As the thread at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/363636.html?1369298416 mentions, Ford Australia has announced it will cease automobile production. They also mention that Ford Australia will continue to have some personnel doing research and development as well as supporting dealer networks etc. I would like to find some folks that could investigate and find out if the Ford Australia Historical records from 1925-end of Model T production can be obtained. And partnering with other folks and groups may uncover enough interest to try and obtain 1928-42 Ford Historical documents also.
Step 1 – Someone who has a heart for this and is close enough to make some visits etc.
Step 2 – Forming a team to figure out a good way ahead.
a. If Ford AU is willing to continue to maintain the documents rather than toss them to save storage cost then develop a plan to make them available. I believe they still exist but access to them is very restricted – usually does not happen.
b. If Ford AU is planning to toss/shred the documents – develop a plan to have them photographed or scanned etc. and archived in another location or better yet locations. I.e. if one building has everything and is destroyed by natural disaster etc. it would be nice if there were some electronic versions in other locations. Perhaps the National Library or another available group would be willing to host the storage and making them available.
c. What happens to the early files is probably not really high on Ford AU’s priority list. But once the information on the Model T Fords is gone -- generations in the future will not have access to it.
Step 3 – It won’t be easy (if it was someone would have already done it). It probably would be easier for Ford AU to shred the stuff but I believe a “win-win” can be worked out so some of the data can be rescued without having data that might be seen in a bad light used negatively against Ford (which I believe would be one of Ford’s concerns).
Why do I think some data still exits at Ford AU? Because of the John’s posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/354607.html?1366158401 where he says: The guy at the Ford museum in Geelong found out for me that body A490 was made March/April 1926.
However, the first advertising for this model seems to be a little later. The ad here is from June 1926.
Also: Because the information at: http://www.forddiscovery.com.au/ about the Ford Discovery Center closing in Jun 2012 mentioned the Ford Australia records being available. At: http://www.forddiscovery.com/heritage/ford-archives.htm it says:
Q: Can I contact Ford Archives?
A: Not directly. The Ford Australia Company Archive department is an internal department that assists the Company, Ford Customer Relations Centre and the Ford Discovery Centre in collating information. The Archive department is not directly accessible to the public and we encourage you to submit your enquiry to Ford CRC
Submit enquiry as noted above to Ford CRC
Ford Customer Relationship Centre
Fax: 03 9929 3175
Warwick mentioned at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/170162.html “The Victorian Model T Club has great relations with the Ford Discovery Centre (Ford Museum) in Geelong.” Perhaps they have someone who is available and would like to do it?
Of course anyone who would type this long of a post about why we should try to make sure the Model T documents survive probably is a candidate to support the project also. But in general having someone local who is tactful and respected would make the job easier to accomplish. If you are interested in pursuing this or have additional information to add etc. please let us know.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Thank you so much for making that suggestion, Hap. I for one would pledge to do what I can from New Zealand but I think your suggestion of someone who is local (and respected/known) is clearly sensible.
I am a little out of touch with Ford - NZ these days but, if it would help this cause, I would be happy to re-establish contact with them. Ford - NZ answers to Ford - Australia (who in turn answers to Ford - Asia/Pacific).
A few years ago (2006) when Ford - NZ underwent "re-structuring", I was made aware that what there was in the Ford archive here would be sent either to Geelong or to Detroit. This gives hope that Ford - Australia would act similarly. Ford - Australia may also have more of a sense of the value of the past than elsewhere in the Ford organisation, and I cite the Discovery Centre as evidence of that. There will be a good number of troops, I should imagine, who will be already impassioned to assist such a cause if need be.
Roger Gardner (historian for The Colonial Motor Co here in NZ) and I have also talked casually about forming a trust here in NZ for the preservation of Ford documentation and ephemera for future generations and researchers. So there may be trans Tasman links here. We also have contact with a very influential ex-Ford NZ man who does consultancy work for Ford Asia Pacific, and he is just as impassioned about Ford's history as we all are.
As said, if we can help, we'll do what we can.
Hap, I have sent you an Email. This will bump this to the top as well. Regards, john
Thank you so much for being willing to check into this – I sent you a reply e-mail also. There have been so many things like the 1906-1908 Model N,R,S&SR floor mats that have "disappeared" because no one thought to check on them early enough. In the case of the floor mats they were a real slow seller. So when they finally were all sold and the vendor went to order more there were not any more to order. And the company that had the molds had been sold out to another company. And by the time we found out about it and contacted the new company that mold was gone. We want to help as much as possible to ensure none of the important Ford Australia documents accidently disappear during the transition.
