The LYSAGHT® Referee has been an Australian building and construction industry institution since its first publication in Melbourne in 1897 as "The Metal Trades Referee and Storekeepers Guide".
This long and proud tradition has seen the publication of thirty-five highly demanded editions. The eleventh publication saw the first publication under the title "The LYSAGHT® Referee", coinciding with the opening of LYSAGHT®'s first Australian factory at Newcastle in New South Wales, and the first Australian production of ORB® brand galvanised corrugated steel sheet.
Over many years, The LYSAGHT® Referee has become something of a steel-bible to people in the building and construction industry as well as plumbers, farmers and students of many disciplines. It was initially developed as a product guide, but over time the Referee became a "how-to" guide, especially for farmers and country folk, on everything from building a fence to animal husbandry. A lot of information is still in the latest edition - although somewhat updated to encompass modern techniques.
Now considered unique and sometimes quirky, the relevance of the "useful" and "general" information sections is now regarded as company heritage within the handbook and the publishers feel it important to maintain these historical qualities. Information such as stock breeding tables and haystack volume calculations were included to assist farmers and are known by the company to still be used today.
To browse through all the editions of the Referee is to take a journey through the history of a company and a country, as well as to learn something of the various trades and citizens catered for by the handbook. One sees reference to old LYSAGHT® brand names, prices, terms, how to detect signs of or treat ague, apoplexy, delirium tremens, rupture, snake bite, sore feet or sunstroke. Key highlights in Australian history can also be noted, such as the conversion from imperial to metric systems of weights and measures and implementation of the decimal currency system.
Compare the content in current edition of The LYSAGHT® Referee to that of the first and you will notice vast developments in the progressive steel industry over time. The first edition contained only thirty-two pages, a far cry from the 400-odd pages detailed in the current edition. The diversification and development of the LYSAGHT® business and products through time are detailed throughout each edition of the handbook. Exploring buildings and architectural history along with The LYSAGHT® Referees of that time demonstrates the way LYSAGHT® products have helped shape the Australian built environment over the past one hundred and fifty years.
The LYSAGHT® Referee is a sought-after publication with many avid collectors endeavouring to grow complete sets of the thirty-five editions. Early editions of the handbook have been known to be sold in second-hand bookstores and in more recent years have even been available for auction on the internet.