At a bright, airy plant in the outer suburbs of Sydney, large automated machines hiss quietly as they create motherboards for stereo video microphones that will be shipped around the world.
A few miles down the road, the long arm of a robotic machine at Quickstep Holdings shapes a carbon fibre composite car panel for trials with automakers including Germany's Audi.
Quickstep and privately-held Rode Microphones are just two businesses that suggest reports of the death of Australian manufacturing - battling a strong local currency, rising costs and cheap imports - are exaggerated.
They are among a host of companies which have defied gloomy headlines sparked by Ford Motor's announcement it will close its Australian car plants from 2016, and by General Motors's threats to also close manufacturing operations unless it receives more government support.
(Read more: Australia has squandered resources boom: John Hewson)
Manufacturing as a proportion of GDP is declining in most advanced economies, reflecting the growing influence of services and information based industries. In Australia, it has fallen to around 7 percent - well below the 25 percent levels seen in the 1960s - while World Bank data show manufacturing accounts for 11-12 percent of GDP in the United States and Britain, and around 30 percent in China.
According to the Australian Industry Group, the sector remains a major employer, with 88,000 manufacturing businesses employing some 940,000 workers, far more than the mining industry, and not far short of levels seen five decades ago.
The sector is, however, going through a prolonged transition, from the big auto and white goods makers of the past into smaller niche and high-skilled manufacturers focused on supplying global markets.
"The future essentially belongs to a new class of micro-multinationals - SMEs that operate largely below the radar but which are proving very competitive and very resilient in global supply chains," said Roy Green, dean of business at the University of Technology in Sydney.