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Holden's Final Week Of Car Production Begins

Beginning Of The End...

Holden's Final Week Of Car Production Begins

Nearly everyone in South Australia knows someone who's worked at Holden.

While just as many have driven, if not, ridden in a car bearing the famous lion and stone badge.

Come Friday, the 945 workers remaining at the company's factory in the northern Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth, will clock off for the final time.

It brings to a close almost 60 years of manufacturing, and the end of Australia's car industry after Toyota ceased carmaking in Melbourne on October 3.

Plant quality manager Paul Smedley is one those hanging around until the very end.

"It was very early on I decided I wanted to be here to see the last car built."

"If I'd left earlier, it felt like the captain deserting the sinking ship, it just didn't feel right to leave," he said.

"It was the safe option - I know what I'm doing here... but the other part was wanting to see it through until the end and be here for the workforce."

 

As October 20 draws closer, Smedley says it won't be easy to walk away from a place that's been building cars since the sixties.

"I think it'll be tough, so I'm sure there'll be some moments during that day that will pull at heartstrings."

The qualified engineer won't be out of work for long - just a weekend in fact.

He'll start work on the air warfare destroyer program the following Monday.

After 19 years with Holden, father-of-three Peter Allison has also found another job - but not in Adelaide.

The 38 year old is moving his family to Muswellbrook in New South Wales to work for BHP.

"It's been extremely tough, I grew up in Elizabeth and lived around this area my entire life," said Allison.

"So moving out of this area, or even locally from Adelaide, has been a very, very tough decision."

But not everyone's got a job lined up.

Heather Sinclair, who's worked at the factory for more than a decade is moving to Queensland for a "seachange."

Her partner has also worked at Elizabeth for 44 years.

"We both wanted a change, we knew it was going to be tougher for people to get jobs here," she said.

"I guess that's the worry for the people in the northern suburbs about not having the employment here."

Some 800 workers have already moved on from the factory since its closure was announced back in 2013.

Those men and women have found jobs - full-time, part-time and casual - in industries like defence and transport to areas more removed from automotive like food, healthcare and agriculture.

For those who've decided to remain until the final day, there's been more time to reflect.

Production has fallen to about 175 vehicles a day, down from a peak of almost 800 when the Elizabeth plant operated virtually "around the clock."

Most the final cars coming off the line are a mixture of limited edition sports sedans and utes with their thundering 6.2 litre V8 engines marking the end of an era for manufacturing and customers.

All the workers we spoke to were determined to make the last cars the very best Holden has ever produced.

 

 

 

 

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