Again thank you and others for their support and help.
Hap l9l5 cut off
I copied Steve's posting below from the thread about Ford Australia ending its manufacturing at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/363636.html?1369317189 to this thread. I think it can provide some additional pieces of the puzzle.
By steve miller- mississauga,ontario on Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 07:40 am:
For Hap --the Ford AU ledgers for 1925 thru 1927 are located at the University of Windsor,
Question for you Steve – do you have a feel for how much of the 1925-1927 Australian ledgers were moved to Windsor? It has been a while since I looked at the University of Windsor Archive “Index” page. Are they listed there? And as mentioned above -- there may be a chance there are other 1925-27 archives still at Ford AU. Hopefully you and/or others can add some clarification on what has moved or has not moved.
Again thank you for your support.
Hap l9l5 cut off
I would not get in a flap about the archives at Ford Australia. From reading the news releases, Ford Australia will remain, importing various models & retaining all the Dealerships etc. There will just be no manufacture of the Falcon, Performance models, Utes & Territory models.
Ford has existed in many countries for a long time without exclusive production in the home market [ eg. New Zealand] & Ford Australia has always shown a respect for the history of the Company in Australia.
You could be correct -- the Australian archives may not be in any danger of being lost. That is why my fourth paragraph started off with option 1:
“a. If Ford AU is willing to continue to maintain the documents rather than toss them to save storage cost then develop a plan to make them available. I believe they still exist but access to them is very restricted – usually does not happen.”
If they are not in any danger of being lost, that would be great. Then as stated above it would be good to investigate how folks could gain easier access to appropriate areas of the archives. I would think working with Ford AU to help make them more accessible would be an appropriate goal. It could be as simple as organizing and providing some volunteer help – to support the research effort. Or it could go as far as developing a team to scan documents so they could be accessed electronically – depending on the interest level and availability of help. In the USA the Model A Ford Foundation worked with volunteers to scan over 100,000 Model A Ford parts diagrams (1928-1931 Model A Fords). In this case they worked with the Benson Ford Archives rather than directly with Ford USA, but the idea is the same – working together we can accomplish more. While the Model A Ford Foundation does not “own” any of the work – they have made it much easier for folks to obtain the Factory Drawings for the Model A Ford parts. For details please see: http://www.maffi.org/My_Homepage_Files/Page9.html for additional details about that 9 year volunteer project. But my limited understanding today is the current Ford Australia archives are not that easy to obtain information from. If anyone has information on a good method for requesting information from the Ford AU archives please let us know. If it isn’t broken we don’t need to try and fix it.
My concern is, I have seen several instances where an organization in the US restructured. And a lot of things were just tossed/shredded. In many cases it was not an intentional “we want to get rid of X, Y, Z but rather the plan didn’t say anything about what to do with X, Y, Z so when it was implemented if it didn’t say “save it” the item was disposed of – either sold or scrapped. I think it would be wise to ensure that Ford Australia has their “Archives” on the “action list to save, relocate, etc.” rather than not having it listed anywhere.
Thank you for your input. I don’t want to imply the “sky is falling” but rather to say it would be good to check the status of the Archives and to offer to work with Ford AU to ensure the information – especially the early Ford information they may have, will remain available for future generations.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Just sent you an e-mail.
When Ford Canada moved its head office from Windsor to Oakville in the early 50's all their records (or they thought) were also moved.
In approximately 1997 additional records were discovered in a Windsor assembly building which were donated to the University of Windsor
If Ford AU intends to close its archives could it be persuaded to donate the material to a university in Australia. This would kept the material local and accessible.
When Ford Canada closed its Oakville archives a few years ago, everything was sent to Ford Archives in Detroit. This archive is not available to the public until such time it is transferred to Benson
Thank you so much. I got your e-mail and the posting above confirms it is a ledger from Ford of Australia. From the link you posted it has:
Accession Number 97-002
Dates of Creation: 1925-1927. - Extent of Descriptive Unit: Textual Material. -Scope and Content: The file contains the ledgers of the monthly statements of the Ford Motor Company of Australia.
I agree with you that it would be nicer if the AU archives could remain in Australia. The key thing I am trying to do is make sure that they do not accidentally disappear. From my days in the military I can say that things can get misplaced if folks are not intentional about keeping up with them.
Again thank you for the e-mail and all your help.
Hap l9l5 cut off
In the Veteran Car Club of South Australia we are fortunate to have a member that is an ex-archivist from the FMCA Archives. I should see him in the next week or two and will definitely express our concerns. I am 100% sure he is already asking the exact same questions as he is one of the head researchers for our National Motor Museum at Birdwood.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Ford archives and material found a home at our National Motor Museum?
