inveSting in our future
RHEEM MAGAZINE ISSUE 14 WINTER 2012
Steady, hot and strong
in our future
Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants
New industry e-mentoring program
A DAY IN THE LIFE
ABC Radio personality
becomes plumber for a day
COMES ON STEADY, HOT AND STRONG
Kickstart your plumbing
apprenticeship with $1000*.
To celebrate 75 years of manufacturing in Australia and working alongside Australian plumbers,
we’re giving away 75 x $1,000 grants as part of the Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants*.
Submissions close 15 August 2012, so get cracking.
Visit our website and apply today www.rheem.com.au/apprentice.
AUSTRALIA’S NO. 1
*Eligibility criteria applies. Refer to the Rheem website www.rheem.com.au/apprentice for full details.
WELCOME TO THE LATEST ISSUE OF INSTALLA
2012 is a momentous year for Rheem Australia.
We celebrate 75 years of manufacturing in
Australia, starting from humble beginnings
in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo in 1937.
Along the way we diversified. During WWII
Rheem played a vital manufacturing role and
during the 1940s we expanded significantly.
Today we are the largest appliance
manufacturer in Australia, manufacturing over
70% of all Australian made water heaters.
Within this issue of Installa we take a quick look
at the history of Rheem Australia, from the early
days to the expansion into the next generation
of water heaters – sustainable solutions.
It’s been an amazing journey and to celebrate
this achievement we want to give back to the
many supporters who have been such an
integral part of our success.
To this end, we outline two major initiatives we
are launching as part of our 75th anniversary
– the Rheem Apprentice Youth E-mentoring
Scheme and the Rheem Apprentice Plumber
Apprentices are the future of the plumbing
industry, and in this issue of Installa we also
speak with a commercial plumbing group in
Melbourne about its investment in apprentices.
We hope you enjoy this milestone issue
and, as always, welcome any feedback.
Just email [email protected]
Rheem remains at the forefront of continuous flow hot water systems with
its new Rheem 27 6 Star, offering customers the surety of an extra litre of
hot water when they need it, together with 6 star savings.
The Rheem 27 6 Star saves on energy every day and an extra litre is added
reassurance that customers won’t run out of hot water, delivering hot water
on demand. Like the regular Rheem 27, it’s easy to install; no new technology
to learn, so it’s fast in and out without having to worry about a call back.
Rheem has expanded its Loline Solar range offering to include high
performance, selective surface HBT collectors. With copper risers and
a blue sputtered selective surface, the HBT collector delivers better
efficiency over the standard NPT range, reflected in the higher number
of STCs allocated to these systems.
NPT collectors are perfect for warmer climates and where there’s a north
facing installation. However, where north-facing roof space is not available,
or in cooler or moderate climates (zones 3 and 4) HBT collectors can
be the solution. While high performing collectors can generate higher
STCs, customer requirements and the specific application should always
be reviewed in system selection, not just STC values, to avoid overtemperature issues.
For more information on the new systems and STCs, visit
AT MPA AWARDS
Rheem is a star in more ways than one! The Rheem 24 7 Star Equivalent –
Australia’s most energy efficient continuous flow hot water system –
was named 2011 Energy Saving Product of the Year at the annual Master
Plumbers Association Awards for Excellence in Western Australia, announced
late last year.
John Wilkins, Rheem’s Group Product Manager high efficiency gas says the
award further highlights that Rheem is at the forefront of energy efficiency
research and development. “The Rheem 24 7 Star Equivalent achieves its
7 Star Equivalent energy efficiency through innovative design – it ticks all
the boxes,” he says.
“With its high efficiency design and reduced energy use, it’s setting new
standards in continuous flow, incorporating the very latest in Rheem’s
advanced hot water technology. This product meets Rheem’s environmental
objectives in reducing home energy consumption and reducing water
wastage – plus it’s highly recyclable at end of life.”
Rob Dalrymple of Rheem (left) accepting the award from Hon. Peter Collier
MLC, Minister for Energy; Training and Workforce Development (right)
Rheem Australia is marking 75 years in business with a dynamic new website.
