Varley turns 131!

George Henry Varley with his team, circa 1886.

This month marks Varley’s 131st Birthday!

Founded in 1886 as a small plumbing and boiler-making business by George Henry Varley, the company serviced the industrial maintenance and ship repair markets in Newcastle and the Hunter.

Varley has since diversified and steadily grown to provide a comprehensive range of engineering and manufacturing services to a wide variety of major industries.

Today, Varley has a strong presence both throughout Australia and internationally, with 15 national facilities plus three sites in the USA and two in Indonesia.

Interestingly, several other major global companies were established in 1886, including:

- Coca-Cola

- Ladbrokes

- Knoll Pharmaceuticals

- Tissot

Read more about Varley’s extensive and fascinating history here:

Thanks to all of our customers, suppliers, employees and friends for helping us reach yet another birthday!

Biscit wins award for co-project with Varley

This year, Varley Group have undertaken a major e-commerce project alongside Newcastle-based IT firm, Biscit.

Utilising the Epicor ERP system’s ‘Commerce Connect’ functionality, Varley and Biscit have produced a fully ERP-integrated and highly-customised online shopfront for one of Varley’s business units, EMC Electric Vehicles:

Biscit are highly-regarded Epicor partners providing Epicor-related solutions to many clients (including Varley throughout the past 4 years); thus the partnership for this project was ideal.

6 months on and this project has been a major success for all involved – so successful, in fact, that Biscit have been recognised for their integration skills at this year’s international Epicor awards, receiving the Business Transformation accolade. Read more here:

(note: you’ll see that Biscit also won a second award, further demonstrating their extensive expertise!).

Our extreme thanks and congratulations to Biscit for their wonderful work and well-deserved recognition.

Contact us today to find out more about the project or use the link below to visit Biscit's website:

Inclusive Workplace Champion 2017

We are extremely proud recipients of the 2017 Hunter Diversity Awards ‘Inclusive Workplace Champion’ accolade.

The award is in recognition of Varley Group exceptionally inclusive and diverse work culture.

Our sincere thanks to the 2017 Hunter Diversity Awards and The Equal Futures Project for the welcome recognition.

Interested in a career with Varley Group? Contact us to find out more about our progressive and welcoming company culture: or visit

Wayne takes on Everest for MHF

This October, Varley’s own Wayne Roberts is taking on yet another gruelling challenge to raise funds for the Mark Hughes Foundation.

This time around, Wayne is joining a number of Knights Old Boys (including ‘The Chief’ Paul Harragon, Mark Hughes, Andrew and Matty Johns, Danny Buderus, Matt Gidley, Adam MacDougall and Malcolm Reilly) to take on Everest Base Camp.

If you’d like to support Wayne’s incredible efforts in the name of such a great cause, any donations at would be sincerely appreciated.

Go Wayne!

Varley's ambulance build a sign of resilience in tough times

Varley Group Managing Director Jeff Phillips inspects the NSW Ambulance fleet production.

Great article by The Newcastle Herald covering Varley's manufacture of the latest NSW Ambulance fleet and its positive reflection of Hunter manufacturing's resilience in tough times:

#manufacturing #hunter #ambulance

Pasha Bulker – A Decade Later

Today marks ten years since the MV Pasha Bulker ran ashore during the disastrous storm that hit the Hunter in 2007. The story of the Pasha holds a special place within Newcastle history; however, few Novocastrians are familiar with Varley’s unique role within the vessel’s salvage operation. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane…

On the morning of June 8th 2007, residents of Newcastle awoke to howling winds, pounding rain and an enormous container ship perched on Nobby’s Beach – arguably Newcastle’s most scenic and popular stretch of coastline. The sight drew massive crowds and media attention over the following weeks, not only from Hunter residents, but throughout Australia.

As to why the Pasha ran ashore, a fascinating story later emerged. It is believed that local coastguards sent warnings of the approaching storm to all container ships parked off the Newcastle coast, which included the Pasha Bulker, and suggested that the vessels relocate further out to sea and anchor. This advice, however, was either ignored or not properly received by the Pasha's crew. As a result, the storm hit that evening and the Pasha was caught unprepared, being carried all the way in to the beautiful Newcastle shore.

The ship’s twenty two crew members were successfully rescued from the vessel almost immediately, expertly carried ashore by helicopter. The Pasha itself, however, sat on the sand of Nobby’s for almost a month, during which time plans were hatched to salvage the ship and restore the beach to normality.

Varley was commissioned to play an integral part in the salvage and re-floating efforts, thanks to the company’s long and rich history as one of the region’s most reputable marine service providers. The first task carried out by Varley employees was to supply labour and equipment for necessary repairs to damaged holds whilst the vessel was beached at Nobby’s. These efforts ensured that the ship did not break apart or sink whilst ashore for almost a month. Several brave Varley workers were carried on to the vessel by helicopter, battling dangerous seas and strong winds when boarding.

Weeks later, during the evening of the 2nd July, once the vessel was deemed fit to remove from the shore without risk of sinking, Varley-modified tugs were selected to assist the haul: read The Herald’s full analysis of the removal process here. After a slow and cautious process involving several attempts, the ship was finally removed from the beach and parked in nearby Newcastle Harbour.

During the Pasha’s time in the Harbour, Varley completed major works to further secure the vessel for its journey back to Asia. This included the manufacture and installation of stiffener beams on the outside of the ship’s hull, which offered extra strength for the upcoming tow, and also the manufacture and installation of towing assemblies specifically suited to the vessels exact requirements.

Following Varley’s hard work aiding the vessel’s recovery and restoration, the Pasha Bulker was eventually tugged out of Newcastle Harbour and all the way to Japan, where it was further restored, rebranded the MV Drake and continues to operate throughout international waters to this day (including a recent visit back to Newcastle).

We’d love to hear your own recollections of the Pasha Bulker’s visit to Newcastle, so please don’t hesitate to share your stories by commenting on this post.