Foy family’s Holden roots

Former Holden worker John Foy. 164864_08

By Danielle Kutchel

Working at General Motors in Dandenong was a good job for a young lad like John Foy.

The long-time Narre Warren North resident worked in the factory for four years in the early 1960s as a spray painter.

Each day he would travel from Clayton to General Motors Station in Dandenong for his shift, as he didn’t have a car when he first started the job.

“Having a house was more important than having a car … I put all my money into having a house, not wasting my money on motor vehicles!” he quipped.

The spray painting job was ideal for Mr Foy as it allowed him to work seven days a week when he wanted to.

There was plenty of overtime too which helped him get set up financially.

His role came to an end though when Holden workers went on strike.

“They were out of work for a month, and when you’ve got a family and mouths to feed you can’t be out of work for that much time, so I went hunting for a new job,” Mr Foy explained.

“I never went back to GM.”

Following the announcement of Holden’s exit from Australia on Monday 17 February, Mr Foy told the Journal that Holden was, in a way, “an Australian icon”.

He still owns a 1972 Holden which he hopes to one day get on the road again.

But that’s not his only connection to General Motors.

The factory was actually built on Mr Foy’s grandfather’s farm.

The dairy farm used to stretch from where the freeway meets the highway, along the highway to Eumemmerring Creek.

Grandfather Foy also had land on the south side of the railway line.

A driveway led straight to the house, with the dairy down the back, and, despite all the change and upheaval in the area over several decades, Mr Foy said a big gum tree which once stood sentry at the entrance to the farm is still there.

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