7 - Pigments Plant at Laverton

Date Range1960 - 31 December 1969
Related Provenance
ControllingImperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Limited (ICIANZ) (1929 - 1971)
SubsequentPigment Manufacturers of Australia Limited (PMA Ltd) (1970 - 1991)

The Pigments Plant at Laverton was established by Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand in 1960 in order to meet the growing Australian demand for Azo (usually red or yellow, 'Monolite' brand) and phthalocyanine (green or blue, 'Monastral' brand) organic pigments. These products were designed for use mainly in the printing ink, paint, and plastics industries.

Employing around 80 people, the plant spread over 5 acres of a 330 acre site, all of which was owned by ICIANZ.

Early plant products and processes were modelled on those of the Dyestuffs Division of Imperial Chemical Industries Limited based in the United Kingdom. Azo and Phthalo pigments were produced in separate plants at the Laverton site as they required different production processes.

As the Laverton plant became more established, staff at the site were also responsible for innovative manufacturing techniques. A new finishing process was developed in the laboratory and taken to full plant scale. After proving successful the process was later applied overseas.

From 1968, ICIANZ also produced pigments under licence for the company BASF Australia Limited. In 1970, the two companies became equal partners in a new venture named Pigment Manufacturers of Australia Limited (PMA Ltd) with two representatives from each parent company on the PMA Ltd Board. The newly formed company took over operation of the Pigments Plant at Laverton on 1 January 1970, its stated purpose to "support the role of ICI and BASF in Australia".

An organisational chart showing the structure of the Pigments Plant at Laverton in the late 1960s can be found in "Factory Induction Programme" (PMA0924) in Series 27.

For information on the plant during the 1970s and 1980s under PMA Ltd, see the provenance entry "Pigment Manufacturers of Australia Limited (PMA Ltd)".

9 May 1960The Board of Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Limited approves funding for a Pigments Plant at Laverton, to be operated by ICIANZ.
1961The Laverton site is selected from several site options, plant construction begins, and senior staff travel to England for specialised training with the ICI Dyestuffs Division.
January 1962The production team is trained at Laverton.
February 1962Production at the Pigments Plant at Laverton commences.
1968BASF pigments are manufactured under licence at the Laverton plant. In the same year, the Pigments Plant at Laverton achieves one million manhours of work without a lost-time injury.
8 January 1969Severe grassfires penetrate the factory perimeter and pose a threat to the plant. Workers on duty at the time assist with fire-fighting and no significant damage is caused.
1 January 1970Pigment Manufacturers of Australia Limited is formed as a joint venture between ICIANZ and BASF Australia Limited. The PMA Ltd Board has two representatives from each company.
ReferencesFellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (comp.), "Pigments manufacture" entry in Technology in Australia: 1788-1988, published by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, online edition 2000, (date accessed: 1 August 2008);

ICI Ltd website: (date accessed: 1 August 2008);

Bruce Smith, "Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia & New Zealand Limited (1928- )" entry in the Guide to Australian Business Records, published by Archive Research Consultancy, 2005, (date accessed: 1 August 2008).
Series20  Production Costs - ICI Dyestuffs Division 1962 - 1964

Published by the The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre on AustehcWeb, December 2008
Listed by Barbara Cytowicz, Ann McCarthy, Gavan McCarthy, Michael Jones, Rachel Tropea
HTML edition
Updated 30 March 2009

The template for this finding aid is part of the Heritage Documentation Management System

[ Top of Page | Home | Series | Provenance | Search | Index ]