The closure of Holden's Elizabeth plant is the final chapter in Australia's rich history of automaking.
Holden’s last Australian-built car — a V8 Commodore — will roll off the production line this morning, as the local automaking industry becomes a memory at the close of business today.
The bright red sedan, manufactured at the company’s Elizabeth plant, along with the final ute and wagon, are expected to be kept by Holden to become museum artefacts; a lasting reminder of Australia’s proud automobile history.
When those doors close at Holden, the car industry will close forever.
When the 955 employees of the north Adelaide factory down tools today, it will mark the end of nearly 100 years of automobile manufacturing in Australia, and 69 years for Holden.
The folding of an entire industry in Australia, which has reportedly affected 50,000 livelihoods, has prompted union officials and opposition leaders to condemn the lack of action.
“It closed because of the lazy, negligent, disinterest of the right-wing economic rationalists of the Turnbull and Abbott governments,” Labor leader Bill Shorten said.
“They goaded the industry into going. As a result, Australia is poorer.”
Union state secretary John Camillo called it a “betrayal of blue-collar workers”. An expected 2,500 direct employees and suppliers are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the plant’s closure.
“And that’s the tragedy about what’s happening today,” he said.
“When those doors close at Holden, the car industry will close forever.
“History will remember this as the greatest betrayal of blue-collar workers.”
The first Holden (an FX) was produced in Port Melbourne in 1948. There have been 7.6 million built by the company since.
Holden shut its Port Melbourne plant in November 2016.
Quick rise to the top
By 1962, Holden had already produced its first million vehicles, such was its popularity. Seven years later, that figure had doubled.
As the Daily Telegraph reports, it took Ford 50 years to reach the two million mark in comparison.
Holden’s tally of 7.6 million vehicles will finish far superior to Ford (5.9 million) and Toyota (3.4 million).
Ford closed its factories last year, while Toyota shut the doors on its Camry factory earlier this month.