocks, concrete and wet, were outside.

An easement on the southern perimeter of the hostel became the boys’ secret adventure park. It was a dumping ground for hard rubbish. … Near Cook Street, adjacent to the hostel, was a brackish swamp of uncertain depth containing unknown liquids … Old car bodies provided islands. This was a scary place, and they banned horseplay among themselves for fear of falling into the ooze and dissolving.”

It is poignant to recall those times when there was work for everybody, the car industry was in a growth  phase and new migrants were welcomed to the country. As another resident of the hostel recalled, her mother got a job at GMH ‘just a walk over the sand dunes’. She attended Graham St School and her brother went to South Melbourne Tech.
PMHPS member Don delivered telegrams to the hostel.

The hostel was located between Hall and Salmon St, off Lorimer St, as this Melways map shows.

Sources and further information
Noel Delbridge Up There Mike Brady (Coulomb Communications Port Melbourne)
Vivienne Gunn, recording of talk to the PMH&PS 23 September 2003

 

Comments

  1. nicky barden says

    I used to live at fishermans bend hostel
    my dad used to cook all those meals during the 1950, s
    i have photos of me at various hostels don, t ask which ones they are i don, t remember.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Hi Nicky
      People who were at the Hostel might be able to recognise which of your photos are of the Fishermans Bend Hostel.
      Photos that show the background are most helpful.
      Are you in a position to show us your photos?

  2. Alison Vaughan says

    My family and I were there in the 50’s. I always remember the ice-man coming round with his horse and cart. I would run to the entrance, clamber up to the driving seat and then “drive” the horse all the way around to the back entrance by the smelly quarry. Our hut was at the top end near the trees and the little shop and I used to play all day there.. I went to Graham St.School and Midde Park High school..then we moved to Braybrook and I went to Sunshine High school on Ballarat Road.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Hello Alison
      So great to hear your memories of the Hostel. Sounds like the children had a lot of fun within the Hostel boundaries. Not sure if you are on facebook? There is an excellent site on the Hostel where people post photos and memories of those times. You may well see people you remember. People who lived at the Hostel can join the group. If you’re looking it is spelled Fishermanns Bend Migrant Hostel.

  3. Lisa McKreel says

    Hi everyone. My finished history assignment is up on Vimeo now. I’m please to say that I was marked very favourably and even won an award! I was glad to have done it for my family. Also, I couldn’t resist building a project around that photo of the Burns family before they left:
    https://vimeo.com/110732627

    • David Thompson says

      Well done Lisa. It’s great that we are hearing more stories from the Fishermens Bend Hostel and great to see the Burns Family obviously made a great life for themselves in Australia.

      • Carroll Fuster says

        I also lived on the Fisherman’s Bend Hostel from June 1957 until sometime in 1958. My family knew the Burn’s family not sure if it is the same. Mr. Mrs Burns, John, Jimmy Paul and Mary. If it is the same family do you know if any are still alive and where they might live. I am planning a trip down memory lan there early next year.
        Appreciate any help you might be able to give.
        Carroll Fuster (Nee Young)

        • Janet Bolitho says

          Carroll, not sure if you’ve tried the Fishermans Bend Migrant Hostel facebook page. It seems to be a place where many people re-connect

        • John W Youings says

          Hi Caroll, my name is John W Youings.
          You and your brother lived with us, Geelong Rd Foostcray. Love to make contact with you after all those years.

        • John W Youings says

          Google. John W Youings Jetski. You will find more details about me. I remember you and your brother Keith.

    • Hi Lisa I just watched your short film amazing. We lived at fishermens bend from 66-68 and I’ve got a video of fishermens bend, my dad worked at the aircraft factory and my mum at tom piper, we came from Lancashire meeting up with the Wilsons and mayers families

      • hi I am Stephen tolley we were on the hostel same time as you my mum worked in the canteen and I also went to graham st stst good old days

  4. Sean Wright says

    The 1966 1st edition of Melways shows the Fishermens Bend Migrant Hostel on Map 56, at the Crn of Hall & Turner St’s. There is a Complex of Factoriettes there now, diagonally opposite from the Kraft Vegemite factory. Hope this helps clarify its location.

