The Holden Company in Australia

J.A. Holden & Co was first established in Australia in 1856 by James Holden as a leather and saddlery business. Henry Adolph Frost joined as a business partner in 1885, and the company was renamed Holden & Frost Ltd. Motor vehicle bodies were produced by the company in 1905. By 1917 Holden’s Motor Body Builders had been established and by the 1920s grew to be one of the biggest car body manufacturers in the British Empire. Following the devastating effects of the Great Depression, the American company General Motors purchased the Australian company in 1931 and formed the locally- based General Motors-

Holden’s Ltd. With the backing of the Federal Government of Australia and parent company General Motors, GM-H went on to release The Holden (48-215) in November 1948, widely considered and advertised as Australia’s Own Car.

The history of Holden in Australia is an important aspect of the country’s vehicle manufacturing history. The National Motor Museum is seeking any information, photographs, documents or brochures relating to any of the various Holden companies’ workshops or manufacturing plants, particularly in South Australia, since 1856. If you are able to help and are willing to donate any material, or loan for the purposes of digitisation, we would be keen to hear from you. Please email the Museum at or by phone on 08 8568 4000.