The new site has been developed in conjunction with expert web developers,
consumers and key stakeholders within Rheem to ensure a positive online
experience. It provides both industry professionals and home owners with
the latest product information, facts, figures and product data, which are
now presented in a format that is more appealing and easier to understand.
Along with a fresh new look, the site has seven easy-to-navigate sections
– Home Page, Hot Water, Boiling and Chilled Water, Trade, News and
Promotions, Customer Service, and About Rheem. It also includes some
exciting features to help make choosing and maintaining a water heater
easier, such as:
• ‘Ask Steve’: an interactive, online question/answer tool, which is designed
to provide an intuitive level of help for users who have a question or don’t
know what they need.
• Rheem Running Cost Calculator: this helps consumers estimate running
costs of various water heater types.
• Rebate calculator: calculates which government rebates and incentives are
available depending on the area where homeowners live and the type of
system they’re looking to install. There is also information on rebates and
financial incentives available.
• Troubleshooting guide: this is provided in an FAQ style, and there are also
downloadable owners’ guides on specific Rheem products.
now has 7-year
extra cylinder warranty
Rheem Australia has bolstered the warranty period for its
entire electric storage range by an extra two years.
The range, including the 25L and 50L models, now comes with a 7-year
cylinder warranty. And unlike many other producers, all of Rheem branded
electric hot water systems are actually made in Australia.
“Given the Rheem 25L and 50L systems are predominantly installed under
the sink in small apartments, the additional warranty period is good news
for landlords and managing agents because it provides surety and peace of
mind when replacing units,” says Rheem Product Manager John Wilkins.
In addition to the longer warranty, Rheem’s 25 and 50L electric models have
a number of other benefits vs competitors including:
- More standard element sizes (1.8 – 3.6kW)
- The ability to handle the pressure (without the need for a PLV) – 1400kPa
- They’re Australian made
And for customers seeking an even longer warranty on large electric
water heaters (250L+), Rheem Optima® continues to offer a 10 year
CALL FOR MENTORS
Page to Get
Calling all experienced plumbers
and gas fitters to join a new life
changing E-mentoring program.
2012 is a year of celebration for
Rheem Australia as the iconic brand
marks its 75th anniversary. Right
across the country, Rheem will be
hosting a number of major events
and launching new programs
designed to give back to and thank
the Australian plumbing community
for its ongoing and loyal support.
At the heart of these celebrations
is a new and exciting E-mentoring
initiative called the Rheem
Apprentice Youth E-mentoring
Scheme – or RAYES – launched in
partnership with one of Australia’s
leading not-for-profit community
services organisations, Campbell
Campbell Page provides
employment, disability and
community services to a diverse
range of people including some of
Australia’s most disadvantaged.
It’s an organisation dedicated to
‘Getting Australia Working’ by
helping people overcome barriers to
employment, completing education,
gaining workplace skills and finding
and keeping a job.
And its focus on increasing and
maintaining the numbers of
apprentices is a key priority.
Do you have a spare 15
minutes a week?
For 75 years,
Rheem has worked
we continue to
enjoy a successful
says Gareth Jennings,
Rheem’s GM Corporate Marketing
and Public Affairs. “That’s why our
partnership with Campbell Page
and our new E-mentoring program
is so important: it’s about taking
his relationship one step further
by investing in our skills future.”
And at a time when the National
Centre for Vocational Education
Research is reporting that “For
trade apprentices, the trend
indicates that contract completion
rates will hover around 46%” both
Rheem and Campbell Page intend
to explore ways to improve this
outlook, particularly for plumbing
and gas fitting apprentices.
An exciting new initiative to help lift
apprenticeship completion rates will
be to make e-mentors available to
apprentices who believe they may
benefit from regular contact with and
advice from people who have “been
there, done that” in the plumbing
and gas fitting trades – and with the
advent of web based technologies,
connecting mentors and mentees
from across Australia has never been
easier. Campbell Page’s secure
E-mentoring website will do just that
and more, providing an advanced
platform from which the program will
take shape and grow.
Without the need for face-to-face
meetings – all communication
takes place online – a mentor only
needs to dedicate 15 minutes to the
program each week.
