The Varley Story - Part 22

The BHP in Newcastle was a major customer during this period, not least for Varley’s exceptional aluminium work. Image source: nla.gov.au.

In the late 1960s, Varley had become something of a noted aluminium worker in the Newcastle region, particularly within BHP-related circles. As a result, chairman Clem Jnr incorporated Varley Aluminium Pty Ltd, with the blessing of his father and managing director. The new venture’s main function was to service the increasing needs of the BHP in both Newcastle and fellow ‘steel city’ Wollongong.

Varley Aluminium would later be absorbed by the main Varley Company; however, it was a majorly important and well-structured progression by Varley in the pursuit of diversifying the business into an all-rounded engineering firm.

A second of Clem Jnr’s early strategic acts was to close the foundry, which had been established in the early days of the Varley setup in the late 1800s. Time had moved on since, however, and the foundry had transitioned into a burden, imparting a drain on resources and consisting of old equipment that had passed its use-by date. This was a major play by Clem Jnr, who yet again showed his progressive nature and intent to diversify the business into more modern markets.

Next on Clem Jnr’s to-do list was to address his concerns over the gradually declining shipping industry, which proved a much larger issue to tackle…

Stay tuned for more of the incredible Varley Story.