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MY17 Commodore specifications released

Holden has saved the best until last for its final year of locally produced Commodore, combining high-tech features with exceptional customer value and the dynamic performance Commodore has built its reputation on over the past 38 years.

Holden Director – Communications, Sean Poppitt, said the 2017 Commodore honoured the attributes that have elevated it to be one of Australia’s most loved cars, whilst hinting at the exciting, technology focus the next-generation will offer.

See the changes and new pricing here.

Our March 1st Lunch

 President Bill Hooper was unavailable for this meeting, so Treasurer Neil Pogson took the microphone and noted that the attendance of 132 members was the highest since June 2012.

Neil welcomed all members and guests, and particularly our speaker, Kevin Wale.   Kevin is well known to many of you as Holden's Director of Finance in the mid-1980s  and later in 1993 , Director of Sales and Marketing.

But he went on to have a brilliant career in Vauxhall and more particularly, China, and his presentation is about his China experiences. 

Neil moved on to welcome some new members: 

Philip Dunn

Warranty  F/B


Joe Moretti

Manufacturing  F/B


Richard Saleh

Manufacturing  F/B


Mark Cook



A warm welcome was extended to these new members.

Sadly we also needed to acknowledge the passing of some old workmates

Bill Fitzgerald, Plant Engineering, FB


Ronald Heath, QC, FB. October 2016.  Joined 1944, retired 1979 and was 100 years old.

Vin McDonald, Materials Control, FB and Elizabeth.  


Members stood for the customary one minute’s silence for our departed friends.

Our excellent Lunch followed - Chicken Kiev or Rack of Lamb, followed by Double Chocolate Mudcake or Lemon Merangue tart.

After Lunch, Neil introduced our speaker, Kevin Wale. Kevin’s experience is extensive in several GM operations, so Neil focussed mainly on Kevin’s time in China. 


Kevin WaleKevin is obviously well credentialed to give us an authorative account of the China Auto industry.

Kevin’s slide pack is available as a pdf file, as is (in a first for HRC), a voice recording of his presentation!

    Click here to open Slides.       Click here for mp3 Voice file

 The question and answer session was very lengthy and gave us some more insights into the Auto industry as seen from China.  Neil thanked Kevin for the frank and open presentation and responses to questions from the floor. 

(Editors note:  We would be pleased to receive some feedback about the usefullness of the voice file.  Did you listen to it?  While following on the slide pack? Is the quality of the recording acceptable? It is known that the first sentence was partially missed.)

As usual, Kevin was presented with a small token of our thanks, and received a warm round of applause for his excellent presentation.


There were a number of items of general business:

- Members were reminded that the offer to enable Retirees to purchase MY17 Commodore vehicles at their usual discount price, expires on 31st March.  It was necessary to follow this approach as outlined in the leaflet emailed to members in January (and on the website) to avoid paying the inflated prices being quoted by some Dealers.  The pool of cars for Retirees is limited, so it is first in, best dressed !

 Just before the Lunch, CVO provided the following update on availability:

The Caprice is all gone but the others are still going ok.It is likely that utes and V8s could become the next problem.”

So, members need to get their orders in as quickly as possible,  The pool of cars for Retirees is limited, so it is first in, best dressed!

-  The above is yet another example why it is essential that if members have access to an email address, they should make sure that it is registered with the Club.  Maybe a relative or close friend will allow you to use theirs, if you do not have one of your own.  Email is the fastest and easiest way to quickly disseminate information to all the members.  You can still receive your Newsletter by post, if that is your preference.

-  The Treasurer has made some enquiries on behalf of members about the discount arrangements for Retirees once Commodore ceases production.  The following response was received from CVO:  

"It is too early to say what the discounts will be because the discounts already change every month on the basis of competitive actions, model runouts, Holden initiatives to push certain car lines and address stock levels … and so on. No-one know can predict where this will lead us in November 2017 and beyond. 

