Hunter Valley based manufacturing company marks major milestone in Australia’s industrial participation with Fifth Generation F-35 arrival

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The arrival of the first two Fifth Generation F-35A aircraft to the Royal Australian Airforce, Williamtown marks a monumental milestone for Varley Defence in design and manufacturing in Australia.


Varley’s work on the F-35 Program has cut across both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman with the Landing Gear Handling System (LGHS) commencing in February 2004, Canopy Maintenance Sling assembly to Lockheed Martin in 2005, the Aircraft Maintenance Sling to Northrop Grumman in 2005 and the Deployable Data Management System (DDMS) Shelters for Lockheed Martin Australia in 2018.


Since Varley’s involvement in the System Development and Demonstration phase of the F-35 Program, the company has maintained its status as a strategic supplier by demonstrating their ability to supply best-value products, on-time delivery through Lean Manufacturing and innovation to the Defence and Aerospace markets.


Varley are proud to be an integral supplier to the F-35 program and is one of two Australian companies that has designed, developed and manufactured equipment for the program, earning the coverted status of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).


“A wonderful day for Australia to witness the arrival of the first two F-35 aircraft.” said Jeff Phillips, Managing Director.


“It’s fabulous to see the fruits of our labour and end outcomes of many years of hard efforts on the F-35 JSF program.”


“It was an opportune moment to interact with Lockheed Martin senior executive team and support other Australian industry companies like Varley.”

About Varley Defence

Headquartered in Tomago, Varley Defence is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Varley Group. The company employs more than 850 people in Australia and 100 people in the US working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence,  specialised vehicles, and civil sectors.

Local Queensland workers building the ambulances saving lives


Growing local jobs with a Queensland workforce was the topic of conversation when Member for  Bancroft, Chris Whiting, inspected Varley Vehicles ambulance assembly line with its CEO Blaine Scarr on Thursday.


Varley Vehicles has completed about $5 million worth of work for the Queensland Ambulance Service this year, creating 30 jobs locally at its Narangba factory and another 30 Queensland jobs through the supply chain.


It is looking to expand these local operations when the Queensland Ambulance Service announces the results of a tender in the new year to complete $3 million worth of upcoming ambulance builds.

Varley Vehicles is one of four companies looking to capture some of this work.


Mr Scarr said the ambulance production line at Varley Vehicles was a real example of the Queensland Government and Mr Whiting’s commitment to a local build, with local workers and making use of the local supply chain.


“When you see a Queensland ambulance or a fire truck go driving by, know that it was engineered locally by workers from Queensland,” Mr Scarr said.


“Without the Queensland Ambulance Service’s investment in the Queensland manufacturing industry and more importantly in Varley Vehicles local operations, 30 direct Varley jobs, and another 30 local jobs downstream in the supply chain, would've been lost to the region.


“Creating local jobs and supporting high skilled manufacturing is a central plank of what our government does. Well done to Varley for having such faith in our local community, and in Queensland.” Said Mr Whiting.


About Varley Vehicles

Headquartered in Narangba, Varley Vehicles is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Varley Group. The company employs more than 850 people in Australia and 100 people in the US working on a wide range of major programs spanning the specialised vehicles, aerospace, defence and civil sectors.

Top US breast cancer research professor to present at HMRI with NEW drug discovery treatment

Professor Venu Raman

Professor Venu Raman

Director of Molecular Therapeutics and professor of Radiology of the John Hopkin University, Venu Raman is to visit the Hunter Medical Research this week to present new discoveries for cancer treatment.

Raman and his team developed a first in-class drug called RK-33 which began while conducting research to understand the effect of second hand smoke on breast cancer. The now patented small molecule inhibitor of the DDX3 gene is an exciting first in-class pharmaceutical.

Since metastatic breast cancers have very high levels of DDX3, previously there have been few drugs that have any long lasting impact against metastatic cancers. “We think RK-33 will work in any cancer that requires DDX3. And so far, all these difficult cancers require DDX3” says Raman.


Professor Vanu Raman will be in Newcastle the 11th of May to visit and present his biogenesis of the RK-33 drug as a treatment for cancer; and bring into focus how to take bench side research to the bed side.

Ramans' research has also been greatly supported by the Fishing Cures Foundation in the United States assisting in funding for their research. World-class Hunter region engineering company, Varley Group supports the Fishing Cure Foundation and also recently donated $1,000 to the HMRI (Hunter Medical Research Institution) through fund raising efforts.

