The earliest beginnings of Bairnsteel can be traced back to 1963 when Roland Cox left the timber mill that he worked at and started out building and contracting as a sole trader.
Roland had started working at the sawmill on leaving Bairnsdale Technical School (c. 1946), and after many years working up through the various levels in the business he started to manufacture and build timber framed farm buildings which were clad with a vertical timber paling (similar to a fence) and many of them can still be seen around the district.
The building and contracting business he started in 1963 covered a wide variety of work including building, carpentry, renovations, painting, roofing, stove installations and any other tasks that came to hand.
Roland’s eldest son Murray was growing up during this time and gained some experience while helping his father with this work.
Towards the end of 1969 and after studying various trade subjects, Murray was offered a fitting and turning apprenticeship with an industrial supplies company in Bairnsdale and left school at the age of 14 to take up this employment. While completing the four and a half year apprenticeship he completed welding courses and also gained some knowledge of industrial supplies, welding equipment, pumps & small engines.
Upon completing his apprenticeship, Murray was encouraged by Roland to join him in the building and contracting business, and did so in September 1974.
Conditions were no doubt difficult back then in a small country town and they had no capital, but Murray did own a residential block which his mother had encouraged him to buy and pay off, and indeed had scrimped and saved herself to give Murray the money for the deposit. Murray sold this block in late 1974 and purchased an industrial allotment in 1975 in Lawless Street, where Bairnsteel is still situated today.
Roland and Murray secured an agency for steel framed garages from a firm in the Latrobe Valley, put up some display sheds and started to sell and erect these sheds (and also sold trailers for the same firm), however it wasn’t long before they encountered problems with supply and they then engaged an engineer to design their own lines and make their own improvements to the designs.
They started their small manufacturing operations in the small display sheds, and their ethic was to build the products well, as though they were for themselves, and this paid off as they always had work through word of mouth recommendation – a very good and cheap form of advertising!
In 1977 the business name Bairnsteel Constructions was first registered, and the first factory was errected.
Gradually over the years the business shifted more to steel sales rather than the fabrication and by 2005 basically finished up onsite work.
In July 2009 a significant progression occurred as the business went from a full manual paperwork system to a fully computerized system – Jim2, designed & built by Happen Business in Sydney. This was a quantum leap forward, offering live inventory management and many other benefits, and Jim2 is now the central core and key platform of all our business operations.