As mentioned, The Ford dicovery Centre/Museum was closed as part of cut backs, an early indication that things at Ford were not so good.As part of the closure the staff were made redundant or redeployed elsewhere. I am unsure of our MTFCV club contacts whereabouts now but I will make some enquiries. Thanks for your interest in our Aussie history. I am still getting over the announcement of the announcement of no more manufacturing in Australia. Just like the T's the newer Model Fords have also been a big part of my life.
I contacted Ford Motor Company A/S in Copenhagen to hear if they had any records or archives left. They informed me that it is company policy to only retain what is required by local law (taxation) and the rest is sent to Detroit for further processing. And that is probably not everything - but some (like management correspondence etc.).
Ever since Jay posted this link to the Copenhagen Plant , I have wondered where he was able to locate these pictures? They are an great documentation of the assembly operations in that Plant.
I apologise in advance for the Thread Drift.
Regards, John Page, Australia.
I'm not sure if there was much to save in the archives in Australia. 30 plus years ago Norm Darwin gained access to what was available there at that time, he and the book publisher were mostly interested in later Fords but when they were shown what was available not much was there just a few 1950's photo's.
In those days a journalist could go to the records to find information for a story and no one supervised what they did. The journalists just took whatever notes or photo's they wanted and never bothered to return them. There was little if left to access then so what there might be now is questionable.
Still information does turn up a few year later I took students to the Ford Sydney plant and the publicity officer there who I got to know fairly well found a set of photo's in a cupboard of the factories in all the Australian states being constructed.
The only contact I have since ( except to complain about an issue with one of their car which I owned ) with Ford AU was last year when I contacted their supposed history person who I had a long conversation about the French Report. I then sent her an email and never got a reply.
What needs to be done for all records is to stored at one location and for them to be made available to some of those interested in seeking out the details.
Having been at Richmond in 2008 with Edsel Ford and his son who have a real interest in Model T Fords maybe they can be approached and a solution for us and the Ford Company can be achieved.
IF the 1925-27 monthly ledgers I saw at the University of Windsor was part of a trend, perhaps other records were also sent to Canada ???
I am sure all you Gentlemen are well intentioned with your concerns of the archives at Ford Australia.
Re recent access to the archives, a Model A man in Australia, David Slater, wrote an article that appeared in The Restorer, July,August 2010.
The article is rich in detail of Model A production in Australia from 1928 to 1932, showing numbers of types assembled & finished there, also the odd types imported, obviously to aid their own production program.
It at least shows us that material exists but as in Canada, it may not be open to access in the future.
I think your suggestion to contact Edsel Ford makes huge sense.
Call me naive but a letter penned from someone like yourself - and you can remind him that you met at Richmond - expressing your concerns and perhaps offering to help / making suggestions etc as you think fit / appropriate would carry some weight. If the Aussie Club had a plan that could offer longevity and security that would also carry weight.
Wayne -- Do you happen to remember what is on the cover of the Jul-Aug 2010 "The Restorer"? It will make it easier for me to try and locate the article.
In addition to the Model T information others are interested in preserving and making available the records for the 1928 - and later Ford vehicles. We look forward to working with others as often times things will be filed in the wrong area. For example some 1906-08 Model N,R,S, and SR factory drawings were found mixed in with some early 1932 etc. V-8 parts drawings at the Benson Ford Archives several years ago. By supporting one another we all stand to gain more.
If anyone else knows of additional archive locations or materials, please let us know.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Bottom Line Up Front: It appears that Ford Australia is NOT repeat NOT trying to get rid of their archives. Additional details are reposted below from an e-mail Roger Gardner kindly sent to me. Based on that I still believe option 2a discussed above is worth investigating. I.e. since Ford AU is planning to continue to maintain the documents we should explore how we can work with them to make the information more available to researchers etc. Ford AU is in the process of digitizing some of the documents. So perhaps like the Model A Ford Foundation [http://www.maffi.org/My_Homepage_Files/Page9.html ] worked with the Benson Ford Archives we could help provide volunteers to offer to help digitize the early information? Perhaps we could organize a volunteer group so once a week or month etc. a volunteer worked with Ford AU to help organize, catalogue, and perhaps summarize some of the information. Also to track down answers to Model T or early Ford (1925-48 or something) questions. We did confirm that the archives are planned to be kept – and that was the question I was most concerned about.
