Saturday, July 12, 2008

General Motors Holden, Fishermen's Bend

General Motors Holden, Fishermen's BendAt the turn of the 20th Century, Fishermen's Bend in Port Melbourne was little more than a wasteland sandy marshy land. There were some small dairy farms, fisherman's huts, an airfield and rifle butts.

In 1903 the Victoria Golf Club was established on the Bend and it appears that when they relocated to Cheltenham in the mid 1920s, part of the course was taken over by the now defunct Sandridge Golf Club and part was set aside for industrial development.

It wasn't until the mid-1930s that General Motors Holden (GMH) acquired a parcel of land to build their car manufacturing plant. There is a picture in the Victoria Golf Club history by Don Lawrence of GMH Managing Director, Sir Lawrence Hartnett visiting the site early during the establishment of the plant. The interesting point being that Hartnett's chauffeur is in the background holding a few golf clubs.

The factory opened in 1936 and originally had a revolving spotlight on the top of the tower, however it was removed within a few years due to the outbreak of WWII.

GMH no longer manufacture cars here so a lot of the site has been re-developed into Portside Industrial Park.

The original administration block remains in Salmon St, one of Melbourne's great art deco buildings.

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