National Library of Australia

Teachers notes: The Holden car


A student:

  • makes suitable choices about when and which of the four number operations (+, −, x, and ÷) to use.
  • uses a variety of ways to calculate mentally involving both exact and approximate answers.
  • adds and subtracts numbers having the same number of decimal places, multiplies and divides whole numbers and decimals by single digit numbers when working with numbers, money and measurement.
  • uses a calculator to carry out tasks using decimals and when more than one operation is needed.


A student:

  • selects appropriate attributes and units to describe and compare objects, e.g. compares capacity not height.
  • measures and makes things using conventional units and measuring equipment—paying attention to measuring length, mass, capacity and angle.

Chance and Data

A student:

  • uses numerical and other information to place things in order of least likely to most likely to happen.
  • collaborates in deciding what data is to be collected and assists in its collection.
  • experiments with organising and showing data in forms that help to answer questions: diagrams, tables and bar graphs.
  • summarises data using simple fractions, highest and lowest and middle scores and comments that ‘the thumbtack fell on its side about two-thirds of the time’.

The Holden has become part of the Australian experience. In the 1950s and 1960s, it captured the market and the public’s imagination—at one stage, one car in three on Australian roads was a Holden.


  • The EH Holden was Australia’s fastest selling car of all time. It sold 250 000 in 18 months. How many EH Holdens were sold each month?
  • How old is the EH Holden now?
  • What is the difference in price between the top of the range Premier Station $3018 in the mid 1950s and the Commodore Berlina today at $49 500.
  • If the Holden Company originated in 1856 in Adelaide, how old is the Holden Company today?
  • If James Alexander Holden was 19 years old in 1856, what year was he born in?
  • The EH boasted a choice of two new engines, the 149 cubic inch and 179 cubic inch models, nicknamed the red motors after the colour of the block. If 1 cubic inch = 16.38 cubic centimetres, how big were the engines in cubic centimetres?
  • Name some of the safety features included in cars today that were not available in cars made in the 1950s and 1960s. Why are these features important now?


  • Do a survey: count the number of cars that pass by your school for a half hour period and record how many of these are Australian made cars. Calculate the ratio of Australian made cars to others on the road at any given time.