The end of El­iz­a­beth

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Maniac -

“The mo­tor in­dus­try in South Aus­tralia dom­i­nates the state’s eco­nomic scene.” Or so it says in a 1969 book, South Aus­tralia from The Air, pub­lished as part of the Aus­tralia and New Zealand As­so­ci­a­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Sci­ence (ANZAAS) con­fer­ence held that year in Ade­laide.

It was re­ported that over 17,000 South Aus­tralians were then di­rectly em­ployed by Gen­eral Mo­tors-Holden’s and Chrysler Aus­tralia, with an­other 8000 in­volved in sup­ply­ing parts and ac­ces­sories for ve­hi­cles. A fur­ther 8000 or so were em­ployed in the re­pair of mo­tor ve­hi­cles, many oth­ers in sell­ing them.

Ac­cord­ing to the 1969 sta­tis­tics… “of ev­ery 100 Aus­tralians en­gaged in ve­hi­cle as­sem­bly and man­u­fac­ture, about 37 are em­ployed in South Aus­tralia.”

This ex­plains why South Aus­tralia is ex­pected to feel the ef­fects of the re­cently an­nounced clo­sures more than most other states.

In 1969, GM-H had two man­u­fac­tur­ing plants in Ade­laide, one at Woodville and an­other at El­iz­a­beth, em­ploy­ing 5000 and 6000 work­ers re­spec­tively. An­other 6,000 work­ers were em­ployed south of the city at Chrysler’s main plant at Tonsley Park and its en­gine fa­cil­ity at Lons­dale.

Both Chrysler fac­to­ries were taken over by Mit­subishi un­til it too left the scene in 2008.

The book in­cludes an aerial photo of the mas­sive GMH plant at El­iz­a­beth. Built in 1958, by 1969 it cov­ered an area of over 1.9 mil­lion square feet. This com­plex was of­ten com­pared to an en­closed city with a sub­urb built around it.

What will hap­pen to this site when GM-H shuts down lo­cal pro­duc­tion, we won­der?

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