For more information about Professor Vanu Raman’s research see:

Varley Group challenges Varley US to Fishing competition and raises $1,000 for HMRI

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Last week Varley Group donated $1,000 to the HMRI (Hunter Medical Research Institute) in support to fighting illnesses affecting lives throughout the world. The money was raised through a friendly fishing challenge amongst Varley corporate comrades between Australia and the USA.

In the purpose of fund raising for cancer the two Varley teams arranged the fishing event through the US fund raising organisation Fishing Cures. The friendly challenge was set on United States home waters seeing Varley US winning the challenge and donating their prize to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centre.

As both teams were in the challenge to support their own chosen cause, Varley Group was awarded with a portion of the funds to donate to the HMRI (Hunter Medical Research Institute).

Varley group CEO, Jeff Phillips said "Cancer has touched many of my friends and relatives, I am proud to join Fishing Cures as it supports researchers on the hunt for cures."

NSW Training Services pilot group 1 completes their Varley work placement

From the left: Jan Dobbie, Lindsay Challinor, Adam James, Mathew Hunt, Michael Gonebale, Daryl Fletcher, Kyle Parker and Wayne Moy.

From the left: Jan Dobbie, Lindsay Challinor, Adam James, Mathew Hunt, Michael Gonebale, Daryl Fletcher, Kyle Parker and Wayne Moy.

Last Thursday group 1 of the NSW Training Services pilot completes their forty hours work placement onsite at Varley Tomago. The first group of six program participants, Lindsay Challinor, Adam James, Mathew Hunt, Michael Gonebale, Daryl Fletcher and Kyle Parker endured the Varley ten hour shifts over four days while learning new found skills to take onto their job prospects.


The participants were keen and enjoyed taking on new skills like electrical work, wire stripping and reading engineering drawings for the police and ambulance vehicle assembly lines. Apart from picking up additional skill set qualifications Lindsay Challinor stated, “Through this program I have found it to be character building and have gained new confidence in applying for manufacturing roles.”


All participants work efforts impressed both Production Manager Wayne Moy and HR Manger Jan Dobbie as did Michael Gonebale in particular who landed a position in the store. Michael commenced his full time position on Monday 7th May.


Every participant found that Varley is a friendly, down-to-earth family environment and was proud to have worked at Varley for their placement. The advice for future work placement participants from group one is ‘Enjoy and take on the learning opportunity and experience!’

Training Services NSW pilot participants visit Varley Tomago

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Last week Varley Tomago hosted a site visit for eleven graduates from a short Training Services NSW  program pilot. The purpose of the visit was to induct participants ready for a one week work experience placement to commence in early May.


Funded by the state government the pilot program has been developed by Training Services NSW, TAFE and Varley representatives, and Mark Almond for the Australian Department of Jobs & Small Business. The program objective is to assist in preparing suitable unemployed candidates for trades assistant type roles in selected manufacturing organisations.


The program pilot consisted of an intensive nine day TAFE course to be followed by a one week work experience placement. The short course includes units of competence like drawing interpretation, hand tools, safe working and various skills for being employed.


Varley’s Production Manager Wayne Moy and HR Manager Jan Dobbie provided the guided site tour in addition to an organization presentation that highlighted Varley work policies. Each participant was also subject to an interview in a speed dating format. The program participants were accompanied by job active provider representatives from Castle Personnel, Mai-Wel and WorkSkil.

Varley Group host the 2018 HMA Launch event

As the proud winner of the 2017 Hunter Manufacturing Awards (HMA), Excellence in Manufacturing Process and the Manufacturer of the Year, Varley Group hosted the 2018 Hunter Manufacturing Awards Launch event at the Tomago head office site. Over a hundred hunter region based manufacturing professionals attended the event on the 12th of April to launch the 2018 registration an application period.


Varley Group, CEO Jeff Phillips, welcomed the guests via video from the USA and HMA Chairman, Steven Smith thanked the sponsors, partners and supporters for their support of the manufacturing sector.  Downer will be the Major Sponsor of the Awards for the 11th consecutive year and Gavin Foster, CEO, Downer Rail, thanked HMA for their on-going support of manufacturing.


