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Oh what a family feeling

Isn’t it amazing the things you learn about your own family when you least expect it?

Like when I found out today that my dad once worked on the assembly line for Toyota here in Australia back in the 70s.

Being a car fanatic, how did I not know this? And how did he never tell me this?…

Now I knew a fair but of my dad’s history until his untimely passing in 1997 – from being a hospital orderly to working in a bottle shop, putting a Mk1 Escort upside down in a ditch in his amateur rallying days, working his way up from being a wine sales rep to being a trailblazing wine and spirits journalist…

But this stint on the assembly line is news to me – and to my younger brother too, who shared the update with me today via text. He found this out after a conversation about dad’s work history when they moved to Melbourne – before the bottle shop, he worked out of the assembly plant.

Now originally I thought it would have been the Toyota plant in Altona North but according to Wikipedia Toyota only started building engines there back in 1978 and my parents moved to the region a few years earlier (1974) which means that dad would have worked at a stint at Toyota Australia’s original plant in Port Melbourne.

So what was he helping to build?

While the Port Melbourne plant was originally bought by Toyota to assemble the Toyota Tiara back in 1963, production on the Tiara ceased in 1969. So he didn’t have a hand bolting together any of these things then:

Toyota Tiara

However there’s the possibility that in 1974 he would have been working on something like the Toyota Corolla KE30R:

Or maybe he worked on the the Toyota Corona which was also assembled in Port Melbourne?

Of course while Toyota had a major stake in the plant, a lot of other cars were being assembled there and according to this fantastic article from Australiaforeveryone.com.au, Dad might have even had a hand in helping churn out an AMC Matador!

Of course with details being sparse (and not having the chance to ask the man himself) I have no idea if he was walking around with a rivet gun during his time there or just a coffee cup, attempting to look busy. And since the Toyota side of things moved from that building circa 1994, the chance of finding any record of him being there back in the mid 70’s are slim to none.

(I’d like to think that being as mischievous as he was that there’s a couple of 70’s Corollas somewhere in the country that he’s graffitied behind a door panel or something and nobody has found it yet…)

Still, great to learn a little more history of my old man. Can’t wait to find out what I’ll learn next 🙂

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