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Sad day at Holden museum

Echuca's National Holden Motor Museum owner Ted Farley was sad to hear about the closure of production of Holden cars in Australia.

RENEE THOMPSON December 14, 2013 4:05am

The operator of a Holden tourist museum at Echuca says he is sad Australia is losing its historic car brand.


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The National Holden Motor Museum in Echuca took on extra significance this week following the announcement of Holden’s Australian closure in 2017 — it is now destined to become a museum for the cars in the true sense of the word.

Dedicated to preserving Holden models and their memories, the Warren St museum is home to one of the largest collections of Holdens in Australia and attracts about 18,000 visitors a year.

Musuem owner Ted Farley said he was still reeling from Wednesday’s news and, while he knew the company’s future had been uncertain, the 2017 closure date came out of the blue.

‘‘You kept thinking, ‘No it won’t happen to Holden; it’s Aussie,’’ he said.

‘‘I thought someone would have an idea about how to keep the company going.’’

Holden’s demise in Australia was in sharp contrast to its history as an iconic, much-loved brand, Mr Furley said.

‘‘It was very sad to see an Aussie company gone and thousands of jobs going,’’ he said.

‘‘In 1956, Holden had 53 per cent of the market. That means every second car was a Holden.

‘‘I’ve always thought if everyone bought Holdens and Fords, they would stick around.

‘‘No matter what, it’s an Aussie icon we’ve lost.’’

He also cited former Prime Minister Ben Chifley’s famous words ‘‘She’s a beauty’’ which kicked off Australia’s love affair with the Holden back in 1948.

The words now had a sad ring to them, Mr Furley said.

‘‘Sixty-five years down the track — she’s gone,’’ he said.

Mr Furley said it took a while for the news to sink in when he heard the announcement on Wednesday.

‘‘Personally, it knocked me about quite a bit,’’ he said.

‘‘I was out in meetings at the Port, when I got back the ABC went to a live radio cross.

‘‘The emotional side took over during the interview.

‘‘I deal in the past, and all of a sudden I had to deal with the now and the future.’’

He said he felt the loss acutely.

‘‘We’re losing Australia’s own car,’’ he said.

‘‘And just 10 to 12 days out from Christmas, all those people have learnt they are going to lose their jobs.

‘‘I’m also patriotic towards the company and thought, here we go, we’re losing another Aussie company.

‘‘It concerns me, the way we are going. We’re losing something else that’s ours.’’

But while his emotion surprised him, Mr Furley said people were coming in off the street and saying the same thing.

‘‘Everyone from teachers to people up the street have been coming in for a chat,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s affecting a lot of people. There’s the saying ‘There’s not an Australian who hasn’t been in a Holden,’ and that’s being used a lot.’’

He said there would be no shortage of visitors to the museum wanting to relive the nostalgia of Holden’s golden days.

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