100 Year History

At Travellers Aid Australia, we have a long and wonderful history of assisting travellers in need that spans more than a century.

1916: The beginning
Travellers Aid Australia is formed in July 1916 to offer support and protection to women and girls arriving in Melbourne from overseas, interstate and rural Victoria. From 1916 Travellers Aid Australia volunteers begin to meet boats arriving at Station Pier and trains at Spencer and Flinders Street Stations.

1920: The migrant experience
Travellers Aid Australia volunteers begin to work tirelessly on applications for War Gratuity Pensions with great success. Travellers Aid Australia rest rooms are erected at Station Pier, Spencer Street Station and Victoria Doc k by 1921. The Travellers Aid Hostel is also built this year.

1929: The Great Depression
Travellers Aid Australia is confronted by the disheartening sight of abandoned children, women fleeing domestic violence, the disintegration of families and disillusioned migrants.

1939: World War Two
The Great Depression gives way to another great global conflict – World War Two. Once again, Travellers Aid Australia is confronted by the moral dilemma of lonely young women coming into Melbourne looking for wartime romance and employment.

1945: Post-war migration
No sooner than the cessation of war in 1945, Travellers Aid Australia is propelled into another intense and exciting period of Australia’s history – post-war migration. Travellers Aid Australia begins to greet and accommodate these migrants, houses families on their way to rural reception centres, and reunites lost children with their parents.

1960: International students and the Colombo Plan
As the number of migrants arriving at Station Pier begins to dwindle, Travellers Aid Australia shifts its focus to the needs of young Asian students arriving to study as part of the Colombo Plan. The hostel once again becomes a flurry of inter-racial and multi-lingual interaction, as students from around the world mingle and share stories.

1972: Doors open for men
In 1972 Travellers Aid Australia diversifies and welcomes men, providing them with financial aid and other referral services. This paves the way for other Emergency Relief services, some of which have continued for 30 years.

1989: Encouraging independent lifestyles
The Travellers Aid Disability Service opens to provide support to people with disabilities. The service is an important step in encouraging people with disabilities to make use of the many facilities and resources available in the heart of Melbourne.

2005: New endeavours
Travellers Aid Australia successfully operates the Melbourne Mobility Centre on behalf of the City of Melbourne.

2006: A new and improved facility
Travellers Aid Australia at Southern Cross Station relocates to new purpose built facilities with extended operating hours. Travellers Aid Australia assists people with disabilities and visitors involved in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

2008: A triumphant return
Construction commences at Travellers Aid Australia at Flinders Street Station and the service returns after a 40 year absence.

2009: 20 years of service
Travellers Aid Access Service is more successful than ever at Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross Station, celebrating its 20th birthday.

2014: Expanding to regional Victoria
Travellers Aid opens at Seymour Station with the Buggy Service.

2016: 100th Anniversary 
Travellers Aid officially launched its 100 year celebration on Thursday 14 July at Southern Cross Station. In commemoration of a century of service Travellers Aid also launch the book ‘We are all travellers’, a collection of images and stories of the Travellers Aid journey.

Order our 100 year commemorative book ‘We are all travellers’ here.