Mike Stevens | Nov 24, 2011

Ford Australia has opened a new document archive at its Melbourne headquarters this week, marking the carmaker's fourth such facility in the world. The other three are in the US, Germany and the UK.

The local archive hosts documents, photos and brochures from the company's 86 year history in Australia. Many of the documents were collected by the late Adrian Ryan, the Public Affairs worker to whom the centre is dedicated.

Described as a passionate car man, Ryan worked in Ford Australia's Public Affairs office for 15 years, coming from roles with Repco and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

After 40 years in the Australian car industry, Ryan passed away in 2009.

Speaking at the opening of the Ford Australia Archive, President and CEO Bob Graziano said that Ryan could often be found rummaging through dumpsters to recover items tossed away by the carmaker's staff.

“Adrian was instrumental in ensuring that not only did we collect the material but that we stored it appropriately too. He did his absolute best to keep the pressure on Ford, right until his last months, to find a proper location to store the archives," Graziano said.

“We believe he would be quite chuffed to see the archives treated with the respect they deserve.”

Graziano also gave a nod to employee Les Drayton, responsible for putting together many of the Archive's precious items.

"Les not only collected photos, documents and books, he was also instrumental in ensuring we did not lose some of our unique vehicles, which are now on display at the Ford Discovery Centre in Geelong,” Graziano said.

The Archive will function as a centralised historical information centre for the carmaker's local operations, and while it will not be open to the general public, a few lucky outsiders will get to take a peek from time to time.

"As resources permit, the archives team will also be able to serve individuals outside the company who have an interest in our history, including vehicle enthusiasts, the media, authors, video/film producers and a wide range of researchers, scholars and students,” Graziano said.

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