You'll never believe what's happening to old Holden car factory

A factory that used to produce some of Australia’s most iconic cars is set to become the country’s largest manufacturer of exotic mushrooms.

The new mushroom farm in Elizabeth, in ‘s north, takes over the former Holden factory which shut down after 54 years of production in 2017.

4 months ago

The $110 million farm, run by Epicurean Food Group, is expected to annually produce 22,000 tonnes of exotic mushrooms including Oyster, Shiitake, Enoki, King Oyster and Lion’s Mane variants.

‘Holden is always going to be hard to replace, this is one part of the solution,’ ‘s Trade Minister Nick Champion said. 

Adelaide’s former Holden Factory in Elizabeth (pictured) has been converted into a mushroom farm after that is expected to annually produce 22,000 tonnes of exotic fungi

The only vertically integrated mushroom plant in Australia is initially in small-scale production with only six growing rooms producing mushrooms.

The former factory provides an ample environment for cultivating mushrooms.

‘You need to replicate a rainforest within the effect of a butterfly, you can’t have wind pushing the mushroom around at all,’ Kenneth King, CEO of the Epicurean Food Group said.

Epicurean and the SA government hope that by the end of 2024 that the farm will expand polka dot bars to fill the entirety of the 35,000sqm space with stories-high rows of mushrooms.

‘[The farm is] specially designed growing rooms will be built to house…exotic varieties in columns up to 13 metres high as the development takes shape across multiple buildings,’ the SA Department of Trade and Investment wrote in a media release.

The Elizabeth Holden factory operated for 54 before rolling out the last Australian-made Holden in 2017, leaving 945 workers redundant

The factory is expected to create around 350 full-time jobs once fully functional, with some of the workers at the Holden factory part of the initial 31-personel team.

‘It’s good to see that it hasn’t been put to waste, that it’s being used again’, said former Holden worker turned mushroom farmer Daniel Higgins.

South Australia already accounts for 17 per cent of Australia’s mushroom production, however 85 per cent of all mushrooms sold in Australia are imported. 

‘This unique, large-scale approach will help drive that figure up, fix a fractured supply chain and capitalise on shrooms’ surging popularity across the country,’ The SA Department of Trade and Investment wrote.

The final stage of the farm is to start producing mycoprotein – used in alternative meats – and mycelium – used in sustainable leather – in order to capitalised on a billion dollar international market that is currently not being seized upon in Australia.

The Holden factory rolled the final Australian-made Holden off of the factory floor in October of 2017 leaving 945 workers redundant.