When the Abbott Liberal government was sworn into office on 18 September 2013, Tony Abbott was determined that his government would no longer supplement automotive manufacturing. This was to prove the “final nail” in the coffin of the ailing Australian car industry, and the iconic “Holden” brand was no exception.
In December 2013, then Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey demanded in parliament that Holden “come clean” and decide whether it wanted to remain in Australia as a manufacturer. The shockwaves made it all the way to Detroit. Holden announced the very next month, in January 2014, it would close its local manufacturing operations in 2017, about a year after Ford.
“The end of Australia's car manufacturing industry is approaching and it will be brutal. It is shaping as an extinction event of Australian jobs, an entire industry being wiped out.” wrote journalist Jason Dowling on November 13, 2015
On October 17th 2017, the last Holden – a red Commodore SS - rolled off the production line in Elizabeth, South Australia.
On 17 February 2020, General Motors announced that the Holden brand would be retired by 2021, after GM stated it would no longer make right-hand drive vehicles globally, leaving the Australia and New Zealand markets altogether.
31 December 2020 marked the end of an era for Holden, which started as a saddlery in Adelaide in 1856 before graduating to horse-drawn carriages and coaches – and then car bodies – in the early 1900s.
From the point of view of the Australian National Show and Shine committee in mid-2020, discussions centred around the concept of doing “something special” to celebrate the Holden brand, which had long been the name most associated with Good Old Oz. Even the Holden jingle of “Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars” was mentioned as a theme that we may be able to work with.
Regrettably, that plan never came to fruition, as the Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of our proposed 2020 event. That was repeated the following year in 2021. But the demise of Holden was never forgotten and at a committee meeting in May 2022, the idea was revived and supported unanimously.
At our 2022 event on Sunday October 2nd, the Euroa Show and Shine will present a special trophy – celebrating all things Holden – as part of our presentations. This will be something distinctive, an award big enough to take pride of place in most trophy cabinets.
When we say “HOLDEN”, we mean virtually ANY Holden. That includes Commodore, Torana, Monaro, Kingswood, Belmont, Brougham, Camira, Caprice, Gemini, Sandman, Utes, FJ, VF, and all of the others in between … the list goes on!
The decision for the trophy will be made by one of our most esteemed and experienced judges, who will be wandering around anonymously throughout the morning of the show.
More news on this prestigious award as we get nearer to the show.
Meantime, here’s a picture of the founder of the Euroa Show and Shine, Rob Asquith OAM, with a trophy of similar size to what we envisage as an award to the “BEST HOLDEN” Picture by AutoMotive Photography. Holden image cartoon by Mark Knight.
.. Ray Read