On the morning of the 17th February, 2020, I heard the announcement that the Holden car would not be manufactured any more.
I was devastated to hear that, more for my father than me.
It was his birthday.
He died in 1978, on the 17th March, and he lived for the motor business, especially the Holden motor car.
His business was his life. I think my father had a love affair with the Holden from the time he took delivery of the first one. He was Australian, and it was an Australian car.
I well remember that day in early 1949 when my father came down from Inverell and took delivery of the new Australian car, the Holden.
How proud he was when he drove it to my mother's flat in Bondi Road.
He was proud, too, to be given the franchise for North West New South Wales; he was an inaugural dealer for the new brand.
The business grew and grew, renowned throughout the state. In time, my three brothers joined the firm, after World War II.
I think it was on that first visit in early 1949, that my father offered my husband a job in Inverell as assistant to his builder of truck bodies. We accepted the offer, and arrived in Inverell on the 23rd July, 1949.
During the war my father took over the business of the Inverell Harvester Company after quite a tussle with General Motors, who manufactured Bedford trucks.
It was for the International trucks that most of the bodies were built.
Over the years, most family members had a Holden. My daughter was given an old Holden for travel to and from university. My son then drove it. My younger son was given a Holden that had belonged to my uncle.
There have been many changes since then. My brothers have died, and there were two grandsons left in the business and they sold it.
It's a funny thing, I suppose, one generation starts a business, the second improves it, and the third sells it.
This has happened to three well-known businesses in Inverell: a haberdashery shop; a general store; and the motor dealership, which now has several franchises.
In 1960 it was time to get my licence.
My husband, Laurie, arranged for me to have the test as 'just a friendly drive', and I know, now, it wasn't the usual test.
I was not tested for a hill stop and start, nor did I answer any questions, or do any parking moves.
It was just a relaxed drive around town, and I got my licence.
It was a gesture to the wife of a friend, but not a wise one.
I learnt to drive in the shop Holden ute, and, after I was licensed, usually drove a Holden station wagon from the used-car lot. I always had a stroller for the current small child, so needed a good storage space for the drive back and forth.
In great excitement, I told my father I had a licence, and I will never forget his dour response. "Just because you have a licence doesn't mean you can drive."
These words were proved true a few weeks later when I drove the shop ute downtown to buy some fish and chips - the usual fare for a Friday.
Coming home, I was caught up in the rush hour, although that is not an apt description for traffic in a country town.
I had to stop at the top of the hill to allow the cross-traffic to go through. To a cacophony of car horns, I felt the ute slip back. I didn't know what to do.
I hadn't been shown how to ride the clutch or use the hand brake.
A miracle happened, and my brother was at the car door. He said, "Move over", through the open window.
I slid across the bench seat to the passenger side as Bernie flung open the driver's door, and settled into the seat to take control. I breathed a silent prayer of thanks.
I now believe I had a 'sham' licence. Totally legal, of course.
We didn't talk about it, but I surmise that Bernie saw the ute with its distinctive colouring of green and cream, assessed the situation, quickly parked his own car and came to assist.
By this time the cross-traffic had ceased. The right-turn was made and I was driven home.
I wonder if it would have been a domino effect if the ute had hit the car behind, and so on-doesn't bear thinking about. I don't know if my father heard of the episode, but nothing was ever said.
My eldest brother, Jack, became the Sydney agent for my father's business when he left Inverell.
He would organise the paperwork for each delivery, and someone from Inverell would take delivery of the car-generally a Holden-from his home in Coogee, and ferry it back to Inverell.
Every time a new Holden model was released, there would be a great fanfare in the Inverell showroom of F. Gaukroger & Sons.
The windows would be shrouded and opened with a flourish at the appointed time for the crowd outside. I am sure that my father personally bought every new model that was released, ending with a Holden Statesman that he drove until he died in 1978.
It was a beautiful car, and my husband and I were fortunate to buy it.
Two family members had an on-going argument as to which was the best car- Holden or Ford.
This feud became quite active during the Mount Panorama circuit race; text messages back and forth; and grudging congratulations to the winner. Holden had thirty wins to Ford's twenty.
In 1968 I was given my first car-a green Torana. I couldn't believe it. I had my own car. In those days cars were traded every two years, and the next car was another Torana- a white six-cylinder this time.
Then it was time to trade that one in. I remember my sons urging me, "Get a four on the floor, Mum".
I didn't know what a 'four on the floor' was. The new car was a gold Torana, with the coveted four on the floor, and I believe my sons had some wild rides in it.
Such a lot has happened since that day in 1949. The Holden became part of our family and it will be missed from our culture by so many.