“If you’re a current or retired plumber
and gas fitter or trade industry
teacher, we would love to hear from
you. As a mentor, you will receive
appropriate training and will be
matched as closely as possible
with the profiles of mentees,”
“Rheem is dedicated to this valuable
initiative and we encourage potential
mentors to come forward to offer
their support,” says Gareth.
For only 15 minutes a
week, an experienced
RAYES mentor will:
• Assist mentees by being
a positive role model
• Develop quality relationships
based on trust, respect,
• Help mentees to recognise
their own strengths
• Motivate mentees to realise
• Provide a sounding board
• Assist with problem solving
techniques and goal setting
To find out how you can
become a RAYES mentor,
for further information.
Rheem celebrates 75 years with 75 $1,000 apprentice grants up
As part of its 75 year celebration,
Rheem Australia is investing in
skills development with the launch
of its Rheem Apprentice Plumber
Grants. Seventy-five $1,000 grants
are available this year for apprentice
plumbers most in need of some
additional financial support.
“It goes without saying that young
people entering the plumbing
profession at apprentice level
really are the future of the industry,”
says Matt Sexton, CEO Rheem
Australia. “But we know it can be
tough financially, especially for
apprentices just starting out, and
many do not go on to complete
their training. We therefore
encourage all current plumbing
apprentices across Australia to
apply for these grants and hope
they will make a real difference for
those who are selected.”
Applications for the Rheem
Apprentice Plumber Grants open
15th May 2012 and close 15th
August 2012, with the recipients
announced 28th September
2012. Apprentices can nominate
themselves or their employer can
do so. As part of the process,
TAFE and Registered Training
Organisation teachers will be
contacted as a reference check.
In order to ensure the grants
are awarded fairly, a panel of
independent industry experts
will judge all applications, facilitated
by Rheem’s national product
Training Manager, Tony Djodan.
“These grants are a token of
Rheem’s appreciation for all the
young people entering the industry,”
says Tony. “Each application will
be assessed on its own merit and
we look forward to announcing the
recipients in September.”
For more information on the Rheem
Apprentice Plumber Grants or to
download an application form,
head to the Rheem website
a worldclass facility
Rheem to keep leading Australian
research institute TRI’s seamless
supply of hot water
The impressive new Translational Research Institute (TRI)
in Brisbane will see Australia play a leading role in
international efforts to fight infectious diseases, cancer
With room for over 650 researchers, numerous laboratories and areas
for research support, administration and teaching, in addition to
Australia’s first large biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility, the TRI
will be one of only a few places worldwide where new medicines and
treatments can be researched, discovered, produced, clinically tested,
and manufactured, all in one location.
TRI is the vision of Professor Ian Frazer as CEO and Director of
Research. Professor Frazer is internationally renowned for being
the co-inventor - with the late Dr Jian Zhou - of the HPV vaccine
against cervical cancer.
Funding of TRI has been made possible through grants from
Australian and Queensland Governments, The Atlantic
Philanthropies, UQ and QUT.
TRI FACT FILE
A joint venture between The University of Queensland Diamantina
Institute, Queensland University of Technology Institute of Health
and Biomedical Innovation, Mater Medical Institute and Princess
Alexandra Hospital Centres for Health Research.
An Australian-first initiative, bringing leading medical researchers,
clinical trials and commercialisation together in one location. This
world-class facility will support medical research and its translation
into ground breaking health treatments.
Spanning seven stories with four floors dedicated purely to
laboratories, this state of the art $354 million building incorporates
a complex, energy efficient plumbing and hot water system,
designed to meet the unique demands of the institute.
Focused very much on sustainability, the University of Queensland
required a technologically advanced, environmentally responsible hot
water system, capable of operating with minimal energy costs. And
the University was keen to make the renewable elements visible on
the building to demonstrate its renewable initiatives.
Rheem therefore specified a large commercial heat pump and
solar plant to cater for hot water demand across multiple building
zones. The innovative, bespoke system includes 72 solar collectors
and three commercial heat pumps.
Today, lead plumbing company Christopher Contracting has a
dedicated team of 15 plumbers on site, and is working in partnership
with Rheem and Tradelink Projects to install the Rheem solution. The
successful project has not been without its challenges as meticulous
co-ordination at every step of the way has been paramount.
