Tucked away in Building 5, 23 Waymouth st, Hamlyn Heights, lies one of Geelong’s hidden treasures. A collection of Ex-Ford employees and ‘pure of heart’ Ford enthusiasts have pooled their passion, knowledge and collectables together to create a plethora of information starting from the birth of Ford, teething years, development years, production years, with some of the company’s ‘first of the production vehicles’ on display.
Lindsay is one of the most passionate and knowledgeable Ford men that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
As an only child from humble beginnings, Lindsay lived in Melbourne where he built Billy carts with the neighbourhood kids, creating and designing, racing and modifying them to create the fastest, most streamlined and greatest death defying machines as they raced from the top of the steepest driveways, along various roads, he became interested in speed and cars. As his thirst for cars increased, he was introduced to drag racing by another student from his local school. This passion would see him frequently attending the famous Victorian Sandown racetrack, now he was getting heavily invested into racing.
Lindsay’s education at Morabbin-Highet High School planted the seeds for Mechanical Engineering which he pursued at the Caulfield Institute of Technology, later becoming Monash University (Caulfield campus). University seemed to be a congregation point where other car enthusiasts were able to pursue, create, streamline and expand their passion and ideas.
Three such minds designed a hydraulic-ram that was filled with viscous fluid that was fitted to an old Woolsley’s bumper. In the middle courtyard of the Uni, these three enthusiastic minds decided to place a solid concrete block, attach and pull ropes on either side of the car and with the aid of another car, they slingshot it toward the block at 10km/h to determine if the hydraulic-ram would give them results that would clarify their ideas. The experimental frontal collision device worked reasonably well, the impact didn’t damage the car too much. However, there was so much pressure now built up inside the bumper, that the once contained fluid blew out, taking off the top of the ram spewing silicon fluid everywhere, engulfing the only video evidence of the experiment with the camera thoroughly destroyed in the ensuing mayhem.
Whilst still at Uni, Lindsay applied for employment with every car company he could – but had his sights set on the Ford Graduate Training Program. With only 15-20 interns taken in nationally per year to become part of Fords Management team, Lindsay secured a place at the Broadmeadows facility. He borrowed his uncles car, drove to the office to sign his life away when the Receptionist called for ‘Lindsay Mole’ to answer a phone call – the GM of Holden was also offering him a position! Deep in his heart he knew he belonged to the Holden family – where the SS Holden (early model) and many other Holden posters had adorned his walls since he was an adolescent teen.
But Ford won this battle so in 1976 he started at the Geelong plant as a Development Engineer in the Product Engineering building where in 2017 he retired as a Senior Development Engineer.
Over the years Lindsay has been a part of numerous creations, modifications, experimental and fundamental creations and modifications which have become the foundation and expectation in todays Ford models.
When Lindsay retired in 2017, he became an integral part of creating, combining, cataloguing and restoring motoring memorabilia for The Geelong Motoring Museum and Industry. The Geelong Museum of Motoring and Industry then moved to its current location in Herne Hill but with the sheer number of exhibits on display, is beginning to outgrow this current residence.
The museums’ humble beginnings started out with it’s historic cars being stored at the Corio Distillery, then moving to the Ford Discovery Centre in the Geelong town centre, closing in 2012, when three enthusiasts gathered the collection and with Fords blessing, moved everything including the kitchen sink, to Mackie Street in North Geelong. In 2018 two of the founding members passed away with one of the original founders still having an interrgal input up to this day.
The Ford Archival Centre which is in Broadmeadows and run by an historian-Michelle Cooke, who is working together with Lindsay to link artefacts that tell stories from the archives to cars on display in the museum. There are opportunities to link material to Deakin University and the Geelong Heritage Centre to verify findings and give more information.
Currently there are tours available to show the layman what’s in the Museum. The volunteers are in the process of creating more detailed tours which will expand on the current information provided with more factual expression and interactive opportunities involving the displays. In the future, headset tours along with interactive manipulations of the displays are all in the pipeline.
There are connections with the Henry Ford museum in America with the actual desk that Henry Ford used on display at the Geelong Museum having been donated by his grandson. The first car built out of Broadmeadows in Australia is on display, along with the last car off the production line of Broadmeadows. These cars are priceless as the compliance plates are stamped in their original detail. There are ex-prototype cars such as the Territory, an old BA Falcon which has been modified, test cars, late ’80 and ‘90s cars, a design, modification and build of an old ute which was built by apprentices also on display. Other cars have been donated or stored by collectors in the museum. A couple of months ago a lady visited, saw a beautiful Chev which belonged to her Father who never allowed her to sit in it as a child. Needless to say, there is a photo of her in her Fathers car-sitting proudly on her mantle. There are opportunities for events to be run with catering for car buffs and clubs who can take full advantage of this wonderful venue.
In the next few months, with the aid of expert ex-welders and employees from Fords production line, a grant from the Australian Government has enabled a 1961 Anglier to be purchased and rebuilt in conjunction with Western Heights students to recreate the flying car from Harry Potter.
There are plans to heritage list the collection so it cannot ever be sold or dismantled. Sourcing and donations of larger trucks – B Model Ford, and others are in the pipework’s which means larger display properties and opportunities need to be sourced. Motorbikes are on the agenda as another display and information section to expand the motoring experience for the public in the future.
This amazing Motoring resource relies on its volunteers, donations, sponsorship and customers.
ENTERANCE FEE is $15 for Adults, with $10 concessions, along with group discounts, discounts for seniors, school children and bus tours, carers are free with paying clients.
If you would like a tour simply call or drop in.
Story: Sally Smith Photos: Supplied