The Harvey Legacy
“When I left school in 1961… Bowens had this cadet scheme going, so I applied. I was interviewed by Brian Kennedy, Dudley Parker and Tom Kean. I got the job and I still remember the day I walked into Bowens” said Jeff Harvey.
It has been six decades since, and Jeff is still a part of the Bowens family. After completing his cadetship in 1964, Jeff Harvey worked in sales and excelled in becoming the first store manager at the early age of 26. On 13th January 2021, he reached a career milestone by completing 60 years at Bowens. Jeff’s contribution is not just limited to Bowens, he also aided in furthering the use of timber in the building industry.
Jeff is not just one of Bowens oldest employees, he is also the most experienced in-house timber expert. He is revered, respected and admired throughout the industry. One of Jeff’s many noteworthy projects includes his recent involvement in supplying recycled timber to iconic buildings like the Queen Victoria Market.
Remembering his time working in the yard many years ago, he said, “I was wearing gloves while doing the job and Wally my boss noticed and said, ‘You’re wearing gloves! I said, ‘yes to stop the splinters.’ Wally just looked at me and said, ‘Listen, it’s a sign of a man’s character when they wear gloves. I’ve never worn gloves ever since and I still get splinters.’
From being the timberman of Bowens to establishing an alternate career as a Victorian District Cricketer, Harvey has worn many hats.
“He is honest and hardworking and has remained loyal to both the company and the people he has worked with and the customers he has worked for.” Said Jack Bowen, Chairman of Bowens in his tribute to Jeff.
John Bowen, Managing Director of Bowens, also paid his tribute to Jeff’s career saying, “Jeff continues to be a terrific contributor to Bowens in a multitude of ways. In six decades, Jeff has done nearly every job we have on offer and has touched thousands of lives. He is widely recognised through the industry and acknowledged as a true ‘champion of timber’. Above all, he forever represents the company and himself with the highest level of integrity and garnered respect from all. Young and old love him equally.”
Bowens has played a major role not only in shaping Jeff’s career but also in his personal life. He met his beautiful wife Marilyn at Bowens. While Jeff was forging his career as a hardworking timberman, Marilyn was serving as a personal assistant to Jack Dowling who was amongst the board of directors. They fell in love, got married and had three boys who also worked for Bowens at some point in their lives.
Their eldest son, Steven celebrated 33 exemplary years in the company on 21st March 2021 and currently serves as Sales & Cassettes Manager at Timbertruss, Bowens prefabrication business based in Corio. His second son, Robert, worked part-time at Bowens before launching a stellar 383 game career with the St. Kilda Football Club in the AFL including 2 Brownlow Medals. Anthony Harvey, Jeff and Marilyn’s youngest son, also worked at Bowens before moving to Adelaide and having a fantastic career with the Norwood Football Club in the SANFL.
Jeff’s family has always been a part of the Bowens family and will always be. They mirror the same values practiced at Bowens in their personal lives. He and his family truly epitomize excellence, pride, integrity, care and fun. Jeff Harvey’s loyalty towards his job and the company has only strengthened with time. So, now after 60 years, Harvey’s contribution to Bowens success still continues.