“The lack of storage space at the TRI for the sheer volume of water
heater products was our first issue to be resolved,” says Glenn
Bowyer, project supervisor for Christopher Contracting. “We’ve had
to arrange and co-ordinate an external storage facility and work
within tight spatial constraints onsite, where every millimetre is
The TRI is being built on the campus of Prince Alexandra
Hospital, Queensland’s second largest hospital, in Woolloongabba
Scheduled for completion in late 2012.
Watpac Construction and Development, Christopher Contracting,
Rheem Australia, Opus Engineering Queensland.
HOT WATER AT THE READY
Allan Ramsay, Rheem’s QLD commercial sales manager agrees:
“The TRI project is certainly complex and a lot of work has been
required to ensure that everything fits and functions to our
specifications within limited space.
© Wilson Architects + Donovan Hill
“We’ve worked very closely onsite with Christopher Contracting,
the builder and architect to install products that intertwine with
requirements of AS3500 Part 4 for hot water and AS5601 for gas,
across multiple plant types, controls, pumps, pipes and layouts.”
“Thanks to our coherent team work, however, everything is going
really well with the project and we look forward to completion later
on this year.”
Meet 31-year-old Damian Kelly, mature age fourth year
Christopher Contracting plumbing apprentice working on
the TRI project.
WHAT’S YOUR ROLE ON THE TRI PROJECT?
I’m one of two Christopher Contracting apprentices on the TRI site,
involved with all aspects of plumbing, from drainage and rough-ins to
sewers, hot water and stormwater.
WHAT ARE YOU ENJOYING THE MOST ABOUT YOUR
It would have to be working in the commercial plumbing sector, as I
get to experience a broad spectrum of plumbing work. I’m constantly
learning and improving my skills and understanding of the various
plumbing systems and it’s rewarding to see how this growing
knowledge base is going to benefit my future career.
RHEEM HOT WATER SOLUTION
• 72 x Rheem NPT solar hot water
• 8 x Rheem 1,500 litre stainless
steel storage tanks
• 5 x Rheem Model 613/315 triple
element heavy duty electric
• 3 x Rheem Model 953/022
commercial heat pumps
• 2 x Rheem Model 610/430
• 1 x Rheem/Raypak Model BO
507 NCO/ID commercial water
• Associated Rheem system
components & controls
WHY CHRISTOPHER CONTRACTING?
I’ve had a lot of experience with other companies that just don’t have
the care factor when it comes to their apprentices. Christopher
Contracting however is different and is at the forefront when it comes
to apprenticeships, offering a variety of training and taking a real
interest in our education. Building good relationships creates good
workers and that’s something Christopher Contracting does really well.
WHY DID YOU START YOUR APPRENTICESHIP AT A
With a background in music and various other projects, I worked for a
number of plumbing companies over the years, but I soon realised
that there was only so much I could do without my licence. It took me
a while to decide what I wanted to do, but I’m now focused on
pursuing a long and varied plumbing career and love every minute.
I’m constantly learning
and improving my skills
and understanding of
the various plumbing
systems and it’s rewarding
to see how this growing
knowledge base is going to
benefit my future career.
Australia has always been an inventive place, yet ask the average
Joe what Australia is famous for and you might get “Skippy” or if
you’re really lucky, “Sport”! Every day throughout the world over a
billion people rely heavily on Australian inventions. In honour of
the 75th anniversary of Rheem, here are some other true-blue
HAPPY LITTLE VEGEMITES
Love it or hate it, that sticky brown paste has been part of Australian
households since being introduced by food technologist Dr Cyril
Callister in 1923. The Fred Walker Company which produced, sold
and exported cheese (and eventually became Kraft Foods Ltd), hired
Callister in 1922 to create a foodstuff from waste brewer’s yeast obtained from
Melbourne’s Carlton and United Breweries. And so Vegemite was born! The
first jar of the product, now known as Vegemite, was labeled “pure vegetable
extract.” Today we consume almost 23 million jars of Vegemite a year and the
dark spread is found on one out of every three sandwiches eaten.
Speedo has been synonymous with
Australia’s beach and swimming
culture since its birth in 1928.
