Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Broken Hill Proprietary Co

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1890. Silver lead mine works.
1890. Silver Lead Mines.

1883 Charles Rasp, a boundary rider on the Mt Gipps sheep station, believed he had discovered black oxide of tin on the ‘broken hill’ in the Barrier Ranges in western New South Wales, Australia. The Broken Hill Mining Company (private company) was established by a syndicate of seven from the Mt Gipps sheep station.

The mine was situated in the south west corner of New South Wales, about sixty miles from the Darling River and twenty-five miles east of the South Australian border[1]

Discovered in 1884. [2]

1885 The company was dissolved on incorporation of The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP). BHP developed and mined silver, lead and zinc deposits at Broken Hill.

1887 The British Broken Hill Proprietary Co was formed to exploit certain leases of the Broken Hill Proprietary Co[3]

1890 Smelting began at Port Pirie, South Australia.

1899 Refinery operations started.

1899 Leases obtained over Iron Knob and Iron Baron iron ore deposits in South Australia.

1915 The Newcastle steelworks opened

1922 Acquired the John Darling and Elrington Collieries (both in the New South Wales).

1925 BHP sold its holding in the Port Pirie smelter

1929 Acquired 75 percent of Lysaght Bros & Co Pty Limited.

Buttweld Pty Limited incorporated, with BHP holding 49percent. Name changed to Stewarts&Lloyds (Aust) Pty Limited in 1935.

Acquired 6 percent of Vickers Commonwealth Steel Products Limited.

1936 Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation incorporated, with BHP holding 33 percent of the equity.

1939 Operations at Broken Hill closed.

1941 Opened blast furnace and shipyard at Whyalla, South Australia.

1946 Tubemakers of Australia Pty Limited incorporated, with BHP holding 49 percent equity in consideration of the transfer of BHP’s shareholding in Stewarts&Lloyds (Aust) Pty Limited.

1958 Australian Wire Industries Pty Limited incorporated, with BHP holding 100 percent equity

1963 Joint venture with Esso formed for exploration/production in Bass Strait, offshore Victoria, Australia (oil and gas discovered within a few years).

1965 Tubemakers of Australia Limited became a public company.

1977 BHP-Newmont-Telfer gold mine commissioned in Western Australia (BHP 30%).

1978 Whyalla shipyard was closed.

1984 Properties acquired in USA, Canada and Chile

1987 BHP Gold Mines Limited formed

1996 Oil production began from the Liverpool Bay Project in the Irish Sea (BHP 46.1 percent, operator).

1999 The Newcastle steelworks closed

2000 Spun-out steel operations. Name changed to BHP Limited

2001 Agreement to merge with Billiton Plc. The company became BHP Billiton

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. For a comprehensive description see p 83 of The Engineer 1890/08/01
  2. The Engineer 1890/08/01
  3. The Times, Nov 14, 1887
  • History of BHP [1]