The Wodonga Plant Farm was established in 1949 by Mr Stan Parker. Its original location was in Smythe Street Wodonga. In 1952 the business relocated to the corner of High and Osborne Streets where it remained until sold in 1978 to the Gale Family.
The Gale Family purchased the current site at the corner of Beechworth Road and Huon Creek Road in the same year. Back then, the location was considered “out of town”.
In November 1981, current owners Geoff and Kay Pollard purchased the Wodonga Plant Farm. Their first apprentice was son Chris and the following year, son Andrew joined the business. Five years later, son in law Peter came on board making it a truly family owned and operated venture.
In the late 1990’s, the Pollard family decided it was time to diversify and introduce new attractions and experiences. The first addition was the Patio and Garden Gift-Shop, followed by the highly successful Garden Gallery Café.
Recognising Australia’s obsession for outdoor living, the business has recently become and agent for the Outdoor Blind Company, specialising in quality designed PVC blinds, umbrellas, awnings and sunscreens as well as the latest in indoor and outdoor heating.
1939 Singer Coupe Ute
This 1939 Singer Coupe has become somewhat of a mascot for the Wodonga Plant Farm.
Andrew Pollard tells the story of how the family came to take possession of this unique piece of motoring history.
The project all started when we decided to find out about the history of our garden centre. What we learnt was that in 1949 the Wodonga Plant Farm was started by Mr Stan Parker with 70 pounds and a 1939 Singer Coupe Ute.
We thought it would be great to find the Ute and have it for our 50th anniversary coming up in 1999, to help support our advertising campaign.
Now finding the ute was left to Andrew. He started out by contacting the Singer Car Club in my home State of Victoria, they came up with the name and place of a person with such a vehicle. There where only three of these utes ever built, and as far as we know this was the only one left in the world.
The ute was in a place called Toodyay, which was on the other side of Australia, about 100km from Perth. This meant buying the car or cars as it happened to be, (we got a 1938 super nine sedan as well) over the phone, after seeing photo’s and after several phone calls we decided to buy the cars .The Ute had been in Toodyay from 1995 to 1997. Before that it was in Kalgoorlie 1985 to1995
It was found in Bullabulling at a gold mine site, where it was used as the power plant to run the ventilation system to the mine. At the miners camp the miner said he had been there 20 years from 1965 to 1985 and the Ute had been there all of that time. We are not sure when and where the Ute came from before this time.
Note the pictures in the in the background of the mine. The Ute ran the ventilation via the back axle.
The cars where sent to Perth then loaded into a shipping container and sent via rail to Bandiana, this is just a short drive from Wodonga. We picked up the cars and bought them home to my house where they sat on the back veranda for about six months in 1997.
The project Started in 1997 with the Ute being stripped, the engine was the only part of the car that did not need to be rebuilt; the previous owner had done it. After the chassis was rebuilt and bushed, it was sent to the panel beaters where the wood frame was replaced, panel work done and spray painted. The body was originally made by Flood, they operated out of Adelaide in Australia.
The Ute was really starting to come together now; it was to be finished for our 50th birthday celebration at the garden centre, which was in March1999. It did not leave the panel beaters until late November1998. We started to wonder if we would finish the job in time.
Then it was off to the auto electricians for the wire up, which took about two weeks. Then it was the auto trimmers, who did the seats, hood lining, tonneau cover and door rubbers.
Then it was back to the shed for the entire fitting up making sure everything opened and shut, as it should. We had to replace the diff as well, by the time the ute was ready for the road the 50th Celebration had come and gone, we where about six months too late for it, and about a year overdue on what we thought it might take to rebuild the vehicle.
The ute is used for banking and small deliveries. It is in demand on a regular basis for shows and school fetes.
May I thank John Adams for his workmanship and effort in helping to restore this vehicle for without his experience and knowledge this project could not have been completed.