Roger Gardner the author of “Ford Ahead – A History of The Colonial Motor Company Limited” that covers Colonial Motor Company from carriage builders to Ford production sent the e-mail below to me:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Below is an E-mail from Roger Gardner +++++
In following your discussion on MTFCA Forum, and believing some of your discussion might be flawed, I decided to ask a contact from my years as NZ Ford Dealer Council Secretary, what the official position was, and here is the reply. At present I cannot get to post it on the Forum, so you Hap, as the originator, may wish to do that:
Ford is not leaving Australia. Ford vehicles have been part of Australia for more than 100 years and we look forward to serving our customers for the next 100 years and beyond.
To better position the company to compete in a highly fragmented and competitive market, Ford will cease local manufacturing in October 2016. Ford will proceed with plans to launch updated versions of the Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory in 2014.
Ford’s presence in Australia will remain significant – with 1500 employees, including 1000 Product Development employees and more than 200 dealers nationwide.
Access to the archives is restricted however the general public can place requests through;
Ford Customer Relationship Centre
Fax: 03 9929 3175
Journalists and authors can request access by applying through Ford Australia Public Affairs.
Otherwise we are attempting to release items of interest through Ford Forums.
In regard to backup, we are gradually digitizing our collection, however it is a slow process.
A short description of the Australia Archives and Ford Archives Mission Statement below.
We hope this answers your questions.
Ford Australia Archives.
The Australian Archives includes material spanning as far back as the early 1920's. This significant collection detailing the history of motor manufacturing in Australia is now located at Ford Motor Company Head Office in Campbellfield. This collection may be the largest and most comprehensive archive of Motor Manufacturing in the region.
The Company Archives serves as a centralized historical information research centre for Ford Motor Company, its employees, contractors, suppliers, agencies and customers.
The unique role that the archives plays is vital in maintaining the integrity and continuity of Ford Motor Company's heritage and values, and enables the company to more fully integrate its rich history into day-to-day business operations.
Frequent users of the archive services include Public Affairs; the Office of the General Counsel; Marketing, Sales and Service; Customer Relationship Centre, New Markets and Associations; and various affiliates and business partners developing advertising campaigns and other company communications with the public.
As resources permit, the archives team serves individuals outside the company who have an interest in Ford Motor Company history, including vehicle enthusiasts, the media (through designated Public Affairs contacts), authors, video/film producers and a wide range of researchers, scholars and students.
The archives acquires and preserves significant company materials - including paper, audiovisual and electronic records - that document the history of the company and of its products, subsidiaries, employees, plants and policies.
Ford Archives Mission Statement.
The Ford Motor Company Archives Mission Statement
The Ford Motor Company Archives serves as a centralized historical information research centre for Ford Motor Company, its employees, contractors, suppliers, agencies and customers. The unique role that the archives plays is vital in maintaining the integrity and continuity of Ford Motor Company's heritage and values, and enables the company to more fully integrate its rich history into day-to-day business operations.
What the Archives Does
The archives team accomplishes its mission by acquiring, preserving and providing information from significant company materials - including paper, audiovisual and electronic records - that document the history of the company and of its products, subsidiaries, employees, plants and policies. The archives team works cooperatively with other company departments and outside repositories housing Ford Motor Company's historical resources to ensure that these resources are identified and made available for research requests. The archives team is committed to the establishment of world-class, globally effective policies and procedures for collecting and organizing materials pertinent to the history of Ford Motor Company.
How the Archives Serves
The archives team is available to serve the entire company. The highest priority is given to requests to assist with company business. Internally, frequent users of the archives' services include Public Affairs; the Office of the General Counsel; Marketing, Sales and Service; New Markets and Associations; and various affiliates and business partners developing advertising campaigns and other company communications with the public. Secondarily, and as resources permit, the archives team serves individuals outside the company who have an interest in Ford Motor Company history, including vehicle enthusiasts, the media (through designated Public Affairs contacts), authors, video/film producers and a wide range of researchers, scholars and students.
Pursuit of this mission enables Ford Motor Company to:
• more fully utilize its heritage in the development and presentation of products and services
• provide context and historical documentation of its achievements and impact on the world
• document legal issues and trademarks
• assist in meeting customer needs
• provide historical resources that enrich communications with employees and the media
[A few personal remarks deleted for brevity by Hap]
++++++++++++++++++++++++ end of Roger's e-mail +++++
Hap again – Thank you so much Roger for taking the time to make the contacts and to share the answers you have found. We also greatly appreciate your support to our hobby.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Thank you Hap and Roger for clarifying the situation with the Australian Archives.
Regards, John Page