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Perth – 1971

Daddy Cool is topping the charts with Eagle Rock.

West Perth defeats East Perth in the WAFL Grand Final.

And Gyprock opens their first WA manufacturing plant at Welshpool.

The fifth Gyprock factory in the nation was built at a cost of $1.4 million, or over $15 million in today’s money. The factory was officially opened by then-Premier J.T. Tonkin on 10th September 1971, having commenced production in July.

In the proceeding 50 years, tens of millions of tonnes of plaster and compound has been produced, lining the walls and ceilings of thousands of homes across Western Australia.

gyprock perth plant premier 1971

Premier Tonkin said of the factory in his remarks “it will employ Western Australian labour in processing a high-proportion of Western Australian raw materials” which remains true today as it did half a century ago. Welshpool produces plasterboard using gypsum mined from Jurien Bay to the north of Perth.

This commitment to Western Australian building extended beyond the factory too. Gyprock faced strong opposition from established Plasterglass producers in Perth, referring to the relatively new board as ‘paper board’ so in response Gyprock gave builders and installers guided tours of the new facility to bolster confidence in plasterboard. In addition, teams from NSW were brought over to train and educate installers who upon completing the course became known as ‘30 day wonders.’ CSR Gyprock soon became the bulk plasterboard supplier for many former Plasterglass customers.

gyprock perth production line 1971

To this day Gyprock remains proudly (West) Australian Made, having just recently been certified by the Australian Made Campaign as part of an ongoing commitment to Australian manufacturing jobs.

“We are very proud to have manufactured more than 200 million square metres of Gyprock plasterboard at our Welshpool factory over the past 50 years, most of which would still be installed and doing its job in WA homes, offices, hospitals, schools and the like.” says Brendon Cave, Gyprock Regional General Manager.

gyprock perth plant aerial view

Gyprock’s Welshpool site now employs over 80 people and produces more than 5 million m2 of board on average every year, enough to cover the playing field of Perth’s Optus Stadium nearly 300 times.

“As a manufacturer producing a quality Australian made product” continues Brendon, “we have created employment and career opportunities for thousands of West Australians.”