    • David Thompson says

      Thanks Sean. You have pinpointed the location perfectly for us. Did you or your family spend time at the hostel?

      • Sean Wright says

        No David, the Hostel was way before my time in Port 🙂 I was poking around some old editions of the Melways online when I stumbled across the Migrant Hostel location.

        I immediately remembered the article about Mike Brady, and that there was some confusion regarding the exact location. Up until earlier this year I leased one of the new factories that is now on the site, and the smells of Vegemite wafting through the complex reminded me immediately of the Hostel storey.

  5. stephen tolley says

    well where to start .after reading a few comments the memories come back .I came with mum and dad from England in 1964 .and called fishermans bend home for 2 years .mum worked in the camp canteen and even when we moved she remaind working in the canteen as supervisor .I attended graham st state school and found it to be a place of put down . just a place for migrant kids to be put down .well you got me thinking back now and I am gunna have to stop .maybe yo might hear from me again
    Stephen

    • David Thompson says

      Look forward very mush to hearing from you again Stephen.

    • PHILIP BEARD says

      Stephen Tolley – I remember your name I came out on the Aurelia in January 1964 and went to Graham Street – my mum worked in the canteen . My dad worked at the aircraft factory. I remember the vegemite smell and nicking oranges from the Tom Piper factory. Would love to chat further

  6. Denise Cummins says

    My family lived at Fisherman’s Bend from late 1963 to early 1967. I think it was unusual for a family to live there that long. My mum and dad both worked in the aircraft factory. I went to Graham Street State School and my older sister went to J.H. Boyd. I was very young when we lived there but have lots of memories of it.

    I’m pretty sure the location was along Lorimer Street somewhere between Hall Street and Salmon Street. I remember walking home from Graham Street School. I turned left onto Williamstown Street, right on Salmon Street and, before reaching Lorimer Street, turned right and walked through an industrial, swampy area to get to the back side of the camp. The front entrance to the camp was from Lorimer Street next to the aircraft factory.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Hi Denise
      Thanks for your most interesting memories about living in the Fishermans Bend migrant hostel. Didn’t realise that you walked home from Graham St school – that’s quite a hike. It would be great to hear more about you walk ‘through an industrial swampy area’. Could you describe that in a bit more detail? That would be present day Turner St, I would say.

    • Denise i thought you had to be off the hostel after two years that’s why we left for Springvale even thought my Dad continued to work at the Commonwealth aircraft factory

      In my second year at Graham St I used to walk home from school as we used to kick a footy around at Murphy Reserve. I had forgotten about the tip but the smell of Vegemite wafting across the hostel from The Kraft Factory never leaves you. – I hate the stuff to this day

  7. Val Montoneri (Bolton) says

    My family (Bolton) sailed on the Fair Sea and arrived from Scotland in July 1959. We were on the hostel for 4 years before moving to Esplanade West, Port Melbourne before settling in Werribee. My mother was a supervisor in the canteen and we were there at the same time as Mike Brady’s family. Our parents were very good friends and stayed in touch for many years, along with several other families. My father worked at Commonweath Aircraft Factory and my mother later worked at Government Aircraft Factories, as I did when I was older. I started school at Graham Street then went to Nott Street when we moved to Port Melbourne. I can still remember the smells from the tip and surrounding factories but only have wonderful memories of my time spent on the hostel.

    • David Thompson says

      Thanks for adding your family story Val.

    • Bill Jamieson says

      VAL I can’t put a face to your name, but We arrived on the Strathaird in November 1958, Dad worked at Stewarts & Lloyds (through the fence) of the Hostel, I went to South Melbourne College for 1959, then on an apprenticeship. Mike Brady and I started a Group, on the Hostel and we played at a dance in the canteen one year also a couple of the other Hostels in Melbourne. Would love to hear from any other people who were there at that time.
      Bill.

      • Janet Bolitho says

        Building up such an interesting picture of life at the Fishermans Bend Migrant Hostel. What did Stewarts & Lloyds do/make?

        • Bill Jamieson says

          Janet, They manufactured steel & steel products, sheet steel, pipe and so on. Dad was a foreman there and went to work every day through a space in the fence. he continued working there for quite a few years after we left the hostel and moved to Gardenvale. Mum worked in Myers store in town.

