Celebrating an Icon

Celebrating an Icon

Issue 1: September 2017

Rheem Australia – proudly manufacturing for 80 years


From humble beginnings as a small drum business, to Australia’s largest appliance manufacturer, Rheem Australia is proud to be celebrating 80 years of Australian manufacturing. Over the years, we have become an iconic household name renowned for quality, excellence and reliability - not to mention ‘steady, hot and strong’ hot water. And we have remained committed to the manufacturing sector here in Australia.

A little bit of history


Rheem Australia began as a drum manufacturer in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo in 1937. Two years later, BHP purchased a 50% stake in the company to supply the Australian steel used in all of our manufacturing. It was the beginning of an association that endured for many years and was a contributing factor in our ongoing success.

With BHP on board, we began manufacturing gas storage water heaters – one of the foundations of the business – followed by electric water heaters in 1945.

During World War II Rheem played a vital role, producing a range of products including small drums, boom defence buoys, bombs, smoke containers, shells, aircraft parts, machine tools, ammunition boxes, and ships’ tanks. It was also a time when Rheem expanded its products, production plants and employment base.

When the war ended in 1945, Rheem set about finding ways to put this production capacity and experience to peacetime use. Post WWII, we expanded our operation across the country, opening plants in Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle and Adelaide. And in 1952 we established a new plant at Rydalmere in NSW, where our main operation continues to be based.


Investing in the future


Rheem’s long commitment to Australian manufacturing includes research and development. Since we opened the Rheem Rydalmere research centre in 1971, we have continued to invest in R&D and develop new water heaters designed for a broad range of locations and applications.

Today we manufacture a diverse range of gas, electric and solar water heaters to suit an equally diverse range of domestic, industrial and commercial installations to suit Australian conditions.

The recent focus on renewable solutions has also seen Rheem develop its next generation water heaters. We have played a major role in facilitating the transition in Australia to more energy efficient and environmentally friendly water heating solutions.

“Rheem is an Australian manufacturing success story – and with innovative new technology will continue to be a big part of the country’s future,” says Rheem’s COO Chris Taylor.

“We’re focused on producing water heaters which deliver a broad range of benefits, while meeting our own stringent standards of quality and durability.”


Investing in industry


Rheem also remains committed to keeping manufacturing here in Australia. We have manufacturing facilities in NSW and Victoria and employ over 1,000 people. Over 50% of Rheem Australia employees are engaged directly in manufacturing.

In celebrating 80 years in business, Rheem also gives back to the many supporters who have been such an integral part of the company’s success. As an example, the Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants program, which we launched to celebrate our 75th anniversary, continues to go from strength to strength.

“We’ve been working alongside Australian plumbers since Rheem’s inception and continue to help provide grassroots assistance to foster the talent within this vital industry,” Chris explains.


For 80 years Rheem Australia has been leading the way in water heater manufacturing. Over the decades we have developed a suite of products in a range of capacities to suit industrial and commercial requirements. Just contact us on 132 552 and we can advise the best solution for your needs.


Rheem Australia: at a glance


  • Rheem has manufacturing facilities in New South Wales and Victoria and employs over 1,000 people in Australia
  • Over 50% of Rheem Australia employees are engaged directly in manufacturing
  • Rheem is the largest manufacturer of water heaters in Australia and offers the widest range of water heater types
  • There are around eight million water heaters in Australia, and approximately half of these have been manufactured by Rheem Australia