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EJ Holden Special station wagon in two pieces, from the television documentary series The Bush Mechanics


EJ Holden Special station wagon in two pieces, from the television documentary series The Bush Mechanics

Object information


Released 31/7/62 for 1051 pounds for the Standard Sedan. 154811 vehicles were sold up until 26 August 1963 when the EJ was replaced with the EH. Had a top speed of 82mph.

Born in the bush at MT Doreen Station on Warlpiri land near Yuendumu at a place called Luurnpakurlangu, Francis' parents were from two different Warlpiri tribes.
Francis had an early interest in mechanics (see picture from 'Yuendumu Haru' magazine cira 1970s). Francis worked as a nurse for Northern Territory Health and wasa Local Council Supervisor before he became Community Advisor to the Local Government Minister's Indigenous Commissioner of Lands and Housing. Francis was later elected as Yuendumu Local Government Council President.
Francis began his work in media in 1984 when he initiated the Yuendumu Television Project with Eric Michaels. He continued this work, including many videos and regional training, unit retirement in 1988 when Francis decided to 'finish for respect to Kumanjayi', when Michael passed away.
It was Francis and then Manager Tom Kantor who came up with original idea of portraying Bush Mechanics on film. David Batty, who has worked on the award winning Manyu Wana series, was brought in to co-direct the original episode with Francis. After the success of the original episode, Francis co-directed the serise with enthusiasm and involved many members of Yuendumu community. It was also with Francis' direction that this website was created.
If you want to learn more about Francis you can visit the Warlpiri Media website or you will find several stories on this site.

Physical description

An EJ Holden station wagon. The car is in two parts, with the roof having been separated from the body. The car is generally in bad condition and the interior is covered in red dirt. The light blue paint on the body of the car is faded and powdery. The doors have all been removed except for the one on the driver's side. The panel above the front wheel on the proper right-hand side of the car is missing. Black and white number plates on the front and back of the car read 'WHW 976 / SA The Festival State'. The roof section is painted white and has a large rust patch in the centre where it was scaped along the ground as a result of being used as a trailer.

Statement of significance

This car was sought for purchase from Francis Jupurrula Kelly to be featured in Extremes, a temporary exhibition in 2004. Jupurrula Kelly was the owner of the car and the co-director of the television series Bush Mechanics, in which the car featured.

This EJ Holden station wagon is central to stories about contemporary and traditional Aboriginal culture, vehicles, travelling the desert, and maintaining links between Indigenous communities. It's importance lies in the ability the vehicle has to help portray contemprary life in remote Aboriginal communities, where the challenges faced seem not to be insurmountable. It serves to highlight the inventiveness, determination and skill of these young 'bush mechanics' as they travel through the Central Australian desert, providing positive life models and a familiarity for Indigenous viewers, and positive images of Indigenous peoples and their culture for a wider audience.

Object information

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