Lithgow Blast Furnace Ruins


Here in the Lithgow Valley, the first iron and steel in Australia was cast – with the official opening of the blast furnace by the premier of New South Wales on May 13, 1907.

William Sandford Ltd soon ran into financial trouble and could not fulfil its contract to supply the government with pig-iron, so in 1908 the company was purchased by Hoskins Bros, owners of the premier manufacturer of iron pipes in Australia.
However, the opening of a Small Arms factory in Lithgow ensured that the Hoskins' works flourished. A great deal of their profit was ploughed back into the expansion of capacity at the steelworks. In 1923 a fifth blowing engine was added to the original furnace. At 400 tons, it was the largest in Australia.In the mid 1920s, the decision was taken to move operations to Port Kembla, where natural resources and a more efficient transport network existed. The Lithgow site was abandoned in 1928.The site was bought by the Lithgow City Council and opened to the public as the Lithgow Blast Furnace Park in 1988 around the remains of the pump house and the foundations of the furnace and coke ovens.
The Hoskins were highly active in the development of the ironworking industry and staunchly opposed the growth of unionism. The outbreak of WWI saw considerable expansion in operations, although Lithgow's monopoly on iron smelting was about to be seriously challenged by BHP, who opened their Newcastle plant in 1915.
 
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