I am confident however that the end of manufacturing will have little or no impact on the available discounts to retirees on imported vehicle purchases. The discounts on the imported models will continue to ebb and flow as before. Holden views the retiree community as a valuable stakeholder in the business going forward. And recent momentum in relation to new vehicle discounts for retirees (now eligible for up to 4 new vehicles per annum and extended family members also eligible) as well as ex Holden staff with 5 years’ service being eligible for new vehicle discounts suggests that Holden is expanding the cohort eligible for discounted new vehicle sales!"


-  The Club has made our annual charitable donations of excess funds.  This year, $2,000 has been shared equally between:

Leukaemia Foundation

Royal Flying Doctor

Diabetes Aust

Prostate Cancer foundation

Alzheimers Australia

-  Neil mentioned the Magazines available on our website, and said that he thought that we had had a representative collection of every Plant magazine issued in Holden.  However, he has just come across a previously unknown magazine, “Foundry News”.  It started in October 1983 and was still being issued in December 1989 at least. The distribution was only 65 issues in 1983, and had risen to 95 in 1986, so it had limited distribution.   If anyone has any copies of Foundry News, Neil would like to borrow them for scanning and return.

- This time Holden has been kind enough to provide a new, just released Astra 4 door Sedan for your inspection. The Astra won the 2016 European car of The Year award, so is certainly worth looking at!  It will be parked at the foot of the steps as you leave, so please take a few minutes to look it over.

The Treasurer then drew the Lucky Door prizes, with prizes provided by Holden, for which we thank them. 

Neil thanked all for attending, and closed the meeting at 3:45 PM.

 The next meeting will be on Thursday, 1st June 2017. We look forward to seeing you there -  let’s make it another record attendance!

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ANZAC Day in Dakar: The final chapter – Senegal’s own ANZAC

 You may recall from previous editions of the HRC newsletter that earlier this year, two representatives from the Australian High Commission in Ghana flew to Dakar in Senegal to attend the ANZAC Day dawn service. As they are such a small Australian and New Zealand community in Dakar, they were delighted to welcome them … and intrigued when the diplomats said that they had heard there were ANZACs buried in Senegal.

Chasing this information, Louisa Gibbs and her friends learned from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that indeed there is one sole Australian laid to rest in Dakar.
This the last chapter in a remarkable story of the efforts of one Australian woman to have ANZAC Day Commemorations held in Dakar, West Africa.  

Click here to read of the location and  pilgrimage to the grave of the only ANZAC buried in Senegal.


If you missed the earlier chapters, here is the last issue, telling of the 2016 Commemoration. 

Some reflections and Holden connections  by Louisa Gibbs

Shortly after Anzac Day 2015, we published a letter from HRC member Roger Gibbs telling how his daughter, Louisa, realising that there was no Anzac Day service where she was resident in Senegal, set about arranging one.  It proved to be highly successful and attracted support from Embassies and Ex-Pats alike.

As Anzac Day approached again this year, Louisa was asked by many "what were they doing to mark the day this year?", so Louisa once again flew into action and organised another Service, with possibly even more support and even greater success than last year.

Roger has provided this description of the event written by Louisa, which makes extraordinary reading.

Click Here to read about this remarkable eventshowing what determination and drive can achieve.

The Story of the First Anzac Service in 2015 can also be seen here.



Gold Coast Group.

The Gold Coast Holden Retiree lunch on 1st March was held at Carmody’s Restaurant within the Sharks Club . If there are others who would like to attend at future lunches, just call Ted Bryant 0428123206.

Pictured L-R: Rod Alford, Garry Newsome, Graeme Coverdale, John Ashmore, Lee Broomhall, Ted Bryant, Garry Dryden, Bevan Rawson.


March 17 Custom


Thanks to Ted Bryant for the information.  For the benefit of his many friends, we advise that Ted has now relocated to the Runway Bay area in Queensland! Ted is available if anyone from that area needs a ride to the Lunch.