Sydney-sider Peter Travis was
approached by Speedo in 1960
to produce a range of men’s
leisure and swimwear which gave
birth to Speedo’s famous ‘budgie
smugglers’! Peter Travis became a
Member of the Order of Australia in
2008 for his Speedo invention — or
as the Sydney Morning Herald put it,
“For creating the nation’s best-loved
stretch of nylon”. Travis invented
the skimpy bathing costume while
working for Speedo in 1961 and
today it is exported all over the world.
Originally designed in
Australia in the 1960s, the Wiltshire
Staysharp knife was a world first
then – and is still the only selfsharpening knife in the market.
Recently the new MK4 collection,
which now includes not just knives,
but scissors and knife blocks
too, was awarded an Australian
International Design Award in
recognition of design and
Did you know?
Vegemite was the
first product to
scanned at a
in Australia? In
April 1984, a 115g
jar of Vegemite
priced at 66 cents
was scanned in
Chullora in Sydney.
Invented by Mervyn Victor
Richardson in a backyard
shed in the Sydney suburb
of Concord, the Victa lawn mower this
year celebrates its 60th anniversary.
Although Richardson had developed
rotating reel mowers for his son’s
mowing business, in August 1952 he
decided to make a rotary lawn mower
similar to the Mowhall, using a Villiers
two-stroke engine mounted on its side
but utilising a lighter base plate, allowing
use by a single operator. He wanted it to
be cheaper, lighter and more powerful.
The first Victa was called the ‘peach tin
prototype,’ so named because it was
made out of scrap metal with a peach
tin used as a fuel tank. In late 2011 Victa
produced its 8 millionth lawn mower at
its Moorebank Sydney factory.
Hot, hot, hot water.
3-pass flue system
only available on
Rheem STELLAR .
Patented 3-pass flue system
for greater efficiency
•Superior hot water recovery of 200L/Hour*
•330L or 360L first hour capacity* – enough
hot water for the largest family
• 10 Year Warranty ^
• Australian made
COMES ON STEADY, HOT AND STRONG.
AUSTRALIA’S NO. 1
® Registered trademark of Rheem Australia Pty Ltd. *At 45oC rise. ^10 year Cylinder and Superflue parts warranty, 5 year Cylinder
and Superflue labour warranty, 1 year parts and labour on all other components for Domestic (non-Commercial) installations.
Taking on an apprentice can be a rewarding experience for
both you and your business. Installa gives you the lowdown
on where to start.
No matter what industry you’re in, investing in training through an Australian
Apprenticeship can provide your business with real benefits and contribute
to your bottom line. Not only are you investing in your business, you’re also
investing in the future of your community and your industry.
As no two businesses are the same, Australian Apprenticeships have
been designed to be flexible, while at the same time providing nationally
recognised quality training developed by industry for industry. In the
plumbing industry, there’s a lot of competition for apprenticeships, so it’s
definitely worth while making sure you follow the right steps to find someone
who’s dedicated and committed for the longterm. Don’t forget, there are
also a range of financial incentives now available for taking on an apprentice
and ensuring they complete their trade.
Where do I start?
If you’re looking for an apprentice plumber to join your team,
Australian Apprenticeships is the place to start. The website
www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au contains a wealth of valuable
information and resources. Next step is to contact your nearest Australian
Apprenticeship Centre where they will answer any questions you may have.
Once you’ve found an apprentice, they will then make the apprenticeships
actually happen for you and will take care of all the necessary paperwork.
How do I find an apprentice?
You make all the hiring decisions when it comes to taking on an apprentice
directly through your business. If you don’t have enough work for an
ongoing or full-time position, group training organisations such as Master
Plumbers Apprentices in NSW (www.mpal.com.au) can organise for you
to share an apprentice with another business. You can also engage an
apprentice part-time while he or she is still at school through an Australian
There are a number of ways to find an Australian
Rheem’s Training Manager, Tony Djodan, answers your
questions on all things hot water. Email Tony with any
queries you might have at:
Can your continuous flow outdoor LPG water heater
Rheem 12 - 874012 be installed on a dwelling above the
Paul, Braidwood NSW
Firstly, all Rheem Continuous Flow (CF) gas heaters are
protected down to -20 oC, although power supply MUST be
on at all times.
