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Article from the Sydney Morning Herald 11th Dec 1954

 
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richardhallford richardhallford has been starred
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:55 am    Post subject: Article from the Sydney Morning Herald 11th Dec 1954 Reply with quote

FYI
Manager Of Migrants'

Hostel Denies

Malnutrition Charges

Any responsible person was welcome to have, without notice, a meal at any migrant hostel conducted by Common- wealth Hostels Ltd., the general manager, Mr. R. Bruce Brown, said last night.

Allegations were made by British migrants on Wednes- day of deplorable conditions

at the Heathcote Road hostel, near East Hills. They said that 100 children were suffering from malnutrition, many had developed sores, and that migrants had been served with food "crawling w.ith maggots."

Mr. Brown said that in- quiries made yesterday showed that one charge was distorted

and that the rest were un- founded. The results of the investigation he said, were:

MALNUTRITION: A doe

tor.in the area and the com- pany's dietitian had said that no case of malnutrition was detected. Any which might exist could not be due to con- ditions at the hostel as the time migrants had been there -under seven weeks-was in- sufficient for malnutrition to become established.

There was no vi:.-.min de- ficiency in food.

SORES: The headmaster of the school attended by the children had said that 15 to 20 migrant children had sores which could.have been tropi- cal sores. The school staff had noticed the sores when

the' children first reported at the schooí, which was two

days after their arrival at (the

hostel.

MAGGOTS: There had been one case of instant in- fection. This was believed to have happened after the meal was taken from the szrv ing point to the table.

INEDIBLE FOOD: Investi- gators, including the com- pany's dietitian, had estab- lished that since the hostel was opened the daily food wastage averaged two ounces a person-a normal wastage. The dietitian had reported that menus were typical of the sample menu quoted in literature given to prospective migrants in Britain and, in most instances, were better.

[Mr. Harold Bates, chair- man of the Camp Welfare Committee, said on Wednes- day that 400 migrants returned their plates to the kitchen each night with most of their meal untouched.]

CUT LUNCHES: There had never been fewer than ten varieties of sandwich fill-

ings available-a wider range]

than a housewife could hope to provide-and all of good quality.

OVERCHARGING: The average weekly amount a per- son paid by the Bates family for full board and lodging1 was £'2/8/, and by. the Reeves family £2/17/. The average cost of providing hostel service was about £4 a week a pesson.

[Mr. Bates said.he had to pay £11/19/6 board for him- self and family. Mr. William Reeves said he paid £17/1/ for himself, wife and four children.]_
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East Hills Hostel Aug 1966 to 1968. Nissen Huts 81 and 83d
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Robert (Bob) Taylor
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Richard interesting article! As an eleven to thirteen year old at Bunnerong Hostel in 60/61. I can recall reasonably vividly the food. My father often exclaimed they got better prepared food in the British army during the war.
There wasn't any issue with quantity or variety it was just overcooked or not given due care in preparation....and consequently hard to get used to.
As mentioned in my earlier posts we like a lot of residents took to recooking it in our rooms adding bought components. Or some days in the interest of sanity or nutritional balance we would ignore the offerings and completely supply and cook a meal in crude camping like conditions.
Without dumping on some of the Migrants they were more than chuffed with the tucker as they had sad backgrounds of hardship and need. They didn't exactly thrive on it but couldnt see any reason for complaint. In fact they stayed for many years as it was all too convenient no cooking and little cleaning, home maintenance ....a virtual "holiday camp"!
Cheers Bob.
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richardhallford richardhallford has been starred
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As discussed elsewhere Rob, good or not, many of the migrants, including my parents, bought a Sunbeam Frypan and cooked most of the meals in the Nissens. All illegal of course. Pureley from my own families perspective, they were used to a very, VERY greasy diet from Scotland and I dont think they adapted to a different type of food.
So of course, we mostly ate fried food during our stay on the Hostel, which was for FAR too long. We never really knew what it was like to live the the burbs in mid 1960, we just lived in the Nissens, getting a really wrong idea of what life was like for the locals.
When we went back to Scotland, of course there was all sorts of stories told of bad accommodation, food etc, justified or not. However, the choice to change that was always in his hands. He just never did.
If my memory serves me correct, the tarrif charged included meals and you had to pay it, if you used it or not. Someone will help me with the correct situation on this Im sure. But I remember my Dad moaning about having to pay for it, when he wouldnt eat it.
(he had his first heart attack at 48 and died at 61 due to blocked arteries)
So I always found it quite funny when I heard the cry of "this isnt so good" and yet many migrants stayed there for YEARS.
There are several newspaper accounts of the illness, I just chose this one. In one of the reports, the doctor who inspected the kids said that they had sores when they came off the boat after the voyage. Easier to blame the"govt" body I suppose, but it looked like some of those illnesses were from the voyage out and just carried on.
At least this article might generate some discussion. Time for a peanut butter sandwich. LMAO. :)
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Robert (Bob) Taylor
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sunbeam frypan brought back forgotten memories, they were an almost compulsory acquisition on arrival. We also used an old electric heater turned on to it's back to cook spuds and veg in a saucepan. the sunbeam also was used to bake cakes. Placing several pennies flat on the cooking face stopped burning in the cake tin.
Your comments re the children getting in to poor health in transit on the ships has me wondering?
The food and and cleanliness on the crossing would, I think have been superior to what they were to encounter at the Hostels. So can't quite draw the same conclusion?Maybe an attempt to cop-out from the authorities of the day!
Sorry to hear of your Dads somewhat early demise...we have learnt a lot about diet since then and with health checks being more prevalent now the problem is somewhat reduced.
Yes you are right about the tariff, no refunds for unconsumed or missed meals. I think for 3 of us we paid about £9 per week, which included a toilet roll, but think electricity was an extra bill.

