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Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association

Pioneer Water Tanks: The Strength of Australian Steel

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Steel monuments litter the Australian outback, from water tanks in Brisbane, to windmills in Katherine, stock sheds in New South Wales, and farmhouse roofs in Western Australia.

So iconic is the look of steel in Australia, when we hosted the Olympic Games back in 2000, we even dedicated part of the Opening Ceremony to the ‘Tin Symphony,” a love letter to the steel and metallic structures all across this expansive and diverse country of ours.

Today, Australia is the world’s largest iron ore exporter, helping fuel infrastructure and building advancements all across the world. But this wasn’t always the case. So how did we get to this point?

Australia’s path to becoming the king of steel

Iron ore was first discovered in Australia in 1840, in Iron Knob, South Australia. This discovery was the building block of what was set to become the booming industry we see today.

However, it would take a while to be realised, as the settlers at the time were only able to turn the iron ore they uncovered into pig metal, which didn’t compare to the strength and hardiness of the English product, and efforts were abandoned by 1870.

In the 1850’s the Australian desire to build with corrugated steel sheets had been truly realised, and homes, sheds and even churches were being built from the revolutionary lightweight material.

Australia quickly became the world’s largest consumer of steel for building supplies, importing shiploads of the product from Britain in order to fuel the rapidly growing nation’s needs.

In the early 1900’s however, thanks to Australians returning from overseas studies, and a greater domestic technical know-how, steel manufacturing facilities were built in Newcastle and Port Kembla.

This spark reignited the flame of the iron ore mining industry, which, when paired with Australia’s large coal deposits, meant that it was possible to manufacture large amounts of high-quality steel in the country, as well as export supplies overseas, bolstering the economy, and growing domestic businesses into international powerhouses.

What this means for your water tank

Access to high-quality steel also means high-quality local manufacturing. In 1988, Pioneer Water tanks sought to improve the water storage industry through a combination of Australian innovation and engineering, alongside locally sourced quality manufacturing materials.

Armed with the belief that Australian made products are superior to imported ones, Pioneer Water Tanks use only Australian made BlueScope Colorbond® and Zincalume® steel in the production of their water tanks, the walls of which are engineered up to 2mm thick and designed to put the steel where your tank needs it the most.

The profile of these tank walls was an improvement on the existing standard corrugated iron being used in tanks across the nation at that point and was designed with the specific purpose of water storage in mind.

The roof and trusses used in the water tank are also manufactured from Australian steel, and all Pioneer Water Tanks are installed by authorised local installers – many of which are family-owned businesses, keeping the chain of Australian quality going from when the iron is dug out of the ground in Australia, to when it is placed back on the ground in your backyard.

Zincalume® and Colorbond® Steel

What many Australians might refer to as corrugated iron or tin, is these days more often than not Zincalume® Steel; a lightweight steel alloy primarily composed of Aluminium and Zinc. While the appearance of this product has remained the same over the years, significant advances have been made to improve the strength, durability and environmental impact of the product.

Next Generation Zincalume® Steel began production in 2013, which saw substantial improvements for environmental impact and strength, thanks to the addition of a new magnesium compound which results in a tougher protective coating.

Colorbond® Steel has had a similar trajectory. First appearing on the scene in 1966, after the Chicago based Lithostrip Corporation and Pre Finish Metals finalised their mission to produce a steel product that wouldn’t require frequent repainting after prolonged exposure to the Australian sun.

The new generation of Colorbond® also features improved environmental impact and better durability, similar to the Zincalume® sheets, but also includes new Thermatech® technology which helps reduce the amount of heat that can permeate the steel, making it ideal for homes, sheds and water storage.

Zincalume® and Colorbond® products also possess the cradle to cradle potential that exists in all quality steel products; meaning that not only are they made from partly recycled materials, but once they have reached the end of their service life, they can go on to be recycled and reused multiple times.

Quality water storage solutions for your home, farm or station

All Pioneer Water Tanks are manufactured using Australian made Zincalume® or Colorbond® steel and feature all the above benefits of these products, as well as the made for purpose Pioneer V-Lock® tank wall profile and Aqualiner Fresh® antimicrobial water tank liner.

Pioneer Water Tanks are available in a range of sizes to suit any purpose, from the small GT10 12kL water tank, up to the GT280 276kL water tank, with a host of sizes in between.

To ensure that you get the best tank for your needs, they are also available in a range of nine standard Colorbond® colours, and ten non-standard Colorbond colours.

All Pioneer Water Tanks come with a 20-year conditional warranty and are installed by one of 50 authorised Pioneer Dealer Direct Network members across the country, ensuring that you have peace of mind in the quality and longevity of your water storage solutions.

For a zero cost, obligation free quote today, visit

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