Australian Motor Industry.
I feel reasonably well qualified to compile a story about
motor industry and motoring history, this is because I am the son of
you’ve had trouble believing some of my stories).
My Dad then turned his hand to Motor Wrecking, (this is the
dismantling of used cars and resale of the parts, just in case it’s known
by some other name over-seas) I still have nightmares about all the
vintage and classic cars that he consigned to oblivion.
So I was brought up around motor cars, I even, in my first lifetime,
had visions of how wonderful it would be to be a “Motor Mechanic” who
was able to keep the said motor cars running sweetly, about all that
needs to be said about that episode is that it lasted only as long as
my apprenticeship to the trade.
However in my second lifetime (by the way, I’m now on my third and
probably final lifetime) I was able to make some use of that long ago
training… as the proprioter of a Service Station who knew the correct
terminology when discussing their vehicles with customers.
OK that’s enough of my history this is supposed to be about cars,
like most other countries back in the era when we were changing over
from the horse and cart to the motor car
pioneers, a few of whom left their mark in our history.
However in the early 1900s when the industry was beginning
Australia’s population was a mere 4 million spread over one of the
largest land masses and with no road network to speak of so
progress lagged behind England, Europe and America.
There were import duties placed on imported vehicles to assist in
building up our workforce and it became profitable to import chassis
and running gear from overseas and build the bodies here, this
progressed to importing components un-assembled and building
Our first true manufacturing plant was built by Ford
subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, in 1926 at
Ford remain a force in
In 1931 General Motors purchased the motor body building company
of “Holden’s Motor Body Builders Ltd” which became
“General Motors-Holden Ltd” known here as GMH.
It was GMH who were first to answer the call for an all Australian car,
built entirely in Australia, in 1948, just 3 short years after the crippling
World War 2, GMH released the first “Holden” to an enthusiastic
market place, GMH is another one of the manufacturers still here today,
in fact they have tasted market leadership more often than any other
There were many other manufacturing and or assembly plants set up
here as well these included many British and European marques all of
which have since faded into oblivion as Australian manufacturers.
banner of “Theiss Toyota”, Theiss Brothers were a huge Mining and
Construction Company with an almost insatiable thirst for
new “Land Cruiser” vehicles.
This was a marriage which has since led to
leader for all vehicles sold here in
From nowhere in the 1950s we now have the huge Japanese car makers
Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Subaru, all becoming important world
players and the fledgling industry from Korea, China, India all starting
to make inroads our local manufacturers are having a tough time.
That is a very brief history of the manufacturing side of the Australian
industry, many facets of this industry have been subjected to a lot of
interference by Government in the forms of Import Duties and
Taxation breaks over the years, I am of the opinion that market forces
may have done a better job on the final result, but we’ll never know now.
I think we’ll leave it there and do some more next post, in
closing this scene would have been fairly representative of an
early 1930s garage anywhere in Australia.
My work is the only ground
I've ever had to stand on.
I seem to have a whole
superstructure with no foundation,
but I'm working on the foundation.
(That's some superstructure though Marilyn!!)