One of our earliest ancestor companies, Walkers Limited, first started building ships in Maryborough, Queensland, in the 1870s. The Maryborough shipyard was a significant asset to Australia during World War II, constructing three frigates, seven corvettes and a range of smaller vessels. After the war, it continued to build smaller military ships until the shipyards closed in 1974.
The Maryborough shipyards were a short walk from Walkers’ Maryborough rollingstock facility, a site that Downer still occupies to this day. When the shipyards closed, many employees moved to the rollingstock facility – and a few of them are still there today, working for Downer.
The company that would buy Walkers Limited in 1980, Evans Deakin Industries, also has a history steeped in ship building.
Evans Deakin Industries (EDI), which merged with Downer in 2001 to form Downer EDI, first provided ship repair services in Brisbane in the 1920s. Following the outbreak of war in 1939, EDI quickly established a shipyard at Kangaroo Point, where they built a range of ships for the Australian Navy during the war.
Our maritime links run deep, and while they are sometimes an over-looked part of the Downer story, we’re proud of our ship-building history and our service to Australia during World War II.
And now, as the Commonwealth of Australia embarks on the most significant national shipbuilding enterprise since World War II, Downer is again uniquely positioned to provide services that will help protect Australia’s security.
The naval shipbuilding program will require partners with true sovereign defence industrial capability. Downer Defence Systems is an authentically Australian company that is part of the Downer Group, building on our long history of supporting Defence that dates back to the construction of those vessels during World War II.
“Our ancestor companies have been building and sustaining Australian ships for more than 150 years,” Downer Defence Systems CEO, Michael Miller, said. “This legacy stands alongside more than 75 years of continuous engagement with the ADF, during which time we have evolved our capability to meet Australia’s defence needs.”
The Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan outlines a number of key enablers for the plan to succeed. These include workforce growth and development, a sustainable and competitive Australian industrial base, and a national collaborative approach.
“These are all principles that are embedded in Downer Defence Systems,” Miller said.
“Downer Defence Systems has deep expertise across all stages of the Defence Capability Lifecycle and can be relied on to support the Australian warfighter without compromise – in the air, on land, or at sea.”