Featuring the Holden FE Station Wagon of John
for a versatile family vehicle led to the development of the
Aussie station wagon
to walking, riding in the back of a ute was good enough for Australians
before World War 2. But after the war there was enormous social pressure
on Australian families to populate every remote corner of the nation or
risk losing it.
The wartime brush with the
Japanese in the Northern Territory when Darwin was bombed was too close
for comfort, and the fear of the ’Yellow Peril’ sweeping across our
wide open land became a national paranoia.
It sparked a frenzied
construction boom that touched every corner of the nation. Young Aussies
were encouraged to pair up and produce children, and so the ’baby boom’
was on its way.
To feed multiple mouths, Aussie
war survivors and migrants were forced to become resourceful, often
building their own houses and working odd jobs on the weekends to
capitalise on a huge labour shortage. The relatively small boot of the
first holden struggled to swallow a Victa and you couldn’t build
a house with what you could carry on its short roof. A ute’s
limitations were painfully obvious by the time child number two was on
The market was ripe for a new style of vehicle. Early US wagons
were magnificent affairs with ash and mahogany, but they were
workhorses. They originated as guest vehicles for country clubs,
estates and resorts when the masses still travelled by train and
had to be met at the station, hence the name ’station’ wagon.
Their high square rear sections had to swallow hat-wearing rear
seat passengers and luggage.
The British did something
similar. Called estates or shooting brakes, the emphasis was on
carrying guns and dogs for the aristocracy.