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Extract from Twenty-Third Report of Public Service Board

 (19 January 1948, p. 18)

[Staffing problems in Canberra after World War II]

Staffing for Canberra represents a psychological as well as a practical problem, and the difficulties are generally those that occur when the main part of the population is employed by one authority in an isolated situation. One of the principal problems is that of providing a normal social and community life for the young people, who are away from their homes and who are forced to live in boarding houses or hostels.

Another problem at present arises from the segregation of women in separate hostels. The need for a certain amount of this kind of accommodation for the junior girls and such other women as desire it, is recognised, but many difficulties of hostel management, and artificialities and restrictions of normal social activities would be removed if more mixed hostels and boarding houses were provided. Their success is amply demonstrated by those already in existence. The Board feels that this is a matter affecting administration which requires further attention.

Although the reasons may be various, the result is plain and it is that there is a marked tendency on the part of officers to avoid transfer or even promotion to Canberra. It can be expected that this problem will be gradually eliminated as population increases, but at the moment there appear to be two outstanding communal deficiencies. First, is the absence of any common outdoor gathering place, and the second, the lack of club-room facilities for many of the single people of both sexes who must reside in boarding houses and hostels.

The Board considers it to be a matter of urgent importance that steps should be taken to provide these amenities.

The first could perhaps be covered by the development of a central park area with laid out gardens, a refreshment kiosk, bandstand, open air swimming pool, paddling pool and playground for children. This might with advantage be linked with the proposal which the Board understands is being considered to establish a representative collection of Australian birds and animals. This would provide not only a recreational centre but a social meeting ground for the residents as well as being useful as a tourist attraction.

The second item requires the establishment of a club house as a social meeting centre for junior officers, and particularly for those who must live in Canberra hostels. Such a club should offer the normal social, cultural and recreational activities. Initially it should not require any substantial construction and possibly the adaption of some temporary structure would suffice. The Board considers the need to be too urgent to await the availability of resources for permanent construction and it is in consultation with the Department of Works and Housing and the Department of the Interior on the development of a plan which, when completed will be submitted to the Government.

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018