YHA vintage house

On September 4, 2014, YHA marked 75 years since the youth hostel movement was established in Australia, having now grown into the nation’s largest budget accommodation network.

In this milestone year, YHA Ltd also has a new President, James Tomkins, an Olympic rower and one of the original ‘Oarsome Foursome’.

YHA was established in Australia on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. The day after Prime Minister Menzies declared that Australia was at war with Germany, an audacious group of optimists forged ahead with founding a youth hostel movement on 4th September 1939, opening the first YHA at Warrandyte, on the outskirts of Melbourne soon after.

The global youth hostel movement had actually begun thirty years earlier in Europe, in 1909, when a German school teacher, Richard Schirrmann, first conceived of the idea of a ‘classroom of the outdoors’. The first permanent youth hostel was established in 1912 at Altena Castle in Germany and still operates today. There are now more than 4,000 youth hostels worldwide in 80 countries, providing comfortable, quality, budget accommodation.

YHA now has a network of 90 unique places to stay across Australia, from train carriages at Railway Square YHA in Sydney to eco-hostels on the Great Ocean Road and rainforest retreats in Queensland, YHA offers a welcoming place for Australian and international travellers.

YHA maintains its original mission today: “To provide opportunity for all, but especially young people, for education by personal development, fostering friendship, and bringing about a better understanding of others and the world around them.”

YHA is a membership-based, not-for-profit organisation, and part of the world’s largest budget accommodation network, Hostelling International.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management