City to investigate feasibility of Big Ford Ute

December 5, 2021 BY

The Geelong Museum of Motoring and Industry was previously located at the Western Heights Secondary College. Photo: GEELONG MUSEUM OF MOTORING AND INDUSTRY

A CAMPAIGN to build “The Big Ford Ute” in Geelong is gathering momentum, with the City of Greater Geelong council investigating the feasibility of the proposal.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese have also expressed some support for the idea.

The now-iconic Australia ute was first conceived, designed and built at the former Ford factory in Norlane in 1934, and two presenters on radio station K rock have submitted a petition with about 700 signatures urging the city to build a giant ute, akin to other “big things” across Australia, as a tourist attraction.

At the November 23 council meeting, Cr Kylie Grzybek successfully moved a notice of motion that the council give in-principle support to investigate the potential and feasibility of a Geelong Museum of Motoring and Industry and The Big Ford Ute project, and to request chief executive officer Martin Cutter endorse funding of up to $75,000 in the 2020-21 financial year towards this with a report to come back to the council by July 2022.

“We’ve all been on little trips across the country where ‘big things’ can become part of the journey – the Big Koala, the Big Banana, the Big Guitar, the Big Cat – so this is something that is not unique and won’t be unique, but it will be putting Geelong on the map,” Cr Grzybek said.

She said the proposal could be joined with a new Geelong Museum of Motoring and Industry, which closed its temporaryhome at Western Heights Secondary College in Hamlyn Heights in December 2020 and had its collection dispersed to storage at sites across Geelong and Melbourne since then.

“These particular collections deserve to be on permanent display.”

Mr Cutter has also been asked to identify if the project could be nominated for the state government’s Regional Development Victoria Investment Fast-Track Fund or other similar feasibility grants from the state and federal governments.

On Friday last week, Mr Andrews said he did not “necessarily have any thoughts on large utes”, but Geelong’s automotive and manufacturing history was well known.

“I’ll always look at anything that supports workers, particularly manufacturing ones.”

Mr Albanese was less equivocal, saying on Saturday that Geelong needed a big ute.

“I’m a big fan of big things for Australia. We’re a big country, we need more big things as tourism attractions.”