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Lysaght was founded in 1880 by John Lysaght as a subsidiary to the company John Lysaght and Co. The company pioneered modern steel coating technologies (Galvanization). Its coated steel building products were sold under the ‘ORB’ brand and contributed to Australian architectural style.

FounderJohn Lysaght


ORB corrugated iron

In 1857 John Lysaght and Co. was established in England at the St Vincent's Works in Bristol and commenced manufacturing corrugated iron. The firm exported to many countries including Australia and South America. By 1880 Lysaghts was exporting enough corrugated iron to Australia to establish a central selling agency in Melbourne.[1] Utilizing this demand, John Lysaght set up Victoria Galvanised Iron and Wire Company in order to get around import restrictions.[2]

In 1897 the company publication, the Lysaght Referee, detailed the products Lysaghts sold. The original Lysaght brand of corrugated iron was Orb, followed in 1897 by a cheaper version of Redcliffe. Both brands were exported in large quantities to Australia. Globe was a brand produced for American and African markets but some quantities ended up in Australia. Lysaghts manufactured galvanised sheet and plate between 1880 and 1912 at the Eskbank steelworks in Lithgow. The brand was Crown and it appears these sheets were not corrugated for roofing.[1]

In 1918 John Lysaght (Australia) Pty Ltd was incorporated with the head office transferred from Melbourne to Sydney. In 1921 a sheet rolling and galvanising works was established next to BHP in Newcastle.[3] In 1936 the Australian Iron & Steel plant at Port Kembla was purchased. In 1939, in a joint venture with American Rolling Mills, the Commonwealth Rolling Mills was opened in Port Kembla. In 1947 Lysaght bought the American Rolling Mills share.[1][4][5]

In the early 1940s an Australian citizen Evelyn Owen designed a prototype .22lr sub machine gun in his shed. The gun was rejected when he took it to be trialed by the army barracks. He later was enlisted and shortly before deployment decided contact the manager of the Lysaght port kembla site where he showed it to the CEO who pushed for a military trial. The gun showed great promise due to its unconventional designs countering the flaws of current sub machine guns. The gun passed the trial and more than 45,000 were produced by Lysaght during World War II but were used in the Pacific where there were accounts the New Zealander Anzacs would take spares from Australian Anzacs because of how susceptible to other weapons were to mud and sand. In the end it has been said that Lysaght received less than one percent profit making the production of the Owen gun an almost purely patriotic act for the good of the country. Evelyn Owen returned from WW2 and his royalties were bought out for 10000 british pound then set up a saw mill that financially failed then in 1949 died. (I had typed all this really nice and eloquent then chrome crashed at like 2am so someone else can polish this to a wiki standard) appologies and cheers bro)

In 1961 Lysaght became a public company with 20% of the shares sold to the public. In 1969 BHP purchased a 24% shareholding. In 1970, BHP and GKN took over the business each owing 50%. In 1971 Lysaght acquired the steel building products division of Brownbuilt and renamed it Lysaght Brownbuilt Industries. In 1979 it became a 100% subsidiary of BHP. Between 1987 and 1999 it was rebranded several times to Lysaght Building Industries, Lysaght Building Products, BHP Building Products, and BHP Steel Lysaght.[1][5]

In 2002 BHP Steel was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, later being rebranded BlueScope. Lysaght was again rebranded as BlueScope Lysaght.[6] In 2013 it resumed trading as Lysaght.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e An Australian Icon Lysaght
  2. ^ "Barton Hill History Group". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  3. ^ Newcastle has a story down every street Newcastle Herald 11 July 2014
  4. ^ Our history BlueScope Illawarra
  5. ^ a b John Lysaght Australia, Springhill Works Illawarra Heritage Trail
  6. ^ BlueScope Lysaght Architecture & Design 19 November 2013