Holden museum races to expansion

Welcome: Trafalgar Holden Museum president Neil Joiner and committee member Mick Bourke OAM with Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas. photographs liam durkin



THE Trafalgar Holden Museum will be extended to house a new collection of cars.
The collection will take in 18 heritage Holden cars, to be exhibited within a soon-to-be converted shed on the site of the former Trafalgar Butter Factory.
Holden’s American parent company, General Motors, decided that various collections of its cars should be showcased in different museums across the country, and
Trafalgar was selected as a location.
Run entirely by volunteers, the museum was overjoyed recently when news its funding application from the state government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund was given the green light.
Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas came to Trafalgar last month to formally announce the funding had been secured.
It was the first time the Trafalgar Holden Museum had welcomed a Minister.
Ms Thomas was taken on a tour of the museum by president Neil Joiner and Mick Bourke OAM, who was instrumental in seeing that the grant application was successful.
The Minister took the opportunity to peruse the museum’s extensive display of cars, learn more about the Holden story, and even jumped behind the wheel of an FJ Special.
Speaking at the announcement, Ms Thomas said the funding would give the museum even
further scope to attract visitors.
“This is incredible news for the Trafalgar Holden Museum, but for Gippsland more broadly,” she said.
“This injection of $417,000, supported of course by sponsors and the volunteers here, will ensure that this museum can continue to grow and attract more visitors.
“We’ve learnt that during their time in Australia, 30,000 people worked at Holden. I could not think of anything better to do if I was an ex-Holden employee than to come to
this magnificent museum and see how well cared for the vehicles are and how beautifully maintained they are.”

Exciting: Trafalgar Holden Museum volunteers Bill Moroney, Helen Francis, Jen Middleton, Dee Barnes. Teresa Dodge and Geoff Dodge are looking forward to the expansion.

In keeping with the positivity of the announcement, Ms Thomas was embraced by the Trafalgar Holden contingent, even after confessing she had come from a ‘Ford family’.
“The crew here have been very generous in welcoming me,” she said laughingly.
“I have been able to recall the very first car I owned myself was a second-hand Holden Gemini, so I’m back in the good books.”
When asked of her memories from driving that car, Ms Thomas said overtaking a truck in third gear on the Hume Highway was “not of my finest moments”.
All jokes aside, Mr Joiner said the museum was incredibly grateful to receive the funding.
“This is really going to put us on the map,” he said.
“We are going to have the best display of motor cars in Australia, the fact that it is all Holden is even better.”
In adding to the gravitas of the display, some of the rarest Holden models in existence will be housed in Trafalgar.
“Vehicles that are Holden-owned we are able to put in there, get them all over here,” he said.
“It will take in everything that Holden have got from about 1948 onwards.
“A lot of that is iconic stuff like design concepts, Hurricane, Efijy, GTRX, all of these concept cars that never went anywhere, but they were there … they are a Holden man’s dream.”
The Hurricane was one of the most advanced vehicles of its time when built in 1969, and featured hydraulic powered doors swung forward over the two front wheels. You can just picture James Bond driving one of them.

New era: Colleen Archer, Jeff Thomas, Ana Thomas, Neil Titford and Norm Sansom can’t wait to see the expansion.

Moving forward, Mr Joiner hoped the expansion would see the museum grow even more in stature.“We want to get as many of them (heritage cars) here as we can, and ultimately be the controller of them … that is another day and another discussion,” he said.
The museum hopes the exhibit will even welcome international visitors to little old Trafalgar.
As one of the biggest motor car museums in Australia, the Trafalgar Holden Museum is a major coup for the small town, and tells the full Holden story, from not just cars but other
products the company manufactured such as trams, saddles, golf clubs and even military
“It is absolutely mind-blowing what they did, in the timeframe they did it,” Mr Joiner said.
“They got a gun from England and four months later they were manufacturing parts, just making components for their own guns, they got production rates of 300 a month, you
can’t even comprehend that, and they did it.”
Volunteers remain the heartbeat of the museum, which has 60 or so proudly dedicated to its upkeep.
“It all belongs to the volunteers, every one of them, every day, there is someone working
here working their guts out,” Mr Joiner said.
The Trafalgar Holden Museum is located at 69 Waterloo Rd, Trafalgar and open until 5pm daily.
Those interested in getting involved can do so by phoning 5633 1684.
The expansion will be jointly funded by the state government, Bendigo Bank and the museum itself.

What we got: Neil Joiner shows Mary-Anne Thomas around the museum.
Home: The new exhibition will be housed in an unused shed at the back of the museum site.