      • Arnold Patch says

        Just came across this site. We were at Fisherman’s Bend Hostel from 1958 – 1960.
        Mum, dad, brother and me came out on the Strathaird in May of 58. Went to Graham St school and then on to Middle Park Central till we moved out to Croydon. After all these years the only people I have ever come across since were Mike Brady and Pat Formiston. And Mike told me a few years ago that he never saw any of the group we knocked around with. I remember Billie Jamieson and his brother, Pete Flatt, Lenny Palmer, Pat Stone and Ann Gough.
        Mum worked as a cook on the hostel and dad worked at KL Ballantyne in City rd. Sth. Melb.

  8. Brenda Burns née Hill says

    Hello got a message on the weekend but sadly delete it before I could answer it it was from a family member of the Bolton family that also new Mike Brady I was a bit older; and was friends with Bill Jamieson Len Palmer Peter Flatt Pat Stone my sister was Suzanne Hill hope to hear from someone cheers Brenda

  9. Peter Roberts says

    My family lived at the hostel 1969-1970 when I was 9 years old. Can still remember the day we arrived a taxi delivered us to the hostel. My father clutching a brochure about the idyllic fishermen s bend and was convinced that the taxi driver was in the wrong place. He made the taxi driver go around the block looking for something better. We were in the right place. Mum spent the day sitting in our 2 room hut inconsolably crying. The food was terrible.
    They soon got over it found jobs at GMH and The Age news paper and sent me off to Graham St state school. Which was a traumatic experience at the time having a broad Manchester accent. Not politically correct times.
    During the 12 months on the hostel was hit by a car and spent 3 weeks in Fairfield hospital with hepatitis, there was a real epidemic at the time. Having said that the friends my parents made on the hostel became family. It basically set my parents up and lead us to a relatively prosperous life with no regrets.
    I still have fond memories of those days playing on the Westgate freeway while it was being built and exploring the surrounding factories.
    To this day I try to visit the site about every 5 years. Even though it is no longer there. The smells and the sounds are still there. There is still a constant hum of the surrounding factories that was background noise 24 hours a day. It really brings back memories just standing there.

  10. patricia wright says

    Hello I was on Fishermans Bend hostel from 1967 to 1969 approx. I remember it very well, my dad worked at General Motors Holden and cut through via the playing field to get to work. I remember the Kraft factory and how we used to play in the grounds. if anyone remembers me I would love to hear from you my sister’s name was Mary Wright my parents were John and Betsy Wright. we were from England.

    • David Thompson says

      Thanks Patricia!
      Anyone who remembers Patricia or her sister Mary, or parents John and Betsy and would like to contact her, please send your email to the Society at pmhps@pmhps.org.au and we’ll pass it on.

  11. David Thompson says

    We’ve really enjoyed these stories about the Fishermens Bend Hostel and would love to hear more and add them to our collection and maybe even publish them on our website or Facebook page.

    Fishermen Bend will undergo significant change in the next few decades as it is converted from an mostly industrial area into a residential area. It would be great to record the memories of people who lived and worked on the bend during that time in the 60s & 70s.

    Just a paragraph or two and any photos would be brilliant. And if you want to tell us about your life in the wider Port Melbourne area as well then so much the better.

    Email us at pmhps@pmhps.org.au.

    Thanks,
    David Thompson
    Volunteer, PMHPS

  12. Ronald Wilson says

    I lived at fisherman’s bend migrant hostel from the 7th September 1958 to 1959.
    I emigrated from Coleraine, Northern Ireland in August 1958 aboard the passenger liner the fair sea with my parents and two brothers.
    Yours Sincerely Ronald Wilson
    Ps: We lived at the hostel for a year

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Great to gather further information about the Fishermans Bend migrant hostel. Interesting that you come from Coleraine in Northern Ireland when in this week Coleraine in Victoria has experienced severe flooding.

