About us

Our history

BlueScope has a long and proud history as an efficient, trusted and innovative steelmaker in the Illawarra.

It evolved from the coming together of three companies that pioneered the Australian steel industry in the early 20th Century – The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP), John Lysaght (Australia) Pty Ltd (Lysaght) and Australian Iron and Steel Limited (AIS).

The company’s history dates back to 1915, when BHP established a steelworks at Newcastle in New South Wales. British company Lysaght started an Australian operation in 1918 to serve the building and construction industry. Its galvanised corrugated steel has long contributed to the uniquely Australian style of architecture.

 

   
No. 1 Blast Furnace 1929
No. 1 Works 1938

 

AIS was formed in 1928 by the Hoskins family to establish and operate a steelworks at Port Kembla. Charles Hoskins had been the first person to profitably make steel in Australia, having taken over in 1908 the Lithgow steel plant of William Sandford Limited which had gone into liquidation. In the mid-1920s he decided to move the steelworks to Port Kembla because of its deep water harbour, high quality coal deposits and coke ovens the family owned at nearby Wongawilli, and proximity to limestone deposits at Marulan. Charles Hoskins died in 1926 but his sons continued his work and on August 29, 1928 Charles’ widow Emily commissioned the No. 1 Blast Furnace at Port Kembla.

BHP acquired AIS in 1935, and John Lysaght (Australia) Pty Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1979.

 

   
Hot Strip Mill Opening in 1955 by Sir Robert Menzies

 

BlueScope Steel became a stand-alone steel company in July 2002 after BHP had announced in 2001 that it was merging with Anglo-African mining house Billiton to form BHPBilliton, and that the company’s steel division would be spun out as separate Australian listed companies.

Part of BHP Steel’s assets had been spun off as OneSteel in 1999. The remaining assets were spun off in 2002 and eventually became BlueScope Steel, and now BlueScope. In 2011, the decision was taken to taken to halve production at the Port Kembla Steelworks, effectively exiting the export market and operating one Blast Furnace only.

The Port Kembla Steelworks is still the largest of the company’s global operations, where currently 2.6 million tonnes of raw steel are produced each year. The company is a world leader in metallic coating and painting technologies, supplying a wide range of branded products such as COLORBOND® steel, ZINCALUME® steel and the LYSAGHT® range of building products. It serves its customers through a network of distribution and manufacturing facilities throughout Australia.