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Lysaght has reached the major milestone of 100 years of local manufacturing, an impressive achievement that goes against the trend of offshoring which has prevailed in Australia during recent decades. While not all LYSAGHT® products are immediately known to everyone, one surely is – it’s the corrugated galvanised steel sheet seen on buildings around the country. This steel building product has been used on everything from the roofs and bull-nose verandas of heritage homes, through to shearing sheds and outback dunnies, and more recently in en vogue architectural building projects.
The product’s journey to becoming a national icon can be traced back to Britain, where entrepreneurial Irishman, John Lysaght, began galvanising corrugated steel sheeting in Bristol during 1857. He registered the product under the ‘ORB’ trademark, which remains in use to this day.
After satisfying demand in the United Kingdom, which was being fuelled by the Industrial Revolution, Lysaght turned his attention to export markets, namely Australia, where he saw huge opportunities arising from the gold rush of the late 1800s. He began exporting to the colony soon afterwards.
ORB was first sold in Australia through independent merchants until Lysaght established his own distribution company, the ‘Victorian Galvanised Iron and Wire Company’, which acted as a central selling agency. The venture worked well and by 1913, some 80,000 tonnes of ORB had been shipped to Australia.
The next challenge that the company encountered was World War I which saw compulsory redirection of production capacity to assist the war effort, this devastated local supply and highlighted the need for a local production presence in Australia. Within three months of the war commencing, the company (under the direction of John Lysaght’s nephew Herbert Royse Lysaght) was making arrangements to purchase 24 acres of land in Newcastle, NSW adjacent to a site already owned by Broken Hill Pty. Co. (BHP).
By the following year in 1917, John Lysaght (Australia) Pty Ltd was formed with the intent of establishing a manufacturing site in Australia, and approximately four years later in April 1921, the new Lysaght company commenced manufacturing at its purpose-built site in Newcastle.
At this point, the popular ORB corrugated profile began its Australian-made journey and 100 years on, the company has never looked back, increasing its product range, while further strengthening its outstanding reputation in the construction industry.
Today, LYSAGHT® products help build everything from garden sheds, carports and new homes, to large commercial and industrial projects. And, in addition to roofing, our product range now also includes walling, gutters and downpipes, purlins, fences, structural formwork and home improvement products.
The Lysaght Timeline
- John Lysaght is given a small galvanising works in Bristol, England and selected ORB as the brand his product would carry.
- In the early years, John Lysaght exported galvanised corrugated, ORB-branded iron to Australia.
John Lysaght established a Central Selling Agency in Melbourne, Australia through which all Australian sales were made. Other branches followed in other Australian states.
The first Lysaght Referee published – published as ‘The Metal Trades’ Referee and Storekeeper’s Guide’
John Lysaght (Australia) Pty Ltd (commonly referred to as Lysaght’s) founded. The head office was transferred from Melbourne to Sydney.
First Australian Lysaght manufacturing plant opened in Newcastle, NSW. The first Australian sheet was rolled and galvanised.
- Lysaght purchased The Australian Iron & Steel (AIS) plant at Port Kembla.
- John Lysaght Australia technical department opened in Newcastle.
Lysaght plant at Springhill (Port Kembla, NSW) completed Commonwealth Rolling Mills (CRM) established in Port Kembla as a joint venture between Lysaght and American Rolling Mills.
Lysaght purchased American Rolling Mills share of CRM.
Lysaght became a public company by issuing 3 million shares (20%) to the Australian public.
BHP obtained a 24% share in John Lysaght Australia
BHP-GKN Holdings Ltd established to hold 50/50 ownership of Lysaght.
Lysaght acquired the steel building products division of Brownbuilt and renamed as Lysaght Brownbuilt Industries
Lysaght became a wholly owned subsidiary of BHP.
Lysaght renamed Lysaght Building Industries, then Lysaght Building Products, then BHP Building Products, then BHP Steel Lysaght.
BHP Steel listed on the ASX when BHP spun off its steel operations.
BHP Steel rebranded to BlueScope Steel; BHP Steel Lysaght rebranded to BlueScope Lysaght.
Acquired Metalform, a structural steel manufacturer in Melbourne, Victoria.
Acquired Kiteleys, a roof installation business in New South Wales.
BlueScope Lysaght celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Acquired The Roofing Centre, a steel distributor in Tasmania.
BlueScope Lysaght celebrated its 90th anniversary of manufacturing in Australia.
BlueScope Lysaght rebranded as Lysaght.
Lysaght celebrates its 100th anniversary of manufacturing in Australia.