Please refer to the installation instructions draining the water
from the heater when on holidays OR if there’s no power
Secondly, I would strongly recommend something larger,
such as 24 or 27 litre model; the 12 litre model flow rate is
based on industry standards of 25oC rise. This means in
winter the heater will have to work much harder (because the
incoming cold water is much colder), so it may supply less.
(If incoming cold water is 5oC versus showering temperature
of 45oC = 40oC rise/difference)
The 12 litre model is normally used for single outlet
applications only and it may struggle to service a family
above the snowline.
My client has a large electric water heater in
their holiday house; most weeks they are there
3 to 4 nights a week. Is it more economical to turn the
heater off whilst away or leave it on? It is on night rate.
•Contact your local Job Services Australia provider
Bruce, Noosa Queensland
•Recruit someone you know or who has been recommended to you
As a general rule these heaters will lose 5oC per 24 hrs,
therefore it’s only cost effective to turn the heater off - if
you’re away for more than 6 days.
•Advertise the position in your local paper or on Australian Job Search,
Australia’s largest free online jobs board www.jobsearch.gov.au
•Employers looking specifically for indigenous employees can advertise a
job on the Indigenous Employment Service website
•Contact your local group training provider
• Contact your local TAFE
Your local Australian Apprenticeships Centre has all the information you
need about hiring an apprentice plumber. Call Australian Apprenticeships on
13 38 73 or visit the website for the details of your nearest centre.
(6 days x 5oC = 30oC 70 – 30oC = 40oC. 40 to 43oC is
normal showering temperature).
If the electric heater is turned off for more than 7 days and
it’s wired up to night rate, when the home owners arrive
back the water will not be hot enough for a shower. Indeed,
they will need to wait another full day before it’s up to full
temperature. If they can cope with this, turn the heater off.
OUT & ABOUT
Commercial plumbing specialist BP Plumbing is one of Australia’s most established plumbing firms. From major high rise and unit
development plumbing installations, to schools, shopping centres and hospitals, BP Plumbing has been making its mark for over 60 years.
Installa spoke to construction manager Chris Barrile about BP Plumbing’s investment in apprentices and the challenges they face today.
ow many apprentices does BP Plumbing
A: We have over 160 employees with 11 apprentices currently on board.
Five of these are first years who’ve only just started with us, as several
fourth years finished before Christmas.
hat sort of projects do the apprentices
A: Apprentices are allocated to the relevant project managers and we
generally like to rotate them as much as possible. This is particularly
the case with the first years who are finding their feet. One day they
could be on a construction site, the next working on prefabs or working
on domestic houses. We want to make sure the guys are exposed to
as many different elements of the business as possible early on to give
them a solid grounding in what we do.
ow important are apprentices to BP Plumbing
A: We’ve been around since 1958 and are successful at what we do,
with a lot of big projects on the go. We really believe that we have an
obligation to get kids trained up. We invest in our apprentices and treat
them fairly as we understand that we get a lot out of them in the long
term. 90% of our apprentices go on to work full time for BP Plumbing.
We even have some project managers with us today who started out
as young apprentices and are now running big sites. You basically get
out what you put in.
hat training does BP Plumbing offer
A: We firmly believe in offering a variety of on the job training. We teach
our apprentices to be plumbers rather than just an extra pair of hands.
We also offer other training as appropriate such as first aid courses,
scissor lift or boom lift tickets. We basically train them on an on-going
basis as and when needs be.
hat challenges do you think apprentices face
A: I’d say I get three to four calls a week from second and third year
apprentices who are stuck with a firm that’s treating them as labourers
and not paying them properly, or who have just been laid off because
the company they’re working for has gone bust. With the housing
market down 30% in Victoria alone, I believe the major challenge at the
moment is the lack of opportunity. There are lots of keen young people
out there but not enough good apprenticeships to go round.
o you think the industry needs to do more to
encourage more young people into the trade?
A: Not given the current market conditions, no. The one thing that would
be helpful for us in the commercial sector would be to introduce more
commercial onsite related training into the TAFE certificates and other
training centres – at the moment, they’re very domestic focused.
Rheem Australia – proudly manufacturing for 75 years.
