The Varley Story – Part 20

Clement George Varley Jnr – son of Clement York, and grandson of Company founder George Henry Varley.

Throughout Clem Snr’s early months as managing director and chairman, the Company’s ties with BHP strengthened to the point whereby the affiliation underpinned much of Varley’s stability.

Despite this, Clem became concerned about the long-term future of the business, and what would happen beyond the years of close BHP ties. In 1966, having suffered a heart attack, Clem Snr seriously considered selling Varley, even advancing talks with interested buyers. But once again, as is the Varley way, other members of the family wanted to hang on to the Company and kick-start a long-term plan for prosperity.

One of the loudest voices in this discussion was Clem Snr’s own son; Clement George Varley Jnr. Despite his successful and stable employment elsewhere in Sydney, Clem Jnr arranged a full 12 months of leave from his own job to return to Newcastle and help his father build a solid blueprint for the future of Varley. But it turned into much more than that.

In 1967, Clement George officially joined the Company as a manager and, in 1971 following the continued decline of Clem Snr’s health, succeeded his father as chairman and managing director of Varley. As had occurred numerous times throughout the Company’s previous 85 years, a Varley-wide restructure and reorganisation was required in order to resolve many of the operational issues affecting the Company’s efficiency. And as a result, once again Varley resumed its place as one of Newcastle’s oldest and most successful engineering firms…

Stay tuned for more of the incredible Varley Story.