During the early 1970s, the ship repair industry suffered severe losses due to the international economic recession. Although this was a blow, Varley was fortunately never in any serious danger, thanks largely to the diversity and expansion of the company implemented by Clem Jnr. Varley was, to an extent, protected from such economic occurrences outside of the Company’s control.
In the aim of further growing the company, Varley acquired a sandblasting and general painting and docking work contracting company, Corrosion Control Pty Ltd – increasing the services Varley offered to the Port of Newcastle. Other business acquisitions also occurred, largely with the aim of spreading the Varley name further down the east coast, but were deemed unsuccessful.
Soon after in 1975, a new facility was established in Port Kembla, Wollongong, replicating many of the broad and in-demand services that were also on offer in Newcastle. Varlec, an electrical division, commenced operations in Newcastle servicing the modern ships that no were longer by steam, but instead used more complex electrical systems.
Through all these changes and Company growth came the declaration that Varley had grown from a small ship repair company into a major engineering group, and as such required a rebrand to reflect the Company’s new size and strength; G. H. Varley was to be renamed as ‘Varley Engineering’, better suiting the diversity of services now offered.
Shortly after the business rebrand followed an extremely welcome announcement that the NSW Government had commissioned a number of power stations, thus creating a higher demand of Varley’s services. Varley completed substantial refurbishments at each of the power stations in years to come, forming yet another stable platform for the business.
Towards the end of the 1970s, Varley acquired Hills & Mills Fabricating Pty Ltd, gaining a stronger hold on both the stainless steel and metal fabrication that services the food industry. With the Hills & Mills building being located in Carrington alongside other Varley buildings, this meant that Varley had full ownership of an entire block, allowing the Company to stretch its legs even further in the years to come...
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