High-Tech Industries

High-Tech Industries developed in Tasmania from the 1970s. Technopark, established at Glenorchy in 1988, is a centre. Among its industries are Moonraker, which Chris Edwards established in 1971 as a specialist antenna company to provide communications, and expanded into oceanographic and environmental services providing such items as satellite-tracking free drifting buoys and global positioning equipment; Rick Gumley's Global Lightning Technologies (1975), which designed and made protection against unexpected lightning strikes, and in 1997 merged with the American firm ERICO; Zelcon Technic, founded in 1990 by Ana and Miron Nicolau to provide electronics design and manufacture; and Longman Optical, a precision optical manufacturer in the field of visible light optics, the only southern hemisphere firm which can polish and recoat camera elements with magnesium fluoride. It developed from Eric Waterworth's original company.

In Launceston, WA Cromarty, established in the late 1970s, makes industrial process control systems and instrumentation, with offices in Brisbane and Hobart; Haywards Steel Fabrication constructs towers for wind farms, among other items; and Marcom Watson implements new technology in the marine, industrial and communications areas. To the west at Devonport, Minecom provides communications for mines in most continents, with a second factory in Durban, and Delta Hydraulics, started in 1971 by John White, makes vital parts for hydraulics and exports all round the Pacific. Dynamic Automations Systems, set up in Burnie in 2000, creates Caterpillar tractors which can read the terrain as they move round mines. These are only a few examples of Tasmania's many innovative high-technical industries.

Further reading: A Alexander, Glenorchy 19641998, Glenorchy, 1998; 'Making it in Tasmania', Mercury, 22 August 2004; 'Tasmanian industry 2004', Examiner, 24 August 2004.

Alison Alexander