Newbold Memohead Graphic

Refractories In Australia



* Introduction

* Chapter I Origins to Post World War One

* Chapter II The Twenties

* Chapter III Boom, Depression and Consolidation

* Chapter IV Second World War to Takeover

* Conclusion

* Bibliography

* Image Gallery

* Britannica Online - Refractory Entry


Refractories have always played a vital, if unacknowledged, role in the industrial development of most nations. Australia has been no exception. From the beginning of the twentieth century, Australia has had a strong local refractory industry capable of competing against international competition.

There has been little historical interest in this aspect of Australia's industrial development. Few, if any secondary sources exist on this subject.

As part of my Honours year in 1994, I undertook a company history of one of the most successful of Australia's refractory companies, Newbold General Refractories. This company began in 1908 and was an independent public firm until 1974.

My thesis briefly covers the early industrial development of Australia (including the founding of the B.H.P) that lead to a stage of economic growth that allowed the successful foundation of a local refractory industry. It goes on to look at the founding of Newbolds; its economic success and survival during both the post-WW1 and Great Depressions; its links with B.H.P and its growing dominance of the local refractory industry through a series of takeovers that consolidated its position within the industry. There is also a brief survey of the company cultures of both Newbolds and B.H.P and how this affected the running of the respective companies.

If you know of any information on the history of the refractories industry anywhere in the world, please let me know!

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