Select Page

Celebrating 135 years of Wormald 

A lot has changed in fire protection over the years, and we’re proud of our role as pioneers of new products, practices and technologies in the industry.

The evolution of Wormald from simple beginnings to the breadth of services we offer today is a story of resilience and importantly, has built a reputation of trust that stretches across fire, security, technology and other safety offerings.

As we reflect on our legacy, we also look to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, with the same spirit of innovation that has carried the company for more than a century.


The story of Wormald started in 1889, when Stanley G. Russell and Jos. D Wormald, operating as ‘Russell and Wormald’ ran an import business in Sydney selling sprinklers, fire extinguishers and fire doors, as well as running an insurance company.

Russell retired and Harry P. Wormald joined his brother to become a partner in 1900, changing the company name to Wormald Brothers & Wears. The first major development was commencing production of fire extinguishers and fire doors from Sydney. By 1908, demand necessitated expansion to Melbourne, with agents also selling products throughout other states and in New Zealand.

The period from 1912 – 1928 saw strong growth and expansion, including the opening of new works and branches in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The company was hard hit by the Great Depression but recovered to provide the majority of fire protection equipment to the Commonwealth Government during the war.

As the company expanded after the war, capacity for development of new equipment grew and Wormald became renowned as a ‘fire protection pioneer’ in Australia. Some of our significant ‘firsts’ include:

  • installation of the first carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems
  • development of the first fixed and truck-mounted foam systems
  • design and installation of the first high expansion foam systems (in rum distilleries and rolled paper storage facilities)
  • design and installation of the first automatic-starting fire pumpsets and Australia’s first large-scale dry chemical systems, trucks and trailers
  • installation of the first early warning smoke detection and alarm systems, the first electro-pneumatic fire detection systems and development of the first solid state (micro-electronic) fire detector
  • installation of the first fixed Halon system in Australia to protect the first major hangar for wide-body aircraft
  • installation of the first road tunnel fire systems
  • Australia’s first multi-loom fire hose manufacturing unit, manufacture of the first timber faced fire doors and assembling the first advanced-design, post war fire and rescue vehicles for Australia’s major airports.

 In 1960, Wormald proudly supported the establishment of the Australian Fire Protection Association (AFPA) now known as Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA), the country’s peak body for fire protection professionals.


Today, Wormald is Australia’s leading provider of fire protection services and has a presence in 35 locations throughout the country, and the list continues to grow. Our core business is the design, manufacture, installation and service of fire safety products, fire extinguishers and equipment, along with a range of fire services from engineering advice to fire safety training.

We have also diversified to include new specialist businesses which embrace the working needs of the modern world, including:

Simplex Time Solutions – end-to-end time and attendance packages, master clock systems, time displays and advanced software and biometric solutions.

GAAM Emergency Products – providing specialised equipment to the emergency services and other industries operating in demanding environments.

Wormald Security – sophisticated asset protection for high-risk, production intensive and essential service operations.

Wormald Technology – specialises in the design, supply, installation and commissioning of marine, naval and military fire protection, detection, safety and security systems.


 The future of fire protection is in good hands, with Wormald remaining invested in supporting the training and development of the next generation of fire protection practitioners and tackling challenges in the industry head-on. Wormald CEO, Andrew Lee, has a 30-year tenure with the business and is focused on new product development in the world of mobility and electronics as exciting opportunities for the evolving needs of the industry. “You hear a lot in the media about lithium-ion batteries in everything from EVs to power tools and scooters,” Lee said. “They have a reasonably high fire risk, so we’re researching and developing new products for those new fire risks. We’re committed to being at the forefront of fire protection solutions.”

Up and coming talent is also a focus through the annual Barry Lee Technical Excellence Award – named in honour of Wormald Technical Director – which recognises and provides additional support to those who share Barry’s passion and commitment to the industry.

Fire and Rescue NSW Emergency Services Academy in Orchard Hills has also opened the ‘Barry Lee Training Room’ designed as a dedicated learning space.

Mr Lee, who has served the company for more than 70 years, says the key to continued success is understanding and confronting new challenges in the industry as they arise.

He says irresponsible pricing policies, ‘total package’ engineering and construction services and a lack of uniformity in fire safety standards were all areas for improvement.

“Many of these issues stem from contractors who may not specialise in fire protection but have it as an ‘add on’ to their core business. The price of convenience is often a reduction in quality and increase in expense,” he said.

“Wormald has always traded on its best-in-class knowledge, expertise and customer service and I believe these qualities will continue to stand us in good stead for years to come.”

We look forward to sharing our celebrations throughout 2024 and invite colleagues, customers and the wider industry to help commemorate our special 135-year milestone.