After Paul started the thread on the old Holden mosaic being uncovered, I spent a few days (on and off) researching the factories and found it quite amazing just how much GMH were producing in the '50's, '60's and '70's. I couldn't actually find anything on the net that showcased all of the factories together, so I thought a thread featuring all of them may be interesting to some people.
Having said that, this is only a very basic history with pages cut and pasted from the Holden Retirees Club website and photos found from all over. The Holden Retirees Club site has days worth of reading in there, although it can be a bit frustrating as pages found on google are impossible to find in the website itself and there is no search function.
Someone really ought to write a book on the subject. (Calling Dr Terry)
It will probably take me a couple of days to string all this together, so maybe leave comments until after the spiel on Acacia Ridge.
Holden and Frost. Adelaide.
"J.A. Holden & Co" was first established in Australia in 1856 by James Holden as a leather and saddlery business. The Grenfell Street building was purchased in May 1879, and James's son Henry was made a partner at this time. Henry Frost joined as a business partner in 1885 and the company was renamed "Holden & Frost LTD". James died 1st June 1887.
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In 1899, the two Henry's won a contract to supply saddles and harnesses to the government for the Boer war. This marked a rapid period of growth for the company and they were quick to purchase new machinery and rent additional premises at Norwood.
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In 1905, Henry's son, Edward Holden was admitted to the company. He had completed a bachelor of engineering at Adelaide University and could see the demise of the horse for transportation and the rise of the motor car. He talked his father into travelling to America to see the manufacture of motor cars, and immediately started making fabric roofs and side curtains for the early models available in Australia. Edward bought his own car in 1913.
During WW1 the Australian government banned the importation of motorcars, but not the rolling chassis, so seeing an opportunity, what was by then "Holden's LTD" started manufacturing bodies and by 1917 they had expanded by buying a near new state of the art factory on King William Street. This was a huge step, and after some modification, a huge building. In fact, they became the biggest manufacturer of motor bodies in the British Empire and the second biggest in the world.
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