  13. Carole Wilson (nee Hey) says

    Gosh – all those memories of Fishermans Bend! My parents & 9month old brother arrived in Oz from the Isle of Wight on board the ‘Strathnaver’ on 5th August 1957. I was 11yo. Dad chose FB because he thought it sounded idyllic! He’d obtained work at the C’wealth Aircraft factory. I went to JH Boyd because Graham St wouldn’t take me – I was too educated!
    We lived in one of the huts up at the back of the site, mud & all, with the loo directly outside the front door. Smells were very mixed what with that & the Kraft factory.
    Cooking in the hut was not allowed, but dad bought a small stove so that mum could secretly cook/heat up milk & tinned food for Martyn.
    I remember our Sunday walk was always back to Station Pier where we would meet other families doing the same.
    I joined in the tap dancing lessons to the sound of ‘Green Door’.
    We were especially friends with Bob & Doris Bowman & their sons Bobby, Lee & Ian (10, 9 & 8 respectively) whom we knew from the ship. We were only at the hostel for about 8 weeks, mum was not enamoured with life, so we moved on to share a house with another ship family in Alphington & I went to Heidelberg Girls High. That only lasted 4 weeks & we moved to rented accommodation in Sandringham & I went to Highett High. Three schools in the space of about 2months! Sandringham lasted a year we had to move again, so shared a house in East Bentleigh with the Bowmans where I finished school at McKinnon High. Eventually we moved to Murrumbeena & at just turned 15 I started work at the State Savings Bank of Victoria in the brand new Chadstone Centre branch, where the teller was Richmond legend Neville Crowe. But I digress, my apologies.
    Another memory is walking along the river by myself, fascinated by the ships, even the colliers.
    Ahh – such days.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Great to have your memories Carole which add to the very interesting story of Fishermans Bend Migrant Hostel. If you had any photos to share, it would be wonderful to see them.

  14. Trisha Wright says

    Hello we emigrated in March 1967 and sailed on the Fairstar. At first we lived on Brooklyn Hostel Millers Road Altona and then we moved onto Fishermans Bend I think in 1968. My mum worked in the canteen and my sister and I attended JH Boyd, my dad worked at GMH. Can anyone remember a Linda Axford or the Rhind Family I know Mr Rhind was the manager of the Hostel I would love to hear from them.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Hi Trisha
      Let’s hope someone can put you in touch. It is wonderful that people are making connections with their shared past through this website.

  15. Penny Bryan-Marshall says

    I was 6 in 1958 and had the most wonderful adventure while at Fishermans Bend – I don’t remember any stinky smells – we had Cocoa after school – the food was great – everyone said our Hostel the best – plenty of club activities – Rovers – Koala Club – everyone cheering when someone dropped a plate in the dining room – movies in the hall – Singing on the bus all the way to Graham Street School and singing all the same songs back home – we migrated from UK and sadly left Australia for NZ – I lovedette growing up in that environment!

    • Janet Bolitho says

      How wonderful that you have such happy memories of your time at the Hostel.

    • Ann Andrews (Gough) says

      I was 11 in 1958 when living in the hostel. I loved the singing on the school bus. Fondly remember bye bye love and purple people eater. Still have memories of Mike Brady singing be bopa lula with his white guitar up in the playground. I still sing in a choir.

  16. Bill Hankin says

    I am Bill Hankin. I arrived at Fisherman’s bend hostel in November 195 aged 5 with my parents Cliff & Josy Hankin and my younger brother, John. We came to Australia on the New Australia from Southampton with stops at Suez, Aden and Fremantle I think.

    At first we were sent to Bonegilla near AlburyBut it was too hot and also primitive: dust and drop toilets. And no jobs. So we moved to Fisherman’s Bend after 4 weeks.

    Once there my dad worked as a sheet metal worker at the CAC building the sabre jets and the Jindavick pilotless aircraft. Mum worked at General Motors in the offices. We went to school at St Joseph’s catholic primary in bay st Port Melbourne. We went there each day on the bus provided by the city bus service.

    I remember playing in the swamps and lighting camp fires when playing cowboys and indians. The fire brigade had to come twice to put out grass fires in the dried out long grass swamp. And I had to get a fire extinguisher once to put out a fire that someone else had left. That got me a hiding from my mum. playing Cowboys and Indians.