AT A GLANCE
• Rheem has manufacturing
facilities in NSW, Victoria and
Western Australia and employs
around 1100 people in Australia
• Around 50% of Rheem
are engaged directly
• Rheem is the largest
manufacturer of water
heaters in Australia and offers
the widest range of water
• There are around eight million
water heaters in Australia, and
approximately half of these
have been manufactured by
• Rheem is a major exporter and
each year exports products to
over 70 countries
• Rheem is the largest local user
of steel outside of Australian
using around 155 tonnes of
steel per day
• All R&D for Rheem’s
locally made products is
• Rheem has been at the
forefront of driving the
development and acceptance
of sustainable and renewable
water heating solutions for
many years through the
Rheem, Solahart and
It was the year when legendary
cricketer Donald Bradman scored
270 (including 110 singles) in the
Australia vs England game at the
MCG (Australia retained The Ashes);
regular airmail services began
between Australia and the United
States; photographer Max Dupain
took his now-acclaimed photograph
Sunbaker; Olympic swimmer
Dawn Fraser and media baron
Kerry Packer were born; the longrunning radio serial Dad and Dave
premiered; the Spirit of Progress
express train began running from
Melbourne to Sydney – and it
was the year that Rheem began
manufacturing in Australia.
Seventy five years later, Rheem is
a household name and is as much
a part of the fabric of Australian
life as backyard cricket, the great
Aussie barbecue and lamingtons.
Essentially what was a drum
manufacturing business when
we began, had, by 1952, become
the largest manufacturer of water
heaters in the southern hemisphere.
Over the decades Rheem
has grown in reputation to be
synonymous with excellence,
reliability and ‘Steady, hot and
strong’ hot water. If you asked
Australians what Rheem stands
for, you’d likely get a rendition
of the ‘Install a Rheem’ jingle.
Today we are the largest appliance
manufacturer in Australia,
manufacturing over 70% of all
Australian made water heaters.
In a nutshell
We began manufacturing in the
Sydney suburb of Waterloo in 1937
and two years later BHP purchased
a 50% stake in our company and
supplied the Australian steel used
in all Rheem manufacturing. It was
the beginning of an association that
endured for many years and was a
contributing factor in our company’s
Two years later, in 1939, we began
manufacturing gas storage water
heaters – one of the mainstays
of our business – and this was
followed by electric water heaters
our CEO Matt Sexton. “We are
focused on producing water heaters
which deliver a broad range of
applications, while meeting our
own stringent standards of quality
During World War II Rheem played
a vital manufacturing role, producing
a range of products. It was also
a time when we expanded our
products, production plants and
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
Rheem’s long commitment to
Australian manufacturing includes
fostering research and development.
Since we opened the Rheem
research centre at Rydalmere 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
for an equally diverse range of
domestic, industrial and commercial
The nation’s – and world’s – 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 part of Australia –
and with innovative new technology
will continue to be a big part of
the country’s future too,” says
In celebrating its 75th anniversary,
Rheem is also giving back to the
many supporters who have been
such an integral part of our success.
As such, we have launched two
major initiatives – the Rheem
Apprentice Youth E-Mentoring
Scheme (see story on page 6)
and the Rheem Apprentice
Plumber Grant Scheme
(see story on page 7).
“We have been working alongside
Australian plumbers since Rheem’s
inception and we want to thank the
industry for its support,” Sexton
“To mark such an important
milestone, we are launching these
two schemes to help provide some
grassroots assistance to foster
the talent within this vital industry.
Both schemes are slanted towards
apprentice plumbers, because we
believe it’s important to invest in
building our skills future.”
Rheem Coppermatic stands
the test of time
A Rheem Coppermatic hot
water service in Victoria is
celebrating its 43rd Birthday this
year after being installed at the
Kerkhof household in May 1969.
ABC radio personality Richard Glover gets a ‘real job’
When Sydney radio presenter, author and writer
Richard Glover was told he had to get a real job (as
part of a radio promotion), it was probably opportune
the self-confessed Mr Fix-it was appointed an
“I took Richard on as an apprentice for the day to give
him a glimpse of what plumbing can be like,” admits
Maroubra plumber Cameron Marshall, who started his
business, Cam Plumbing, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs
10 years ago.
