|Holden's Elizabeth plant in 1965, producing Holden HD and (bottom left)
Vauxhall Viva motor cars.|
It is sad news this week as we heard that General Motor Holden's will cease production at its Elizabeth plant in 2017. Holden's has been such a huge employer for the area. The Holden's factory to Elizabeth was a great catch which consolidated the Housing Trusts plans and enabled it to increase its aim for Elizabeth's population from about 20,000 to 50,000.
Holden is a South Australian name. James Alexander Holden set up a leather and saddling business in Adelaide in 1854. The business grew, became the carriage and body building firm of Holden and Frost, an in 1917 Holden's Motor Body Builders Ltd. In 19326, General Motors came to Australia, and in 1931 the two firms merged to form General Motors - Holden's Pty Ltd. Initially the factory was at Woodville from 1924, but it could not expand, and by the early 1950's was looking for a new site. Elizabeth was attractive as the Housing Trust offered a housing scheme to GMH employees and even promised to turn the course of the Phillip Highway so that the factory buildings could be better positioned.
Sir Thomas Playford was so keen for Holden's to move to Elizabeth that they reversed the usual procedure and sold the land to the firm before acquiring it themselves.
To be continued...