    Sometimes we walked over the Garden city beach to swim. On Friday nights there were movie nights and we saw a lot of films every week. And at the end we kids collected all the drink bottles to collect the deposit refund on them. I also remember the kid gang fights. There were kids from the UK, the Netherlands Germany, the Baltic countries Spain and Poland and later Hungary. And at St Joseph’s Primary School school there were lots of other kids from Italy & Malta.
    During the holidays I remember waling along the wharves looking at the ships. And walking through the abattoir where sheep & cattle were being killed. Nobody shoo’d us away. The stench was terrible though.

    Also there concert nights – usually on a Saturday nights or special occasions like Xmas. Groups from other migrant hostels would sometimes come to perform and songs and we would go to their’s as well.

    It was a socially rich life.

    My family were at Fisherman’s Bend till October 1956 almost 4 years. Then we moved to our own home at Research where a number of other English families had bought 1 and 1/4 acres blocks to build houses.

    Al of this has been stirred up by reading John Braniff’s Book “Close to the Wind” ( 2000 ) . The first chapter is all about his time there at Fisherman;s Bend. Pages 1-17

  17. Carroll Fuster says

    My Dad was a plummer and was promised a job through the UK/Australian Governments so we sold up in the UK and arrived in Australia around June 1957, after being processed at the Exhibition Building we finally ended up at the Fishermans bend hostel. Dad did not get his plummer’s licence because in the UK he was a plummer/pipe fitter which are separate trades in Australia. He worked for 10 months at Stewart and Lloyds but eventually was laid off there and as there was a recession there at this time found it difficult to get work. My Mum also worked in the canteen and eventually at the Rothman’s cigarette factory. Unfortunately they returned home after 14 months and 2 weeks after they had returned to the UK Dad’s plumbing licence finally turned up, alas too late.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Thanks Carroll
      I’d not heard of Stewart and Lloyds before. It sounds as though things were pretty difficult for your parents at that time

  18. my family was a tenant on the hostel in 1963 -1965 name tolley mum worked in canteen during and after we moved out

  19. Karen Lovatt says

    My parents and I were in Fishermen’s Bend hostel from November 1968 to February 1969. We sailed from England on the Ellinis, a Greek ship. I did not find the experience there very good and was so glad when my parents found a flat in Cheltenham in February 1969 and we could move out. We had a two room part of a corrugated hut, divided into 3 parts for 3 families. My father was promised that he would have a job at Johnson’s Tile company, but when he arrived in Australia he was told they were no where near up to what he was producing in England. He did eventually get a good job so settled for some time.

  20. Our family (Dad, Mum, and four boys) arrived on the Fairsky in Dec.1961. After a time at the Brooklyn Migrant Hostel, we transferred to Fisherman’s Bend for some months. I was 13. I remember Linda Bolton, and playing “spin the bottle” with a group of kids. One day, walking back to the hostel from the school bus stop in Salmon Avenue, I took a short cut across the “sand dunes,” only to find myself ankle deep in hot ashes that had been dumped there from the Kraft factory. Was off school for weeks recovering from quite serious burns to both legs. I also remember meeting Mike Brady in a laundry building where he plugged in his electric guitar.

  21. Susan Parker says

    Hi to all who have told their stories about living at Fisherman’s Bend Hostel.
    I travelled from England along with my younger sister and parents we were given 3 weeks notice to sell up and go down to Tilbury Docks to set sail on the Strathaird. We arrived in Australia via the Suez Canal on either 2nd or 3rd August 1958. We travelled to school on the green and yellow bus each morning. I went to Nott Street primary school and my sister to Graham Street Primary school, we couldn’t understand why we had to go to different schools. It was one of the hottest summers, reaching 108 degrees. We used to play in the long grass behind the hostel near the Kraft factory, I only realised a few years ago that was one of the worst places to play as we didn’t realise they had snakes in Australia, luckily we didn’t come across any. My father worked for GMH until his retirement. We also used to waked down to Station Street Pier most weeks to watch the many migrant ships sailing into Melbourne from mainly Italy, Greece and Britain
    I have a great love of sailing so we now cruise to either Tasmania or New Zealand but on the Princess cruise ships, I also have a great grandson, so all I can say is that Australia has been very good to my family. It was one of the best decisions that my parents ever made. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country with many diverse nationalities and talents.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Lovely recollections Susan to add to the record of the many who spent time at the Fishermans Bend Migrant Hostel

  22. we lived on the hostel for 2 years back in 1964 our name is the tolley family and my mum worked in the hostel canteen for many years her name was winni
    it was a hard start but as we did so did many others if any one remembers or surname please make contact I would love too hear from you my name is Stephen .

