1966 was a big year for Australia. Many significant events and developments took place across the country that would leave lasting impressions on the nation.
The dollar replaced the pound as decimal currency was introduced, married women were allowed to work for the Commonwealth Public Service for the first time, and Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon returned to Denmark under controversy. Also in that year, an Australian icon was born. COLORBOND® steel was launched and began its inexorable rise to become one of the country's favourite building materials.
The mid sixties was a time when young architects such as Glen Murcutt and Phillip Cox were experimenting with new ways of building for Australian conditions, using designs and products that reflected the needs and hopes of a society in change. In an era of hope and expectation COLORBOND® steel would become an ideal material to help build Australia.
Of course Australia has changed a lot in the past 40 years, and the innovation that was COLORBOND® steel has matured and improved over that time. The product was initially developed to provide the building and construction industries with a more versatile product than corrugated galvanised steel, which was then the major product for roofs and walls.
Now, nearly half of new homes in Australia boast a COLORBOND® steel roof and a sizeable majority of new factories, industrial and commercial plants and storage facilities use COLORBOND® steel in roofing, cladding or some other application. In fact, in 40 years, this innovative material has become ubiquitous to the point where more than 9 out of 10 new homes built in Australia feature products made from COLORBOND® steel. It is used on roofs, fences, walls, sheds, cubby houses, carports and even letterboxes.
There are many reasons for COLORBOND® steel's ever widening application and enduring popularity. Since its launch, there has been continued investment in research and development to improve the product and expand its usefulness.
"COLORBOND® steel is tested in Australia for Australian conditions so it performs very well in all the different climates around the country, many of which can be extreme," explains David Bare, National Marketing Manager Building at BlueScope Steel. "We keep looking for ways to improve it and bring in new technologies where possible to give it the biggest edge in the market. Both industry and the buying public have responded well to this."
COLORBOND® steel allows a number of key environmental benefits too, an area of consideration that grows in importance daily.
"I've been of the opinion for a long time that COLORBOND® steel is the best roofing material in the market place," said leading Australian environmentalist Ian Kiernan. "It is completely recyclable and it is a great material for helping promote thermal efficiency in the home, a significant benefit today."
According to Linda Walsh at Stockland: "COLORBOND® steel has become an iconic brand, one that consumers have learnt to know and trust and I think that comes from the consistency of their promise. More importantly, it has stayed relevant to the Australian marketplace."
The extensive colour range is another factor in COLORBOND® steel's ongoing success, as is the fact that the colour palette has been continually reviewed to ensure it meets market demand. Following its launch in ten shades in 1966, COLORBOND® steel is now available in 20 colours, while an advanced prepainted coating technology means that the latest contemporary colours stay looking newer for longer.
"In the future, COLORBOND® steel, as a lightweight, energy efficient building material, will continue to find new applications," predicts John Bull from leading manufacturer Stramit, "probably for things we haven't even thought of today."
And over a timeframe which has seen much of Australia's manufacturing industry shut down or move offshore, COLORBOND® steel is still manufactured locally, employing Australians at Springhill in New South Wales, Western Port in Victoria and Acacia Ridge in Queensland.
"During its first 40 years, COLORBOND® steel has evolved from a humble building material to become a national icon, embedded deep in the Australian psyche," said David Bare. "It has become synonymous with Australian building and design, from homes to commercial buildings and the brand has built an enviable reputation, both in Australia and internationally, based on its characteristics of durability; aesthetics; adaptability; ease of use; environmental sustainability; energy efficiency; forward thinking and authenticity."
"COLORBOND® steel captures the essence of Australian living and after 40 years it's still building beautifully. Like no other building material, COLORBOND® steel links to our past, defines our present, and points to our future. In its first 40 years, COLORBOND® steel has helped to shape the dreams of Australian homeowners, designers, architects and developers, and it will continue to do so for many years to come."