In the period from 1945 until the mid-1970s Australia was a major consumer of asbestos products. Today Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of asbestos disease. Local manufacture was dominated by James Hardie Industries which also operated a small chrysotile or white asbestos mine at Baryulgil in northern New South Wales. James Hardie has always claimed that the working and living conditions of its Aboriginal employees were good. However, internal company correspondence and the testimony of miners suggest otherwise. Hardie’s refusal to protect its workers from a known risk contributed to a high level of occupational morbidity and mortality, as did ineffective state regulations, the non-union nature of the Baryulgil workplace and the community’s isolation.