To conclude the event guided group tours with enthusiastic Varley personnel was coordinated to show the vast product display that Varley produce.  Guests were delighted and surprised that such a ‘World Class’ manufacturer is located in the Hunter Region along with insightful information about Varley’s innovation and various industry sector involvement.


This years’ Hunter Manufacturing Awards Launch event has been marked as the biggest successful launch event to date.



A rare opportunity is now available for the right person to take up a management position within Varley Group as the Varley Vehicles General Manager for Queensland Operations. Key to success are skills, experience and commitment that will allow our new manager to ensure business growth, net profitability and sustainability. The GM will manage key accounts and will provide hands on support for the national growth strategy.


Our business is all about designing, manufacturing, delivering and supporting high quality, innovative specialised vehicles to our valued customers.


Our new Manager must have hands on experience with customers – identifying potential markets / customers, developing relationships and actively managing contracts.


Outstanding communications skills are a must – including negotiation, conflict resolution etc.

Financial management and understanding of engineering design, procurement and manufacturing processes are also of high importance.


Formal qualifications in a related area (such as Business, Management, Project Management etc.) will be viewed favourably, but are not essential.


The ability to inspire great performance within the business through effective leadership, passion and care are essential.


To be considered for this opportunity, it is a requirement that you submit a formal and professional application addressing the above requirements. You are welcome to also attach your current resume – please include contactable referees.


For further information about this vacancy, please call 02 4964 0400 and ask for the CEO Varley Vehicles.



We are looking for a high achiever who has an Engineering Degree and solid experience leading a complex team…we have a newly created position for a (national) Engineering Manager who will oversee and optimize engineering outputs at several locations. Key results will include DIFOT, adherence to quality and other processes, and of course the Varley Group hallmark of innovation!


While the position will be based at the Tomago Headquarters, regular travel will be required including but not limited to:

  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney

This position will manage a number of engineers, designers and draftspersons ensuring both efficiency and effectiveness of processes geared towards operational excellence (both design and manufacturing phases).


There will be some requirement to directly interface with customers / potential customers and also to liaise with manufacturing and other managers. The position reports to the CEO of Varley Vehicles.

To be given serious consideration for this position, it is essential that your application highlights the following:


1. Your ability and success with planning and managing all aspects of engineering performance against budget, process / quality requirements and customer expectations.

2. Track record of diligence with regard to labour forecasting and control to deliver work to spec / standards on time.

3. History of properly communicating with, developing and otherwise managing a cross functional team located at various sites.

4. Strong commitment to both quality and continuous improvement systems in engineering.

5. Substantial experience in a senior engineering role within an Australian manufacturing business.

6. Genuine understanding and practical application of appropriate metrics to drive superior performance in engineering.

7. Prior experience (and success) in implementing and managing organisational change.


Applicants called for interview will be required to attend in person with 48 hours’ notice. For any further details,  or call 02 4964 0400.

To apply, please call 02 4964 0400 or complete the Application Form 2018 and email it (together with a copy of your resume) to





We are on the hunt for an impressive person to step in and manage manufacturing for our Sydney facility. Our new Production Manager will have a trade qualification, working their way up through training and experience to a supervisory or management role.


This is a hands-on role – leading from the front to ensure our products are delivered in full, on time and to satisfy all customer quality / scope requirements. So there are a wide range of skills we want to check including but not limited to:

  • Experience in an agile manufacturing environment (ideally vehicle / body building background);

  • Experience in setup of assembly stations and assembly lines for 1off builds and production runs;

  • Success with planning of jobs, managing labour and other resources to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity are achieved; understanding of project management

  • Expertise in estimating (labour hours, materials etc.) and then controlling projects to achieve ideal outcomes all round;

  • Clear and strong communication skills to engage workers and liaise positively with a range of customers or other stakeholders;

  • Experience in creation of work packages for shop floor, work instructions and procedures;

  • Experience in interaction with internal stakeholders to ensure that all projects running on time.

  • Confidence and competence in using computers including ERP, Excel, emails etc.;

  • An independent operator who is comfortable in a controlled work environment (procedural / quality) and who is equally comfortable with agility and change.


To be given fair and full consideration for this important position, it is essential that you submit BOTH a cover letter, setting out how you satisfy the above points AND a resume that outlines your work history, qualifications and provides contactable referees.


We will be conducting interviews on Friday May 11 2018. So if you are the right person for us, please prepare your application urgently and clear your diary. We are ready to offer an attractive package and an immediate start.