Pennington Migrant HostelPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The park commemorates the former residents and staff of the Pennington Migrant Hostel.

Finsbury Hostel, later known as Pennington Hostel, was the longest running of South Australia's immigration. 

'Purpose built' to house migrants, Finsbury was made up of huts constructed on site out of galvanised iron and corrugated asbestos, Nissen huts and Romney huts from England, and Quonset huts from Manus Island. These military buildings were used due to the acute shortage of building materials.

The site was divided into five sections, each with a capacity of 400, which opened at different times depending on demand. People were allocated sections of the huts, divided to create something like flats. Rooms were simply furnished. There were communal buildings for toilets, showers, laundry and dining, and large Nissen huts were also used for recreational activities such as dances, sporting activities and film nights. 

The hostel was renamed Pennington in 1966 due to a change in postal boundaries. In 1980 it was referred to as the Pennington Migrant Centre. While Pennington hostel closed most communal facilities in 1985, and staffing structures and services changed at this time, the site continued to house newly arrived migrants into the 1990s. During this time self-contained family units were built. The old accommodation huts were gradually closed as more units were built. 

Pennington was home to people from a range of countries, and included Displaced Persons (DPs) from a variety of European countries, assisted migrants from Britain and Europe, European refugees (such as those fleeing Hungary in the late 1950s and Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s), South American refugees,  Indo-Chinese refugees (from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), and refugees from the Middle East and East Timor.

The hostel was also used at times to accommodate people other than migrants, such as evacuees after Cyclone Tracy in Darwin, Defence employees, apprentices working at local businesses, a visiting Aboriginal football team, and the South Australian Police Rifle Club.



Address:Arthur Street, Pennington Gardens Reserve, Pennington, 5013
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.854683
Long: 138.536247
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Park
Monument Theme:Landscape
Approx. Event Start Date:1949
Approx. Event End Date:1985


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:October-2013
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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