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Accommodation needed for soldiers' parents, 1917

Salvation Army Soldiers' and Relatives Hostel, Featherston : digital image 11-109/

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LXX, Issue 146192, 9 March 1917, Page 4
At the meeting of the Wairarapa Patriotic Association yesterday, Mr Q. Donald asked for assistance towards providing a building at the Featherston Camp for the accommodation of the parents of soldiers who were confined to the military hospital, and who may be seriously ill.

Mr Donald stated that accommodation in close proximity to the camp could not be secured at present. It seemed to him, to be desirable that parents should be near their sons when the latter were in a dying condition.

After some discussion, a committee was set up to interview Surgeon-General Henderson on the subject, with power to expend a sum of not exceeding £200. The committee is to consist of Messrs Q. Donald, J. W. Card, J. M. Coradine, H. Morrison, and Sir Walter Buchanan.

The Salvation Army took up the challenge and built a Soldiers' and Relatives' Hostel for families visiting their soldier sons and fathers in camp.  Featherston's small size and relative isolation offered little accommodation to overnight visitors beyond the usual requirements of peacetime.

Neil Frances, writing in Safe Haven: the untold story of New Zealand's largest ever military camp: Featherston: 1916-1919, says
The solution was a large hostel offering modest accommodation at modest cost. This was erected on the corner of Fitzherbert Street (the main road) and Hickson Street.
The hostel opened on 22 March 1917 - only 13 days after the need had been identified at a meeting of the Wairarapa Patriotic Association.  It was instantly successful, providing
65,286 bed/nights and serving 185,297 meals.

Safe Haven: the untold story of New Zealand's largest ever military camp: Featherston: 1916-1919, Neil Frances, Wairarapa Archives, 2012
Photograph: Wairarapa Archives
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