In 1925, King George V was our monarch, Stanley Bruce the Prime Minister, and Calvin Coolidge was elected U.S. President for the second time. It was the year talkback heavyweight 2UE began broadcasting in Sydney, actors Paul Newman and Jack Lemmon were born, and John Logie Baird demonstrated his television system.
It was also the year Ford began operations in Australia. On Friday, 91 years on, the final Ford Falcon will roll off the production line and the last car factory in this country will shut its doors for the last time. Friday also marks the last day Ford's rival, Holden, will produce its Cruze model in Australia.
It is the latest sad day for local manufacturing, after a string of crushing announcements by car makers in recent years. Holden announced its intention to scale back and eventually shut down its local operations, with the Cruze production wrap-up the latest in the process; Toyota is doing the same thing, with its last Camry rolling off Australian production lines last year. By 2017, there won't be any cars being made in this country.
The Ford factory at Broadmeadows, as well as the engine plant at Geelong, will close on Friday. A total of 600 employees -- 400 and 200 at the respective facilities -- will be out of work. The Geelong facility opened that year in 1925, as the headquarters of Ford in Australia. On Friday, 91 years on, its doors will close for the final time.
A final group of around 20 vehicles will be finished on Friday. The last Ford vehicle to be produced in Australia is a blue Falcon XR6 sedan. It will be kept as a museum piece.
After 26 years service, today Stuart loses his job, with 579 of his colleagues. Thank you Ford workers for building our cars + our country. pic.twitter.com/OEb8rgof1h— The AMWU (@theamwu) October 6, 2016
Criticisms have been made over the closure of the Ford operations, and the planned cuts to the auto industry at large. There had been loud, long and consistent calls for the government to prop up the industry with incentives, tax breaks, public funding and more, but all to no avail.
Once the closures were inevitable, the calls turned to support for the sacked workers and the wider industries to be affected by the closures. In a release on Friday, Labor called for a new jobs plan to help those workers, and claimed "up to 40,000 jobs may end up being lost across the manufacturing industry".
"It is incumbent on the government to do more to support auto manufacturing businesses in transition and their workers. Labor believes the Turnbull Government should move quickly to ensure retrenched workers are given every support possible for secure new jobs," read a statement from shadow employment minister Brendan O'Connor.
Sad day today with Ford producing its last car in Australia after nearly 100 years. Tough day for many workers and their families— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) October 6, 2016
Ford will reportedly continue operations in Australia, with product development, research and parts sales to carry on. But the last Ford car has been rolled off the production line in Australia.