Celebrating 60 Years of Service

Jeff Harvey celebrated 50 years of employment with Bowens on the 13th February 2011. A dinner in his honour was held at the Kingston Heath Golf Club. A number of speakers spoke about Jeff and what he represented in the eyes of fellow employees, customers, and the Bowen family. Revered, respected and admired by all for an outstanding career in the timber industry and for a contribution to Bowen & Pomeroy Pty Ltd that was unparalleled.

“Revered, respected and admired.”

And yes, that was 10 years ago! On the 13th February 2021, Jeff reached a career milestone of 60 years with the one company, the one family and an Industry that appreciates what he has done to further the use of timber as a really great building product.

Coincidentally his eldest son, Steven, celebrated 33 years with Bowens on the 21st March. Robert, his second son, worked part-time at Bowens before launching into a stella career as an Australian Rules footballer (dual Brownlow medalist) with St Kilda. Anthony Harvey also worked at Bowens before moving many years ago to Adelaide and another successful career.

Jeff’s three boys are a credit to him and to his wife Marilyn – Jeff and Marilyn met at Bowen & Pomeroy with Jeff forging his career as a hard-working timber man, and Marilyn as the Personal Assistant to Jack Dowling. Jack was another outstanding individual who together with Charlie Barrass took on the management of Bowen & Pomeroy after my grandfather died and prior to my father being old enough to accept the leadership position.

“Forging his career as a hard-working timber man.”

I put Jeff Harvey in the same category of both Jack Dowling and Charlie Barrass. Jeff’s 60 years with Bowens exceeds Jack’s 51 years and Charlie’s 48 years but more importantly it is the character of each of these three individuals that brings them together. All were (are) good men – all honest, hardworking, and loyal to both company and the people they worked with and the customers they worked for.

“Honest, hardworking, and loyal.”

In the December 2010 Builders Bulletin, John Bowen wrote, “Jeff continues to be a terrific contributor to Bowens in a multitude of ways. In five 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 represented the Company and himself with the highest level of integrity and garnered respect from all. Young and old love him equally.”

Well, nothing has changed in the last 10 years! Apart from still being ‘loved’, Jeff continues to contribute to work, family and the community. He and Marilyn have always been thoughtful and active in helping those in need and organisations that are dedicated to improving the lives of struggling families.

“He forever represented the Company and himself with the highest level of integrity and garnered respect from all. Young and old love him equally.”

I made it clear to Jeff some years ago that he would continue to have a role at Bowens for as long as he wished. Normally that sort of commitment might be treated with gratitude, but also with an attitude of ‘feet up, a chance to relax now’ … but not when it involves J. Harvey!

In the March edition of the Builders Bulletin, there was Harv reporting on a subject very close to his heart – the restoration and refurbishment of iconic timber buildings. In this case involving the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne. Proudly, Jeff is photographed standing next to a replacement post – he stands taller than he really is, no doubt because being next to a 225×225 piece of genuine recycled timber lifts his shoulders, together with his spirit!

“I made it clear to Jeff some years ago that he would continue to have a role at Bowens for as long as he wished.”

So, after 60 years, Harv’s contribution to Bowens success continues. Frank Di Stefano is now our full-time Product and Timber Specialist, ably supported by his great friend and mentor Harv.

Jeff Harvey is of course very much part of the famous ‘Cricketing Harvey’s’. In the Centenary Report of the Fitzroy Doncaster Cricket Club much is written about the Harvey ‘era’ – “Six brothers, Mervyn, Clarrie, Harold, Ray, Neil and Brian all represented the Club and all but Harold hit centuries in 1st XI. Mervyn’s sons Graham and Jeff later also represented the Club.” It should also be noted that Mervyn played one test for Australia with Jeff’s uncle Neil playing 79 tests (Batting average 48.4).

While Harv was part of this magnificent sporting/cricket family his own career as a Victorian District Cricketer was long and hard fought. From his early teens he served a long apprenticeship at ‘Seconds’ level before finally making the Seniors in 1969-70 at the age of 25. He went on to score a number of centuries, captained teams at both senior and second level, and is currently Chairman of Selectors at Fitzroy/Doncaster!

“While Harv was part of this magnificent sporting/cricket family his own career as a Victorian District Cricketer was long and hard fought.”

I mentioned this great connection Harv has to club cricket because his endurance and loyalty to both club and the game mirrors his loyalty to the timber industry and Bowens – in both cases over a 60-year period!

The Man, the Family have my family’s deepest respect – together with everyone connected to Bowens, to the building industry and the wider timber industry. Thanks Harv for ‘who you are, and who you represent’.

An Image of Jeff Harvey, 1990. 

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