The city of Elizabeth in South Australia has, for many years, had a reputation as a welfare town and a tough place in which to grow up. With the imminent closure of General Motors Holden (GMH) in an environment of already high unemployment there are, understandably, grave concerns for the city’s future.
Having grown up in Elizabeth, I share these concerns.
The State Government established Elizabeth during the period of the ‘populate or perish’ policies of the Australian Government in the 1950s. The GMH plant, along with other manufacturers, was the centrepiece and raison d’etre for Elizabeth’s existence, providing employment and a new life in a new country for thousands of post-war migrants.
There is little positive in the fact that GMH intends to close down operations in Elizabeth by 2017, but it does put Elizabeth in the news and is making people aware of the deep problems facing the city and, by extension, South Australia.
‘Transitions’ is a multi-format project that will include a book, in both hard copy and e-book form, exhibitions and an interactive website where people can add their own stories, comment, keep up to date with the exhibitions and anything else relating to the project, and buy the book.
While the closure of GMH is of great concern, the story I want to tell won’t necessarily be one of despair. Different people are coming to terms with this transition in different ways. Searching for signs of hope for the future will be an integral part of the narrative.
Eric Algra ©2016