This marker was erected to acknowledge the comprehensive health services provided at Enterprise and the way in which this area had developed into a health precinct. It was launched on 4 December 2016 by Gerry and Eugene Rebeiro, the brothers of Joyce Rebeiro - the much loved member of the Enterprise organising group who had died two months earlier.
Welcome everyone. It is wonderful to have you with us especially given the weather.
I acknowledge the fact that we meet on the land of the Wurrundjiri people and pay my respects to their elders past and present, and to the elders of all cultures.
Until today the markers that form the Enterprise Trail have been placed in areas which were of special significance to the Enterprise Migrant Hostel residents.
- The Springvale Community Aid and Advice Bureau which provided many innovative settlement services
- The Springvale Neighbourhood House which provided a place for cultural groups to meet and interact with each other.
- The Springvale Primary School where the wonderful statewide Ethnic Teacher’s Aide Program was piloted
- The Centrelink office which, as the Social Security office, involved the community to help them develop open, accessible Services
This marker is different. We wanted to celebrate the extensive health services that the Government provided at the Enterprise Hostel and there was much discussion about where we should place the marker. We decided on this location because it was the centre of medical services in Springvale. And then we faced the challenge of the wording. We had one version and then changed our approach and the wording. We sincerely thank Mike Heine from Heine Jones who designs all our markers for his patience and his generosity in absorbing the costs which were incurred by these changes.
We are delighted with the final outcome and we hope you will be too.
The Text on the Marker
Welcome to Springvale’s Health Services precinct.
This sign has been installed as part of the Enterprise Trail. It acknowledges how the Australian Government planned and delivered comprehensive services for newly arrived migrants and refugees at the Enterprise Migrant Hostel to address their health needs and assist their settlement in Australia from 1970 -1992.
The Hostel accommodated 1000 people at any one time. When people arrived at the Enterprise Migrant Hostel they received a complete health check including chest X-rays. Staff from Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, later Heatherton Infectious Diseases Hospital, regularly visited Enterprise. A medical doctor and nurse provided services to everyone over the age of six. Maternal and child health professionals provided support for mothers and their babies and ensured that they were introduced to local services when they left Enterprise. They also supported the young mothers by running sessions on child development, family planning, safety and breast feeding. Some mothers required encouragement to breast feed their babies because they believed their milk would be bad for the babies because of poor nutrition in the refugee camps.
In some cases health responses were initiated while people were flying to Australia—upon their arrival very sick migrants were accompanied directly to the hostel where a doctor was waiting.
Some of the residents came as children without their parents. They were looked after by a House Mother at Enterprise, who also accompanied them to their medical appointments. Several children with hearing problems were treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital. Many women were pregnant when they arrived at The Enterprise Hostel, including seven mothers in the first group of residents to arrive from East Timor. They all gave birth at the Box Hill Hospital. From 1984 additional services were available from the newly established Springvale Community Health Service.
The Enterprise Hostel was a place where both government and the community developed new ways to make migrants and refugees feel at home – ways that valued cultural diversity. The Enterprise Migrant Hostel Springvale is testament to how innovative thinking, positive attitudes and a warm welcome can build a strong, cohesive and vibrant community.
“ I am very grateful for the love and support I received from the nurses, the doctors and the social workers” – African refugee woman who suffered many health problems.
“We are grateful to all these people who helped us in one way or another” – Mother whose child received an immediate response to a health problem.
“T he Australian Government was humane. They provided food, entertainment and a nurse” – Cambodian refugee.