Cheers,Bob.
Cheers, Bob.
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kate fletcher
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Sydney Morning Herald article is a fascinating read.

4 years later, at Holmesglen Hostel in Vidtoria, I don't remember there being complaints about the food. It wasn't high cuisine, but plain and healthy, with a variety of vegetables, and at weekends we could order a picnic meal, brown paper crib bags of salad with bread rolls , which we collected from the canteen and then ate in our hut.

There were sandwiches or bread rools to take to school. Always cheese, in my memory, although there was also chocolate spread that I lomged to order, but was forbidden to. An apple or orange would be included, and during the school holidays, fresh fruit was provided for the children at 11 o'clock every morning in the canteen.

The cook was from Vienna, and so a lot of the meals he prepared were entirely new to most of the migrants, but there was a fish and chip shop by the railway station, so perhaps all stolidly stubborn Britishers ate there, and that's why I can't recall any bitter criticism of canteen food.
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richardhallford richardhallford has been starred
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:20 am    Post subject: Sunbeam Electric Frypan Reply with quote

Im not sure that this is the right thread to do so, but in context to the conversation, Im attaching a photo of a Sunbeam Electric Frypan. I had forgotten all about the prong thingy that you plug in. However, somewhere in my disorganised mind was the picture of the little vent on top. Isnt it strange the things you recall.
If fact I think I recall the cooking smells now that Ive seen the picture again. Silly old fool me.


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Robert (Bob) Taylor
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes the frypan does evoke nostalgic memories of the smell of a roast dinner being cooked in very confined quarters. I think the pan also came with a glass lid, but we had the indentical model as you have kindly portrayed. Don't know what became of it, my parents never threw anything away much.
When we disposed of their belongings two years ago I don't think it was there....would almost have qualified as collectible then. idunno
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Katherine
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Mum still has the Sunbeam Electric Frypan purchased when living at Cabramatta and uses it. I remember at Cabramatta Hostel 1961 residents were served one scoop of mash potato and one of boiled rice as there was a shortage of potato, the media became involved and within a week the shortage was over. I never liked the food very much, however one of my teachers at Cabramatta High Mr Tilbury went to the Hostel Canteen lunch time every Friday and he said the food was excellent and very cheap.

Katherine
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chrisnic chrisnic has been starred
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was there (60 - 61), I remember there was always plenty of food, and the conditions seemed quite clean and hygienic. I just found the way it was prepared and dished up totally unappetising and I just didn't want to eat it. This worried the life out of my mum, who was already in shock at the conditions on the hostel. The solution? You guessed it, the good old Sunbeam electric fry-pan. As I recall, you could use it for a lot more than just frying. As for the school lunches in the brown paper bag, that lasted a couple of days, then it was the school tuck shop!
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george graham
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

we recooked a lot of our food using a kero heater..crunchy bacon by the truckload...no complaints exept most of the food was undercooked.as far as the sores ,I can tell you I had heaps but all were brought on by scratching mossie bites...we survived back in 65 and were all still here today..
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Joy52
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mother also worried about the hostel meals not being nutritious enough. She purchased an electric jug and a saucepan and by placing the saucepan on top of the jug she cooked scrambled eggs and heated milk for cocoa.
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