Restoring the Unemployed

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There is a stigma surrounding Work for the Dole activities, and options can be lacking, but what if you were given the chance to completely restore a 1964 EH Holden?

That is just what the long-term unemployed are doing with their skilled and dedicated supervisor Steve. The program provides the unemployed with a set of very useful skills ranging from mechanical to welding, panel beating, spray painting, etc… as well as helping them gain the confidence and attitude to re-enter the workforce.

The car that they’re restoring will be given to St Kilda News and used to help deliver newspapers, help local charities, and assist with community events.

I visited this particular Work for the Dole activity a little while ago to see how Steve and his team worked and how they were progressing with the restoration.

On this particular day Steve and his team were completely stripping down the car’s engine and cleaning it, preparing it to be repainted and restored. The participants at the program were using a large range of professional tools to do this and had many other resources at their disposal, some of which made me want to make multiple return trips just to see them in action.

We spent the entire day taking the engine apart and cleaning it, stopping for lunch midway through in the small kitchenette that Steve and his team built for themselves. I was amazed at how well Steve and his team worked together; he showed them how something was done and they followed by example, learning all the tricks of the trade. I witnessed the team learn many different skills and even learned a few myself.

At the end of the day we cleaned up, making sure the tools were clean and stored properly, and said our goodbyes for another week. I left smelling of petrol but all the more wiser in the ways of car restoration.


Steve and his team would like to thank Body Shop Paint Supplies (Seaford), Vic from Capital Maintenance, and Rare Spares for helping the program become a success.

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