Our Story

Durra Panel

The History of Durra Panel

Through 8 decades of research and innovation, the story of Durra Panel is far-reaching and ever evolving. From humble beginnings as a thermal insulator in Sweden, to some of the biggest commercial projects in the country, take a look at how Australia’s most sustainable building material came to be.
Stramit board historical sketch

Stramit Board

The world’s first method of compressing agricultural fibre into a rigid board is invented in Sweden. The product is called ‘Stramit Board’, derived from the Swedish word for straw – Strå. Over the first decade of its life, the original primitive invention is refined and used primarily for thermal insulation in roofs and walls throughout Sweden.

Stramit board historical sketch


By 1945, the manufacturing rights for ‘Stramit Board’ are acquired by the Tomo Trading Co Ltd and brought from Sweden to the UK. 9 years later, John Hobart buys both the rights and the technology – including the name “Stramit” – and begins manufacturing ‘Stramit Board’ in Australia. The original plant in Bendigo, Victoria is still used today and has been in continuous production ever since!

Ortech Industries historical logo

Ortech Industries

A group of experienced Stramit Australia personnel – led by Derek Layfield and Neil Williams – leave the company to form Ortech Industries Pty. Ltd. Ortech quickly becomes one of Stramit’s largest clients in the Australian construction Industry, as a specialised installer of Stramit products across commercial, industrial and residential applications.

Durra Panel supplies relief housing to Lombok


Ortech embarks on the first of many international exports of ‘Easiboard’ to the island of Lombok in Indonesia. Over the next two decades Ortech would go on to supply product to countries such as Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil, Korea and the Philippines, primarily exporting Trafficable Ceiling Systems for large scale plants and factories.

Durra Panel landmark project Vodafone Arena

Melbourne Park: Vodafone Arena

The first in a series of Melbourne Park Sports Precinct projects is completed, with ‘Easiboard’ installed in the ceilings of Vodafone Arena. This was also the very first project to utilise Ortech’s ground-breaking Lifting Frame technology, which allows for large sections of ceiling area to be assembled on ground and crane-lifted into position.

Compressed straw panel production

Durra Panel

After a licensing and manufacture agreement in the US, Ortech Industries rebrands ‘Easiboard’ as Durra Panel.

Durra Panel landmark project Perth Arena

Perth Arena

The visually striking Perth Arena is completed with Durra Panel throughout the ceiling and walls of the building. The Durra Lifting Frame is used again, leading to some quirky shaped modules craned into position, given the futuristic design of the stadium.

Durra Panel landmark project Desalination Plant

Wonthaggi Desalination Plant

One of the state’s largest industrial developments, the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant utilises Durra Panel as Acoustic Mass in its multi-layered Roof and Ceiling build up. Over 35,000 sqm of panel is installed across 400 lifts, with the construction process of this project featured in an episode of Discovery Channel’s ‘Build It Bigger’ series.

Durra Panel landmark project Vodafone Arena Margaret Court Arena

Melbourne Park: Margaret Court Arena

13 years later, Durra Panel returns to Melbourne Park, in the roof area of the eye-catching Margaret Court Arena. Borrowing from what worked in the past, modules of the pleated roof and ceiling were lifted onto the structure in preassembled sections, finalizing the precincts expansion to 3 major stadiums.

Durra Panel landmark project Vodafone Arena Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour

The Crown Jewel of the $multibillion redevelopment of Darling Harbour, The International Convention Centre Sydney becomes Australia’s first and largest fully integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment complex. Durra Panel is installed through all three key structures, including the 9,000-seat First State Super Theatre.

Durra Panel landmark project Melbourne Park

Melbourne Park: Centrepiece

The final chapter in Melbourne’s 20 year development of the city’s Sporting Precinct – Centrepiece brought to a close Durra Panel and NH Architecture’s collaboration throughout one of our most culturally significant and a long-standing projects.

Durra Panel landmark project Vodafone Arena Docklands

Docklands Studios

The supply and installation of Durra Panel into Dockland’s Central City Studios’ spanned nearly two decades and served as a significant launching pad for the product’s application in Australia’s film and TV industry. The most recent studio, Sound Stage 6, included a “Double-double-layer” of Durra Panel throughout the ceiling.

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