Bekaert reflects on 100 years of manufacturing in Newcastle

Bekaert reflects on 100 years of manufacturing in Newcastle

Bekaert Australia (recently rebranded from Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group) is reflecting on 100 years of operations this year after holding a prominent place in the nation’s and the Newcastle region’s history.

Since 1923, their company’s story has been characterised by resilience, opportunity creation, innovation and investment in its products and people.

Australian Manager, Steven Hennessey said that the business has continued to innovate and will continue to do so well into the future.

“Over the past century, the company has faced global economic challenges and depressions, world war, and threats from international competition,” Steven said.

“The business is an integral member of a major global enterprise.”

Bekaert began its iteration in Newcastle as Australian Wire Rope Works in 1923 through an association between BHP and four leading rope manufacturers in Great Britain. A site was selected at 2 George Street, Mayfield, Newcastle, and a factory was built.

Over its history, the ownership of the company has evolved through mergers and acquisitions, culminating in the purchase by Bekaert in 2015. Bekaert’s operations in Newcastle produce a range of specialised wire rope products for a range of industries including mining, construction, oil and gas, and barrier rope for road safety.

The company survived the Great Depression and was an important provider of supplies during the Second World War.

The community-focused company diverted 90 per cent of its production to supply all Australia’s defence needs for wire ropes.

These vital products included steel wire for submarine nets and harbour booms to defend Sydney Harbour, wire for special kites to protect ships from dive bombers and cables for underwater mines.

This capability attracted the attention of the Japanese who targeted the steelworks in Newcastle. In June 1942 a Japanese submarine I-21 fired 34 shells from its 5.5-inch gun, before the guns at Fort Scratchley returned fire.

The company has employed and trained thousands of men and women from the Hunter Valley region.

“For a century, the commitment and skill of our work force has been our company’s greatest asset,” Steven said

“We are immensely proud to say our products are Australian made, and have been for 100 years now.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nualti Nelmes congratulated Bekaert Australia of 100 years of manufacturing in Newcastle.

“As they celebrate this impressive milestone, it is a testament to their continuous innovation and the commitment to their employees that they have remained a success in their industry for the last century, and we wish them continued success in the future.”

Bekaert Australia’s centenary celebrations have commenced including special events dedicated to employees, retired employees, and key stakeholders.

A special commemorative plaque to mark the occasion was unveiled by Newcastle’s Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, Newcastle State MP, Tim Crakanthorp, and Newcastle Federal MP, Sharon Claydon, at Bekaert’s Mayfield factory.

IMAGE | 100 years of Bekaert commemorated.

Bekaert

Bekaert is the world's premier ropes and advanced cords solution provider that best understands and satisfies the product and service needs of customers globally.  Their mission is to be the leading innovator and provider of the best performing ropes and advanced cords globally. Their purpose is to create value for their customers and for their business by leveraging their expertise, scale, global reach and brands. They have the ambition to exceed the expectations of their customers, employees, and shareholders. Australia is a global leader in the provision of mission-critical, specialised wire ropes for surface, underground and offshore mining and exploration applications.

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