The Varley Story - Part 13

A 1930s Australian 10 Shilling note - the modest weekly wage of both Clem Varley and James Colgan during Varley's toughest time. (Source: www.autralianbanknote.net)

A 1930s Australian 10 Shilling note - the modest weekly wage of both Clem Varley and James Colgan during Varley's toughest time. (Source: www.autralianbanknote.net)

In March 1930, new Company chairman Clem Varley and manager James Colgan called a crisis meeting with fellow G.H. Varley directors, following a loss of £841 in the preceding month. Decisive action was required, and fast.

The first change to come about was a reduction in overhead costs. Through an act of great sacrifice, love for the Company and family spirit that was to form part of Clem and James’ legacy as Varley managers, both men significantly reduced their weekly wages from £8 down to a token 10 shillings each whilst continuing the same level of financial assistance provided to the Varley sisters in England. The Varleys were a family that looked after their own.

Furthermore, before assuming the role of chairman, Clem had neither business nor engineering experience – he was a skilled pilot, and thus Company finances and engineering processes were major challenges to rectify on his own. As a result, James Colgan also assumed the finance director role, and an employee called William Fry was appointed as engineering manager. Together, the team began to lead Varley to a new phase in the Company’s progress.

Only a few years later, a modest yet meaningful profit of £87 was recorded at the AGM of 1933 after 36 months of hard work, belief and passion to continue the family business that was now approaching 50 years in operation. G.H Varley, under the expert guidance of Clem Varley and James Colgan, had survived its greatest test to date. The pair had succeeded in restoring profitability in the short term, and also established a solid platform for future growth that would prove a masterstroke in later years…

Stay tuned for more of the incredible Varley Story.