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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

25 August 2004

Heritage in the fast lane

The car that heralded the birth of Australia's car industry, the Holden No.1 Prototype, motors into the National Museum of Australia collection today with the assistance of $150,000 from the National Cultural Heritage Account, announced the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.

"This is an outstanding and rare piece, not only of Australia's motoring history, but also as a testament to the country's post-war economic development," Senator Campbell said.

"Originally built in Detroit in 1946, the No.1 Prototype is the only one of the three handbuilt prototypes imported into Australia to survive today. Its construction heralded the birth of Australia's car industry as it was the model for the popular Holden FX that first rolled off the assembly line in 1948.

"The Holden prototype was built to Australian specifications by a team of top Australian and American engineers as part of General-Motors Holden's (GMH)'Australian project' and is unique to this country.

"Cars made from the prototype were only constructed in Australia and quickly became the nation's definitive 'family car', renowned for its value for money, reliability and appearance. More than 18,000 people ordered a Holden, sight unseen, before the first models were even produced.

"This is a piece of iconic history that will delight not only car buffs but also anyone who is interested in Australia's development after the Second World War.

"I am extremely pleased that with the assistance of the National Cultural Heritage Account, one of Australia's most significant cars will now be held in the national collection and will be available to future generations of Australians," Senator Campbell said.

"The Account helps cultural institutions around the country acquire significant pieces of Australia's cultural heritage for their collection."

The Account is administered by the Department of the Environment and Heritage. It encourages organisations to buy objects that they could not otherwise afford with the intention that they be preserved and made accessible to the public.

Other significant cultural items acquired with the assistance of the Account include:

For more information on the Account visit

Commonwealth of Australia