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Roland Hill’s Oldsmobile Arrives Back In Traralgon

A 1903 Oldsmobile bequeathed to the Traralgon and District Historical Society and the citizens of Traralgon in 1966 has finally been fully restored.

By Latrobe City Council - 23rd October 2001 - Back to News

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A 1903 Oldsmobile bequeathed to the Traralgon and District Historical Society and the citizens of Traralgon in 1966 has finally been fully restored, and is currently being displayed in the glass viewing area at the RACV building, Kay Street, Traralgon.

Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Brendan Jenkins, said the Oldsmobile had belonged to Roland Hill, who owned and operated the General Motors Holden dealership in Hotham Street and a similar business in Sale.

“Faced with a daunting task of restoration, the Historical Society called for municipal help,” Cr Jenkins said.

“The vehicle had been stored at Mr Clarrie Needham’s home at Paynesville for many years. After a Management Committee was formed the Oldsmobile was brought back to Traralgon and stored in the City’s workshop and stores depot in Dunbar Road.

“Four years ago, Latrobe City as the successor to the former Traralgon municipalities began the restoration of this fascinating vehicle,” Cr Jenkins said.

“The vehicle was finally completed after hours of work. Some parts were unavailable so they were hand-made by the restorers, Bill Formby and David Dryden. The vehicle remains 98% original.

“Latrobe City, along with anonymous sponsors has contributed to the project which has taken four years to complete. Mr Formby has donated a considerable amount of time through chasing parts in America on our behalf whilst visiting there, and his dedication to the project has ensured it was completed,” Cr Jenkins said.

Mr Formby said the task had been an enjoyable experience, one he would gladly take on again. “Many parts of the vehicle were in extremely good condition for a vehicle of that age, even the timber work. David Dryden restored the timber work and did an incredible job of creating intricate pieces to match the originals. Without his help I would never have been able to complete the work,” Mr Formby said.

The vehicle will be on display in the cabinet until Saturday 3 November, when it will be taken to the Traralgon Racing Club’s Transport Industry Day race meeting.

“There will be a race named after the car, the ‘Roland Hill Latrobe City Oldsmobile Class 4 Handicap’. Prior to the running of the race it will be paraded along with several other classic vehicles as well as the Gold 150 pack horses,” Cr Jenkins said.

Cr Jenkins said the vehicle would be returned to the glass cabinet for people to view until Traralgon Cup Eve, when it would be displayed in the parade.

“Suitable long-term storage options are being investigated so it can be enjoyed by Latrobe citizens. In the meantime it will be stored at Drouin and will be making several appearances at public functions and in the RACV display case through out the year,” Cr Jenkins added.


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