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Celebrating 80 years of quality steel manufacturing

If the sun shone for one day through the weeks of rain Newcastle has been experiencing recently, it fittingly was the day Austube Mills’ head office celebrated our 80th anniversary.

On 4 September, 100 of the site’s current employees joined Newcastle’s Deputy Lord Mayor Brad Luke, Austube Mills CEO Naomi James, special guests and more than 100 former site employees, to commemorate the business’ achievements over the past eight decades.

Newcastle’s Site Operations Manager Graham Hasemann opened the event followed by a passionate speech from Austube Mills’ General Manager Richard Clement.

“This business has been a major part of my life for almost 30 years; working for Austube Mills has allowed me to build my home, put my children through school and ensure I can provide for my family which is the most important thing to me,” Richard said.

“We are all very proud of the significant milestones from the Newcastle site that have contributed greatly to the design and innovation advances of the entire Australian steel pipe and tube manufacturing industry.”

Retiree Gavin Jago shared some stories from his 39 years before he retired as the site services manager in 2001.

One of the highlights from the event was the donation of a time capsule and souvenir from Austube Mills to the City of Newcastle. Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Brad Luke accepted both gifts on behalf of the City and commented the company’s long-standing contribution to the local area.

“I am delighted that today Austube Mills is Australia’s largest steel pipe and tube manufacturer and produces the well known brand DuraGal … all right here in Newcastle,” Cr Luke said.

“So here in this time capsule are the countless memories, joys and dramas of so many people who have helped build this company over 80 years, and who have built our city.

“I accept this time capsule that is also a tribute to the achievements of Newcastle’s steelworks industry. Thank you to the manufacturing workers of our past, present, future and congratulations to Austube Mills.”

However it was the mingling after official proceedings finished, where the real celebrations were held. Former employees caught up with long last workmates and current employees to relive and tell the tales from the ‘good old days’, local distribution partners and Arrium guests networked with the teams learning more about the journey Austube Mills has taken from being Australia’s first steel pipe and tube manufacturer to today, it’s largest.

The time capsule will be buried on-site at Mayfield and opened in 40 years’ time. The capsule was manufactured by our employees out of galvanized pipe – a fitting souvenir to protect the special items placed inside.
Inside we have placed anniversary books, old photos, including the old mills in operation and from when the site made shells for the Second World War, pieces of the evolution of our personal protection equipment, and current business reports, plus much more.

To represent the present day, we have our current employee list, organizational structure, and the winning entries from our internal 80 years competitions.

A piece of our DuraGal tube will soon sit in the Newcastle steelworks collection at the Newcastle Museum.

The local NBN television team came and covered the story, watch the coverage here.