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Holden celebrates 50 years at Elizabeth

Memory line: Some of the first Holdens roll off the Holden Vehicle Operations assembly line in Elizabeth.

SA premier and Holden executives pay tribute to past and present workers

Holden logo12 May 2008

HOLDEN celebrated 50 years of vehicle operations at its plant in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide, last Thursday (May 8) by burying a time capsule and paying tribute to past and present workers and the local community.

Fifty years to the day after the first foundations were poured in a paddock of a 290-acre dairy farm Holden acquired in 1956, South Australian premier Mike Rann and Holden executive director of manufacturing Rodd Keane buried the capsule containing items such as Holden memorabilia, merchandise, advertising material and contributions from local schools and sporting clubs.

It will be reopened at the site’s 75th anniversary in 2033.

“Since the first concrete was poured at this site back in 1958, GM Holden has been proud to play its part in the Elizabeth community,” Mr Keane said.

 center imageLeft: HVO Elizabeth Powerhouse, 1959.

“We’re immensely thankful for the commitment to this facility which has been shown by successive generations of employees, over half of whom live within 10km of the plant.

“We also recognise the contribution of the local community, our suppliers, federal and state governments for their ongoing support of automotive manufacturing in South Australia.”

The Elizabeth site was established at an initial cost of £10,500,000 and received more than 10,000 tons of plant and equipment from the company’s Woodville assembly plant in suburban Adelaide to facilitate the opening of a body hardware plant.

This occurred in 1959 and produced components such as locks, mufflers, air cleaners, brake drums and mouldings.

The site expanded with a $3 million vehicle body assembly plant in 1962, the same year that Holden built its millionth vehicle.

This new plant produced Holden sedan, wagon and Vauxhall bodies to ‘body in white’ stage for shipment to GMH assembly plants throughout Australia.

Today, Holden’s vehicle operations include a press plant and metal assembly operation, body hardware facility, paint shop, plastics operation, body assembly and vehicle assembly operations.

The general assembly plant, which opened in January 1965 (initially producing the HD Holden but within seven months was covering Bedford, Chevrolet, Vauxhall and Pontiac from the discontinued Birkenhead plant in Port Adelaide), is currently running at its maximum line rate of 620 cars a day.

According to Holden, the site produces a vehicle every 76 seconds and employs around 3400 people. Last year, it produced 107,795 vehicles, with around 36,000 of these exported.

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