Eric Smorgon (1911-1999) was the first son of Norman Smorgon who, in 1927 with his brothers Moses and Abram and their families, arrived in Port Melbourne from Russia on a converted cattle ship. Initially establishing a butcher shop, they expanded through the 1930’s into a wholesale meat supply business. In 1941 a meat works was established in West Footscray, with Eric developing and building the world’s first modern chain transport system. The family diversified its operations after WW2 and entered the canned fruit business and began exporting rabbits to the US. The Company underwent a rapid expansion of operations through the 1950’s and 1960’s.
During the late 1950’s there was further diversification into the manufacture of paper and board. By 1967 the operation was solely focussed on expanding its core meat and paper businesses. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Smorgon interests continued to grow through glass, plastics, metal recycling, pine forest plantations, overseas paper mills and a steel business. The Smorgon Steel Group was established in the early 1980’s. Over the years, the group expanded to become the nation’s second largest steel producer and a leading supplier in key markets.
In 1994, the family branches decided to divest the Group’s non-steel businesses. As a result, many new family business groups evolved, including Escor, which was established by Eric Smorgon and his family. In 1999, Smorgon Steel Group floated on the ASX.
The Smorgon story is one of spirit and determination. A desire to succeed has led the family to a range of interests and has contributed significantly to the growth of Australia, through continuing investment, the creation of employment opportunities and generous benefaction.