Moto Magazine

The Golden Fleece

Posted on the 30 July 2011 by Gardenamateur
When a commercial brand is all around you, it's hard to imagine it ever disappearing completely. But it happens often and here in Australia it happened to Golden Fleece Petrol. Once upon a time there were Golden Fleece Service Stations everywhere, and now there are none. In fact they disappeared many years ago, in the 1980s.
What got me thinking about Golden Fleece, with their yellow merino sheep logo, is the 1:43 scale diecast FB Holden ute that I bought recently. It's a nice quality model made by Australian outfit Trax, and so I thought it'd be the perfect subject for my next diorama.

The Golden Fleece

The best photo of the era I could find was this one, of the Golden Fleece Service Station in
the Sydney suburb of Auburn. The original pic was black and white, so I have colourised it
prior to adding not only the yellow ute, but also the red and white FB Holden of the same
vintage (a cheap little 1:64 scale model I found in a railway modeller's shop). The mother
and child, and the old guy in the overalls are also ring-ins, to add a bit more to the scene.

A nice detail on the Golden Fleece utility is that it is marked as "Production Distribution, HC Sleigh Limited", and HC Sleigh was the company which started Golden Fleece petrol back in 1913. While Golden Fleece petrol hasn't been sold for ages (Caltex took them over in 1981) you can still occasionally see some Golden Fleece signage here and there, especially in the older, quieter country towns.

The Golden Fleece

To Australians of my vintage this is a familiar symbol seen everywhere, and apparently the
golden rams that used to sit on the top of every Golden Fleece petrol bowser are now quite
collectable. You can see two of them in the diorama above.

As for the Holden FBs themselves, my dad owned one, but it suffered by comparison in my eyes, because it was the car which replaced our Mark V Jaguar, and the humble Holden was definitely not a patch on the Jag. Mind you, it was cheaper to run and more reliable and more suited to Dad's income level than the Jag, but to kids like me the Holden just wasn't cool. Nevertheless I have a little residue of affection for them after all these years, because they were a fundamentally good family car, and Holden sold thousands and thousands of them, and they hardly ever let their owners down.

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