As far as the firms over the next four pages are concerned, if you want a job done properly you do it yourself. Be they making bikes, furniture, microphones, ferries or guitars, these are companies that all revel in the fact that they still call Australia home.
Twenty kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD is the suburb of Silverwater, a spot famous mostly for its proximity to the Olympic Park, its prison and the stretches of warehouses that are perfectly suited to Australian SMEs.
One of those companies is Røde Microphones, a business founded by Peter Freedman 25 years ago that designs and manufactures microphones, transmitters and more, from the raw materials to the finished product. “Manufacturing in Australia mostly came out of necessity for Røde,” says Freedman. “When the company started producing microphones in the 1990s it became clear that I would quickly be at the mercy of our suppliers unless I had control over our manufacturing.”
A desire for self-sufficiency forced Røde to “invest in the technology ourselves, resulting in a better and more competitive product for our customers”, says Freedman. It has also resulted in speed. With direct access to production, Røde designers and engineers complete development at a pace that has to be seen to be believed.
“For an Australian manufacturer, obtaining components from overseas suppliers can easily mean a matter of months,” says Freedman. “By having everything in-house it can take a matter of days, if not hours, to produce new parts.”
While Røde is still small, its biggest achievement came last year when the business reached 750,000 microphone shipments. It is a cause for celebration given Freedman started the business in financial troubles following a failed attempt to take over his father’s audio and video-equipment company in the 1980s. “That was the catalyst that drove me to create Røde and set me on the course I am on today. Perhaps I should have called it Phoenix Microphones.”
Year founded: 1991
Microphones made per year: 750,000 (2015)
Bestselling product: VideoMic Pro
Award: Red Dot's Best of the Best award for product design in 2015