  23. Beryl Keuken says

    My family and I came out to Australia in 1962. We lived at Fisherman’s Bend Hostel next door to Michael Brady from the band the MPD. My Dad was Bill, mother Mabel and my 2 brothers were David and Ron Brown. My sister was named Evelyn and I am Beryl. I went to Graham Street Primary School for a while and then went on to J H Boyd Domestic College for Girls. I used to walk to school with Gwyneth and some twin girls which I can’t remember their names.
    My mother used to work at South Dock Service Station & Snack Bar, cnr Lorimer and Ingles Streets, Port Melbourne as a Sandwich hand. My brother David worked at the timber yard close by called Alstegrens I think.
    My dad died in 1982 of lung cancer aged 62 and my mother May lived until 2017 to the age of 93.
    We came to Australia when the Beatles were on the scene and Elvis, the Rolling Stones to name a few. I just loved the Beatles and I think at the time we were on the hostel there were many Beatles’ fans and there was a Beatles Fan Group operating.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Such interesting recollections Beryl. I was only on that corner of Ingles and Lorimer St yesterday – so much changed now. Although I have seen many advertisements for Alstergrens, I have never heard of anyone working there. I suppose the Beatles really gave young people at the hostel something to gather around and to connect with the life they had left behind?

  24. Simonetta Cunningham (nee Caruso) says

    hi Lisa,
    Am at university about to write an essay and a personal account of our short stay at Fisherman’s Bend Hostel upon our arrival from Italy in March 1969. I wonder if you have any further information on the hostel, or photos. Am searching the archives in Canberra to see if there is a record of our ship and passenger lists as well.

  25. Alan Battson says

    I was taken to Australia by my mom and dad as a one year old and arrived at fisherman’s bend hostel in 1952 and left in 1957.I recognised so many of the stories that have been told, does anybody remember Charlie and rose my dad and mom, plus myself Alan Battson

  26. Sandra Walker says

    I was there in 58-59. Dad worked at GMH, mum at CAC and I think my 14 year old sister worked at GAC – or maybe the other way around.
    We’d go to the sand dunes and build huts between them to play in with any old rubbish we could find around. I was 7 when we landed but don’t remember my school at all.
    18 months there with mum and dad saving every penny they could so they could buy a house – with two mortgages – unheard of at that time for blue collar workers to own a house in England.

  27. patricia wright says

    hello I lived on the hostel 68/69 my name is Patricia Wright my sister was Mary my parents John and Betsy my mum worked in the canteen.
    My dad worked at GMH.
    I went to JH Boyd with my sister Mary. would love to hear from anyone who remembers us.

  28. David Graham says

    Hi, my name is David Graham and I arrived in December 1961 on the Fairsky with my Mum And Dad and two older sisters, Ina and Jean and my older brother Jim. We were in one of the square tin buildings near the little shop run by a man named George. We stayed on the hostel for about 18 Months before my did got a house built in the Northern suburbs. But my association did not end there I visited nearly every weekend for a long time after we left and attended many shows Mike put on. In fact I first met my wife there in 1964. She was one of the Daglish family. Eddie, Cathy, Grace, my wife, Margaret, Bill and Liz. I have many fond memories of the Hostel.

