About Us History History The Flagstaff Group began in 1966 to provide meaningful employment for people with a disability. Today, the organisation has four key locations in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven and employs over 360 people, 260 are people with disabilities. Flagstaff is proud to be a commercially sustainable not-for-profit disability enterprise. All profits are reinvested back into our people, programs and the community. Flagstaff is a leading NDIS registered provider in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven with award-winning customer service and products. 1966 - The Beginning The 'Civilian Lame and Limbless Association' was defunded, causing Len Bland, and 30 others, to join the Australian Iron and Steel which would later become BHP. Len established 'The Wollongong Sheltered Workshops Association' which he served as General Manager at until 1979. 1966 - 1979 The Workshops were located on the corner of Nolan Street and Princes Highway, Unanderra. Employees assembled switchboards, sewed and fulfilled engineering tasks. This 13-year period saw the group work construction at the Port Kembla steelworks, start tag painting and printing services. 1979 Govenor-General Sir Zelman Cowen opens new Sheltered Workshop Premises on 16 May 1979 at Flagstaff Road, Unanderra. H.J. Van Der Doe appointed General Manager. He held the position until 1984. 1984 A. Wilson appointed CEO and remained in this position for 2 years. 1985 Residential Program established in Wollongong with the purchase of one residence and lease of two others. Offered short-term, emergency accommodation for employees. Workers' Union formed. Flagstaff employees are encouraged to join it. Group advises the Miscellaneous Workers' Union on the formation of the first industrial award covering wages and conditions of supported employees. 1986 120 people celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Wollongong Sheltered Workshops Association. Chris Gandy starts as General Manager and introduces service awards. 1987 - 'Flagstaff' Is Born Association's name changes to Flagstaff Industrial and Commercial Services Group. 1988 'Leisure and Coastal Canvas Supplies' becomes independent due to success. Offered tarps, tents, covers, back-support belts and 'Quickswim' swimsuits for kids. Light engineering grows, particularly steel strapping, the sewing of truck covers and horse blankets. 1990 Flagstaff acquires 'Monika's Kreative Kitchen' in North Wollongong. This would become Flagstaff Fine Foods. 'Document Management Solutions' opened by Hazel Hawke in Regent Street, Wollongong. DMS printed, developed, distributed and securely destroyed microfilm documents. 1992 Flagstaff establishes a fifth division: 'Paper to Paper' in Glastonbury Ave, Unanderra. An examination of local businesses opportunities revealed a growing need for paper recycling. Control of Flagstaff's Residential Program transferred to Illawarra Community Housing Trust. 1995 - The Flagstaff Group The Workers Committee was formed, with a representative attending each board meeting to voice employee feedback. Today, is is renamed the Workers Representative Committee. The company name is changed to 'The Flagstaff Group', as voted by employees. 1997 Flagstaff purchases 'Phoenix Laundry'. Renamed Flagstaff Laundry and relocated from Russell Vale to Nolan Street, Unanderra. Flagstaff's engineering division outgrows Nolan Street and moves to Doyle Avenue, Unanderra. 1999 'Gauntlet Gloves' purchased and incorporated into Flagstaff Laundry. Facilitated the washing of coal miners' gloves for reuse. 2001 Flagstaff purchases local business 'The Mailing Professionals'. 2002 Flagstaff Paper to Paper moves from Glastonbury Ave to 262 Nolan Street, Unanderra due to growth. Flagstaff accredited under HACCP and the 12 NDIS Disability Service Standards. 2004 Flagstaff begins employing a more diverse range of people with a disability with acquisition of 'BCH Printing' in Wollongong. 2005 'Flagstaff Print and Mail' is born through the merging of The Mailing Professionals and BCH Printing. Flagstaff acquires 'Shoalhaven Advance Industries' and 'Mullala Nursery'. Engineering services moves to 260 Nolan Street, Unanderra, due to downsizing. 2006 Steve Beard appointed General Manager, held until 2011. Flagstaff Fine Foods moves into purpose-built facility at 254 Nolan Street, greatly increasing capacity with new equipment. 2007 'Document Scanning' division formally established, also offers secure shredding. 2008 - The Birth of Flagstaff Shoalhaven Shoalhaven Advance Industries becomes 'Flagstaff Shoalhaven'. 2009 Mullala Nursery transitions to Australian Disability Enterprise as 'Yumaro Industries' at Ulladulla. 2011 Roy Rogers appointed CEO, having served as Chief Operating Officer since 2005. 2012 'Flagstaff Vocational Pathways' and 'Workskills' established to focus on skills development. Flagstaff Recycling installs a weighbridge for their trucks. 2013 'Coffee With a Vision' established. Freshly roasted and packed onsite at 254 Nolan Street, Unanderra. 'Cafe Vizione' established inside the Port Kembla Steelworks. Flagstaff establishes key partnership with TAFE NSW to offer nationally recognised Cert. II courses. 2014 'Transition to Work' program established to offer school-based training. Students get hands-on experience in supportive businesses. 2015 Mobility Aids offered to supply affordable equipment Australia-wide. Includes scooters, walking sticks, ramps, wheelchairs etc. 2018 Flagstaff cuts ribbon on new commercial laundry. Bolsters the division's capacity up to 240 tonnes. BlueScope Steel provides a house to lease for Flagstaff's growing Life Choices division. This becomes 'The Hub' located at Flagstaff Road, Port Kembla. 2019 BlueScope Steel's old medical centre located on Flagstaff Road, Port Kembla is leased by Flagstaff to facilitate the expansion of NDIS services offered under Life Choices. 2020 Flagstaff now trades 7 main social enterprises, offering services across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven and proudly employing over 260 people with disabilities. Flagstaff Shoalhaven opens a second site at Norfolk Avenue, South Nowra.