Henry Holden (1859 – 1926) saddler, motor-body manufacturer
By 1923 Holden’s employed over a thousand men and produced 240 car-bodies per week, more than half the national output. Henry Holden was president of the Baptist Union for twenty-one years, a deacon for twenty-five and a Sunday-school superintendent. In 1904 he established the Norwood Cottage Homes for the aged poor. He was president of the Young Men’s Christian Association.
By 1923 Holden’s employed over a thousand men and produced 240 car-bodies per week (for numerous makes of imported chassis), more than half the national output. Rapidly expanding demand required innovative production methods, and repeated restructuring of the firm’s finances to provide capital. In April the company expanded its plant to a 22-acre (9 ha) site at Woodville; production rose from 6661 bodies in 1922 to 22,060 in 1924.
H. J. Holden, a self-made entrepreneur, enjoyed a close patriarchal relation with his workforce. He fostered generous social welfare arrangements and good labour relations, using a factory consultative council. His passion for quality caused him to slash poor work under the noses of his workers; but he reputedly knew each personally and was remembered as a generous employer. He was not fully attuned to the scale and style of the new methods, and increasing tension marked his dealings with his innovative son.
As well as being the State’s leading industrialist, Henry Holden contributed substantially to civic life. He was mayor of Kensington and Norwood for eight years, a member of the Norwood School Board, and as a foundation member of the Municipal Tramways Trust initiated moves for electrification of the system. President of the Municipal Councils Association in 1903 and later vice-president, he acted as chief magistrate in the eastern suburbs and was chairman of a committee formed to draft a bill for town planning. He was president of the Baptist Union for twenty-one years, a deacon for twenty-five and a Sunday-school superintendent. In 1904 he established the Norwood Cottage Homes for the aged poor. He was president of the Young Men’s Christian Association and official visitor to the Parkside Asylum. When visiting England in 1911 he was commissioned to investigate management of hospitals for the mentally defective. A diabetic, in his last years Holden appeared infrequently at board meetings. He died at Norwood on 6 March 1926, survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons.
Edward Holden (Henry’s son) was born on 14 August 1885 at College Town. Educated at Prince Alfred College and the University of Adelaide (B.Sc., 1905), on graduation he joined the family firm (still trading as Holden & Frost Ltd). He was influential in Holden’s expansion into motor-body building, and its use of highly automated mass production technology.
The Holden family made a signal contribution to the development of Australian manufacturing and to the shaping of the South Australian economy. Through their outstanding managerial abilities they demonstrated that large-scale, mass production methods could be adapted to Australian industry despite the disadvantages of remoteness and a small local market. Their name is commemorated on hundreds of thousands of Australian motor vehicles.
Complete article : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090705b.htm
1,200 official guests, headed by the Prime Minister, Mr Ben Chifley, attended the public announcement of ‘Australia’s Own Car’ on 29 November 1948 at Fishermens Bend. The ceremony also marked the inauguration of the Australian automotive industry.
Above image and Holden history sourced from : http://www.classicholdencars.com/tag/holden-history/
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