Holdens

[Episode 7 | 1948 : Jen]

Wal visits Jen's mother to take her to the pictures in his new FJ Holden. Jen is unaware of the affections between her mother and Wal. When Wal gives Jen's mother a kiss goodnight, Jen becomes suspicious.


History

The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [2]

Activity 1: The FX
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Historical events; Transport
Discover
  • Australia in 1948 was ready for a new beginning. The war was over and families and communities were getting back on their feet. Industry was prospering and the car production industry expanded. It was an Australian dream to not only own your own home, but to drive your own car.
  • On 29 November 1948, Ben Chifley (Australian prime minister 1945–49) unveiled the first Holden, the 48-215, which became affectionately known as 'the FX'.
  • When Wal comes to pick up Jen's mum in his shiny new Holden FX, even Jen can't hide her enthusiasm. After the Second World War, owning a car meant 'I can afford this luxury as I have a job, a steady income and security'.
  • Ask students to use the internet to research and construct a basic timeline of the production of Holden cars, listing the name, model number (for example, 48-215) and year of production. They could collect images of these cars to illustrate the changes in design.
  • Have students discuss the changes that have occurred in the look, design and safety and performance features of the Holden car in Australia.
  1. Classic Holden Cars, http://www.classicholdencars.com/
  2. The Menzies era, 'Cars – Postwar', http://www.menziesera.com/cars/holden_fj.htm
  • Ask the class if anyone has a family member who collects model cars (particularly Holdens). If so, this person could be invited to come to class and talk about historical cars.

Reflect
  • Divide the class into groups and allocate each a specific decade, ranging from 1948 to 2008. Students choose a memorable or popular car of that decade, research its history and create a model from clay, papier mâché or modelling clay for display in a diorama. The diorama should include a picture of the car alongside the model, with a fact card and notes about its history.

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Activity 2: Car production
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Historical events; Transport
Discover
  • The first Holden car, the 48-215 (FX), cost £733 (including tax), which represented 94 weeks of wages for the average worker at the time. Despite this, demand for the car was high. Some 18,000 people paid a deposit for the car before they had even seen it. When the FJ Holden was released in 1953, the economy was significantly stronger and the car's price was £1,074 (including tax), representing 68 weeks of wages for the average worker.
  • As a class, discuss car production today. Ask students if they think it is less or more expensive to manufacture and sell cars today. On a chart or the blackboard, list possible reasons for changes in the cost of manufacturing a car.

Reflect
  • Ask students to compare and contrast the cost of selected cars available in 1948 to similar types of cars in 2009. The students could evaluate which car was the most economical then and now.
  • Using the library and online resources, guide the students in researching the average weekly wage in Australia today compared to the average weekly wage of a purchaser in 1948.
  • Divide the class into groups and ask each group to create a chart or graph for a different decade since 1948 representing the cost of cars in that decade with a comparative bar showing the corresponding average annual wage.
  • Students could look at the number of hours it took to produce a car in each decade and the number of people employed in car manufacturing at the time. They could also compare the methods of production used in different eras. They could use an electronic spreadsheet to complete this exercise. Students could use the library and online resources to help gather the necessary information.
  • Each group should present their findings to the class.

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