  29. stephen tolley says

    family name is tolley my name is Stephen mum was winnie dad was alf.we spent 2 years on the hostle after commeing from England in 1965 .mum worked in the hostel canteen I was 8 when we arrived and went to graham st stat school .we went to braybrook in 1968 but mam still worked in the canteen on the hostel she became a superviser and enjoyed her tim please lets know if anyone remembers or on at the same time .cheers stephen

  30. Lynn Birnie says

    Just reading all these stories brings back so many memories! We arrived at Station Pier on the P&O liner Strathnaver on the 1st of October, 1961. It was 80 degrees and it felt so hot. After a couple of days at a reception centre (no longer there) in the Exhibition Gardens, were taken to Fishermans Bend. We came from Belfast, Northern Ireland. My Dad worked as a fitter at Dunlop’s on Montagu St. and my Mum worked at Claude Neon. My older brother, David and I went to Graham Street Primary School until later when he went to South Melbourne Tech. Talk about rough. And those smells. Who could forget? The abbatoirs on one side, the Kraft factory on the other and the sickly cocoa dished up after school? We had a ball, as kids though, running around wild compared to life “back home”. Who could forget the Swamp? It was fascinating and terrifying all at the same time. We’d sometimes walk home from school through it – instead of catching one of those old green and cream coloured buses – and sometimes stumble on homeless people. We lived next to the kindergarten. We would just jump the fence and muck around in the sand pit. I played with an English girl who was called Elaine, I think – or that might have been her Mum’s name. She lived on the other side of our hut – divided into four dwellings – and she had a younger brother and an older teenage one. He had a blond rocker style hair do and sat on the steps of their hut playing his guitar. His name was Michael Brady. There you go. One year, the playing field down from the playground, flooded. It was brilliant, We all sloshed around with water up to our ankles and to our amazement, there were frogs jumping around in the water. I remember the old guy who ran the shop – Joe. He had a red and white holden with fins – very flash. An FB maybe. We saw the Queen when she visited in the early 60’s. Her yacht the Brittania was docked at the end of Ingles Street and she came out on deck and gave all we plebs a little wave. I remember going onto a Russian whaling ship with my brother. The crew gave us whale’s teeth with gore still attached, as well as wine and cigarettes. I was 7 and he was 11 when we arrived. I think I remember the Daglish family – Billy maybe? My best friend was Marlene Sherrit – we’ve lost touch. I also remember the Donelley’s Mrs. Donnelley – Pearl, was lovely. I live in Sydney now but when I visit Melbourne, my brother and I sometimes drive around the area and remember our time there. Thanks to all for sharing your stories. Lynn Birnie

  31. Hi Everyone, just stumbled across your stories and it certainly brings back memories. I came to Australia on the Oriana In September 1962, and I was 10. I was one of six children plus my parents. I saw Mike Brady a few years back at a club in NSW and got the guts to go up and talk to him, and I mentioned the Hostel and he was breathless, I was friends with his sister Elaine. I spoke about my older sister Pat and he remembered her, it was lovely to relate to someone back in time. We moved to Preston in 1963 and didn’t keep in touch with anyone. My mum worked at the Kraft factory, and I can still remember the smell of Vegemite. I still don’t eat the stuff. It’s wonderful reading all the stories.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Thanks for adding your memories of the Hostel to this site Kathy.

    • David Thompson says

      Thank you Kathy.
      It’s wonderful to read people’s memories and the hostel and working at Kraft. It’s a familiar story but not doubt different for every family.

  32. Nigel Maloney says

    Wow what memories! My name is Nigel Maloney I arrived at Fishermans Bend Hostel April 1967 (aged 8) with Mum Annie, Dad Kevin and brother Philip. I think we stayed there until 1969. It was such an adventure for a young fella from Bradford UK. I remenber going to Graham Street primary at the time and we would catch the bus in the morning but mostly walked home in the afternoon.

    We lived in one of the long huts near Joe’s shop, wasn’t he a character… Dad worked at GMH and Mum worked at the aircraft factory.

    I do remember a lot of mucking around at the wharfs and the surrounding factories (I was always in trouble). Met lots of great kids along the journey but as with all hotels most moved on and lost touch. I remember being good friends with Tommy Coope but lost touch for awhile until he and his wife bought a house next door to Mum and Dad in Wheelers Hill Vic. Unfortunately Tommy died in a car accident a year or so later. My Mum still has many photos for those days. Will have to see if I can get them out of her some day. Many, many wonderful memories of the area and I often drive past on my way to the city.

    • Janet Bolitho says

      Great to hear your stories of life at the hostel Nigel. Do pursue asking your mother for scans of her photos – they are a record of very particular time.

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