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.