The day began well, with Richard arriving at Cam’s
place, bearing tasty treats – Danish pastries. “As a first
day apprentice, I sucked up to the boss by turning up
with baked goods from a nearby coffee shop,” he says.
“Schmoozing yes, but successful!”
Cam, who handles all types of plumbing, gas-fitting,
drainage and roofing, threw Richard into the deep
end, literally. “I gave him a shovel and we dug up
the side passage of a house to remove the existing
earthenware sewer and renew it in PVC. Richard dug,
cut pipes, removed old pipes and back filled trenches,
approximately 12 metres.”
Adds Richard: “My main issue was getting my head
around the fact that we had to dig up 12 metres of old
terracotta pipe as the first task of the morning. Twelve
metres? Could I have heard him right? I’ve done my
share of digging, but not at 6.30 in the morning. ‘Don’t
you have a backhoe for that?’ I asked Cam. ‘Yes’, he
said, ‘you and me.’”
But Richard rose to the challenge and according to Cam
he didn’t stop, asked plenty of questions and wanted to
try all the tools. “Richard was a great apprentice, very
eager, a quick learner and a very funny person.”
Luckily Cam was very patient and made sure his
apprentice was well prepared. “Cam was a great
teacher,” Richard says. “He is a very optimistic and
positive person – which, as I learnt, was pretty necessary
considering what the day brought.
“Cam gave me a pretty thorough safety briefing before
we went out and was very attentive that I kept my PPE
on. I’d pull off the gloves, or remove the headphones
despite needing to use the grinder. Hey, I’m in radio so
I’m half deaf already!”
After an hour or two of digging, Richard and Cam
eventually uncovered the pipe and in Richard’s words,
“finally a power tool was involved.” His excitement was
short lived. “I had about two seconds of fun with the
grinder, then it was back to digging. After slipping in
some new PVC pipe we had to fill it all in again,” he says.
According to Cam the highlight of the day was when
Richard put his arm down an overflow gully. “His gloves
were not quite long enough.”
For Richard, the hardest thing was putting his arm down
the pipe to try to locate the blockage. “It’s weird how the
pipe is an almost exact fit for the human arm: it felt like a
very long bracelet that could get stuck at any minute,”
“The best thing was seeing how the PVC pipe slotted
so neatly into the old terracotta system using the joint
Cam had purchased.”
At the end of the day Richard says he was left with a
new respect for plumbers.
“I’ve long understood the skill involved, but didn’t quite
understand how fit and strong you have to be,” he says.
“And I hope I don’t take it for granted so much when I turn
on the shower or flush the loo. I now understand the little
highway of pipes that leads from every house and makes
our lives possible.”
For Cam, whilst he thoroughly enjoyed working with
Richard, he feels that perhaps plumbing isn’t the best
career choice for his one-day apprentice. “Richard’s
future lies in his chair behind the microphone. However,
I believe he learnt a great deal and will hopefully use this
knowledge in the future.”
Richard isn’t backwards in coming forwards about his
new-found knowledge: “What have I learnt that will help
me next time I have a problem at home? Ring Cam!”
But what about the early morning Danish?
“I ate a small piece of Danish... it was my first experience –
but not my cup of tea!” Cam admits.
Richard Glover is the Drive presenter
on 702 ABC Sydney. Monday-Friday
Tom and Penny Kerkhof, who
reside in a two-storey house
with two bathrooms in the
Melbourne suburb of Scoresby
in Victoria, purchased their
Rheem Coppermatic hot water
service 43 years ago because
they had a high demand for
ample hot water, especially with
a teenage daughter in the house.
The Coppermatic, which was
developed in the 1950s and
came into vogue in the 1960s,
featured an extraordinary
durable tank consisting
of a copper shell within a
conventional steel tank.
“Rheem was highly
recommended to us. The
system fitted neatly into
our cupboard and provided
constant hot water,” says Tom.
“And it hasn’t ever let us down
since it was installed. The
system just keeps on keeping
on. We replaced the element 20
years ago and that’s it.
“Now with only two adults in
the house, we still continue
to enjoy our continuous
hot water. We would highly
recommend a Rheem hot water
service to anyone. Our Rheem
Coppermatic gets 10 out of 10!”