Friday, July 25, 2008

GMH Social Centre, Fishermen's Bend

GMH, Social Club

2008 is the 60th anniversary of Australian produced Holden cars. The FX Holden was launched by Prime Minister Ben Chifley in November 1948 at the Social Centre (shown above) at the General Motors Holden plant at Fishermen's Bend in Port Melbourne.

The building was probably built in the 1940s in time for this launch. The facade consists of stepped formation of red brick with a further stepped rendered central section. This central section includes large sections of glass bricks and a flagpole.

GMH Social Centre, InteriorOver the years the Social Centre has hosted concerts, balls and all manner of functions. It has a beautiful parquetry floor just made for dancing.

In recent times it has served as the canteen for the GMH plant with deco-style boards listing the menu for the day. This day in 1996 you could have French Onion soup for 70c, Beef Stroganoff for $3.50 and assorted Sweets for 70c and $2.00.

Interesting the Stroganoff is described, American-style, as an 'Entree' rather than a 'Main' as would be usual in Australia.

GMH Mural, Transport PastAn oustanding feature of the Social Centre is the murals on either side of the stage above the food service area.

One depicts all manner of transport from the past. Bullocks, a horse drwn stagecoach, a stream train and a sailing ship. Even an early car makes an appearance.

The murals were the work of GMH employee, Eileen Robertson. It is said she worked on them in the tower of the nearby Administration Building and they were installed in the Social Centre whne they were completed. It is also said that she wasn't invited to the launch of the FX Holden in 1948 so arguable she didn't get to see her work at it's finest moment.

GMH Mural, Transport FutureFor Art Deco fans the second mural is a beauty.

Depicted as a Metropolis-style city of the future, it shows us the extreme streamline transport of super-fast trains, buses, cars and airships of the world to come.

I've loved it from the first day (and only day) I saw it.

Eileen Robertson may have missed that party in 1948 but her work is still fresh and futuristic 60 years on.

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