History

Scroll through some of the highlights of our 150 year history!

  • 1874

    Founded in 1874 as a supplier of explosives to the Victorian gold fields in Australia, Orica has grown to become one of the leading publicly-owned companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Throughout this journey there have been several transformations. The original company, Jones, Scott and Co., was bought by Nobel which went on to merge with Brunner Mond and Co, United Alkali Company and British Dyestuffs Corporation to form Imperial Chemical Industries Plc (ICI Plc).

  • 1880S

    Nobel patented blasting gelatine in 1875 however imports were banned into Victoria of any explosive other than gunpowder after 31 October 1882. In 1883, Nobel Explosives purchased the Brownsburg plant originally founded by Daniel Smith’s Hamilton Powder Company to produce black powder, which was used for hunting, quarrying and land clearing.

  • 1890S

    The company, which changed its name to the Australian Explosives and Chemical Company in 1888, stopped making powders in 1892. Mount Lyell Minin was formed in 1893 to build an alpine railway and mine copper ore in Tasmania. By the end of World War I, it had moved into the heavy chemical industry and as such was a competitor to ICI. The Nobel Dynamite Trust acquires the Deer Parks works in 1897.

  • 1900S

    The start of the 1900s saw Prime Minister Edmund Barton visit Deer Park, declaring Australia must make cordite. In 1907, The High Explosives Trade Association was established to fix prices and allot market quotas.

  • 1910S

    In 1919, the electric detonator was made at Brownsburg, Canada.

  • 1920S

    In 1920, Nobel Industries was established in the UK and a consortium created with Bickford Smith and Kynoch Limited. Nobel’s Benjamin Todhunter visits Australia and appoints Elder Smith as its agent with Melbourne-based Sir Lennon Raws in charge.

    1928 - Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand (ICIANZ) was incorporated to acquire and coordinate all the Australasian interests of ICI Plc.

  • 1930S

    1937 saw Deer Park start to manufacture nitro-cotton. In 1939, ICIANZ explosives sales total £1.2 million, one third of total sales and 44 per cent of gross profits.

  • 1940S

    1940 - ICIANZ commissions a detonator plant and ammonia fertiliser plant at Deer Park and a phosphorus plant beside the Yarraville chemical works. Production of ammonium chloride and hydrochloric acid begins in Mayfield, Newcastle. ICIANZ acquires land near Botany Bay for a chlorine plant. In 1942, the Botany plant made its first chemical, carbon bisulphite.

  • 1950S

    1956 - Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies opens ICIANZ’s new research lab in Ascot Vale, Melbourne. In 1957, a new BALM paints plant was erected in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton and ICIANZ established a global pharmaceuticals division

    1958 ICIANZ chair Sir Alexander Fleck opens ICI House in Melbourne (now Orica House)

  • 1960S

    1961 - ICIANZ lists on the Australian Securities Exchange. 7 years later, ICIANZ opens the world’s first commercial plant making levamisole to control animal parasites

  • 1971

    Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand (ICIANZ) became ICI Australia

  • 1980S

    1988 Wesfarmers merges with Dyno explosives. ICI Australia acquires Berger Paints, British Paints and Selleys for $130 million, cementing its leadership in the Australian decorative paint market. The company’s decision to take on unions at the Botany site leads to landmark strike action

    1989 ICI Australia commissions a chlorine ammonium nitrate and cyanide plant in Yarwun, Queensland

  • 1998

    When parent company ICI Plc divested its major shareholding in ICI Australia in 1997, a new independent Australasian company was formed; and on 2 February 1998 we became known as Orica. 1998 saw Orica listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

  • 2000S

    2001 Malcolm Broomhead replaces Philip Weickhardt as chief executive.

    2003 Pivot Ltd and Incitec merge; Incitec Pivot is listed on the ASX

    2008 Incitec Pivot acquires Dyno Nobel Australia and the US for $3.3 billion

  • 2010S

    2010 saw the demerger of DuluxGroup.

    In 2015, the announced sale of Chemicals Business and transaction completed in 2015. The business is trading independently under the name Ixom.

    2018 saw the acquisition of GroundProbe, a global market leader in the provision of critical monitoring and measurement technologies for the mining sector.

  • 2020S

    Orica's gowth continues…

    2020 saw the acquisition of Exsa, Peru’s leading manufacturer and distributer of industrial explosives.

    2021 RIG Technologies and Hopper Industrial Group, forming part of our orebody intelligence and Digital Solutions portfolio.

    2022 saw the acquisition of Axis Mining Technology, a leader in the design, development and manufacture of specialised geospatial tools and instruments for the mining industry.

    2022 Orica and Epiroc form a partnership with Agnico Eagle Mines to pioneer the first wireless underground charging.

    2023 saw the further bolstering of our Orica Digital Solutions portfolio through the acquisition of Terra Insights.

  • 2024

    As Orica continues to evolve further into the multi-billion dollar, global company that it is today, we will continue to maintain proud traditions of safety, leadership, innovation, sustainability and quality.