A Brief History of Colorbond® Steel

A household name, Colorbond® steel is chosen by thousands of Australian homeowners every year.

You’ll find it in roofs, sheds, water tanks, walls, gutters, and carports. As well as, of course, in home fencing. Today, its use has never been so versatile or popular.

Most people know Colorbond® for its strength and striking finish, but did you know that its history dates all the way back to England in 1843?

Colorbond® steel has a rich heritage in Australia. So for this week’s blog we decided to take a brief look at the history of this iconic brand.

It Began With Corrugated Iron

In the first half of the 19th century, English engineer Henry Robinson Palmer made a building material breakthrough. He found that by corrugating a thin piece of iron, an extremely lightweight yet very strong building material could be made. Corrugated iron was born!

Shortly after its invention, corrugated iron became popular with European settlers in Australia. Its strength made it ideal for the country’s tough conditions and its light weight made it much easier to transport.

This galvanised iron with zinc coating was both hardy and durable. Plus it had the added benefit of not needing to be painted for protection. Although, this didn’t stop Australians painting it to enhance its attractiveness and style.

It was from these foundations that Colorbond® steel was made.


The First Roll of Colorbond® Steel

For almost one hundred years in Australia, corrugated iron reigned supreme as the preferred choice in building materials. During the 1950s however, times began to change.

Engineers at Lithostrip and Pre Finish Metals in the United States had found a way to effectively bond paint to a galvanised base. And it wasn’t long before this innovation arrived on our shores.

Development took time, as well as the input of countless individuals. The goal wasn’t to make just a new product, it was to create a new building material that was exactly right for Australian conditions.

The hard work paid off, for in 1966, in Port Kemlba, Wollongong, the very first piece of Colorbond® steel rolled off the Number 1 coil painting line.

50 Years Later

Colorbond® steel quickly became a favourite of the building industry, and now more than 50 years later, nearly half of new Australian homes are built using Colorbond® steel in their roofing.

In fact, 9 out of 10 new Australian homes built each year, use Colorbond® steel for one purpose or another. And since its inception more than 6 million tonnes of Colorbond® steel have been produced.

Colorbond® is still made at paint lines in Port Kembla, Wollongong. However due to demand new paint lines have also been established in Acacia Ridge, Queensland, Western Port, Victoria and Erskine Park, News South Wales.

Now available in 20 different colours, Colorbond steel® is more than ever the preferred choice for Australian builders, homeowners and home-renovators.


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