About the project


Migrant workers arriving at GMH Fishermen's Bend, 1955 (Image courtesy of National Archives of Australia. NAA: A12111, 1/1955/16/11.)

In 2013, GM-Holden announced that it would cease manufacturing in Australia at the end of 2017, thus ending more than a century of automotive manufacture in this country.

The disappointment that marked ‘the end of the line’ at Holden risks overshadowing the remarkable history of this company and its workers. While many histories about Holden to date have focussed on the company and the vehicles it produced, this project seeks to put the company’s workers front and centre in a new history of Holden’s operations in Australia.

​In particular, we want to understand and preserve memories about:

  • what it was like to work in Holden’s factories
  • the different jobs people did and how they contributed to the final product
  • working conditions
  • how technological change affected the nature of work
  • how work life impacted on family and social life
  • social and sporting groups or clubs associated with Holden
  • rivalries with other manufacturers, such as Ford
  • Holden's participation in motor racing
  • how workers coped with difficult moments such as industrial unrest, layoffs, and plant closures
  • migrant workers
  • female factory workers
  • living and working in communities near the factories, e.g. Elizabeth, Dandenong, Woodville, Fishermen's Bend
  • workplace and motoring safety
  • closure of Holden's manufacturing operations

If you would like to be interviewed for the project, please share your story.