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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 9

I Introduction

II The Australian Chemical Industry

III Pharmaceuticals

IV Chemists In Other Industries

V The Dawn Of Modern Chemical Industry - High Pressure Synthesis

VI The Growth Of Synthetic Chemicals - Concentration, Rationalisation And International Links
i Phenothiazine for Australia's sheep and cattle
ii Some innovative organic syntheses
iii Factory R&D

VII Australian Industrial Chemical Research Laboratories

VIII The Plastics Industry

IX The Paint Industry

X Acknowledgements



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The Growth Of Synthetic Chemicals - Concentration, Rationalisation And International Links (continued)

In 1936 ICI Australia entered the general chemicals business in earnest; it acquired the chemical plant of C. F. & C.'s Yarraville operation (C. F. & C. retained superphosphate and mineral acids) and built up a series of derivative products around its electrolytic caustic chlorine plant. To bring Albright and Wilson's phosphorus know-how into Australia, ICI Australia invited them to a joint venture on the Yarraville site (1940). Another joint venture (Newcastle Chemicals) was formed with BHP, for the production of ammonium chloride and hydrochloric acid (for BHP's galvanising plant) and of phthalic anhydride for plasticisers.

The scope of development at Yarraville and Newcastle was limited by sites and markets. After prolonged planning, expansion into New South Wales was accelerated by the war and construction of a sizeable complex at Botany began in 1940. The factory consisted of a modern mercury cell caustic/chlorine plant, around which a series of derivative plants was developed progressively: Carbon tetrachloride, tri- and perchlorethylene, acids, salts and carbon bisulphide for flotation agents (xanthates). Eventually petrochemical plants were added and the factory grew to become the largest chemical complex in Australia under single management with a total investment of over SA800 million. Yarraville also expanded, but much more modestly: Benzenehexachloride, DDT, aniline, diphenylamine and weedkiller plants were added in the forties and fifties.

The war years and post-war expansion provided challenges and opportunities for the new generation of industrial chemists and engineers and produced many original contributions. Only examples can be singled out here.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Albright and Wilson (Australia) Pty Ltd, Yarraville; Commonwealth Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd (C.F.& C.), Yarraville, Vic.; I.C.I. Australia Ltd; Newcastle Chemicals

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© 1988 Print Edition page 675, Online Edition 2000
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