When Parish Engineering was established in Moorabbin, Victoria 75 years ago, the Second World War was still raging across Europe and reaching down into the South Pacific.
Parish Engineering’s connection with the war was not just one of a shared timeline. Parish Engineering was contracted by the Australian government to supply the allies with vital munitions components.
Over the next four years following Parish Engineering’s establishment, the world changed dramatically. In 1945 the axis powers were defeated, in 1946 the Cold War began, and in 1948 the first Holden – the famous FX Holden – was produced in Australia, promising a new era of mobility to ordinary Australians.
The post-war period was an economic golden-age, particularly for Australian manufacturing and Parish Engineering was an integral part of that boom; becoming a regional supplier of component parts to Holden.
But it isn’t just Holden that Parish Engineering supplied components to over the past seventy five years. Ford, Toyota, Harvester Trucks, Sidchrome / Stanley, Sutton Tools – these are just some of the manufacturing and brand behemoths Parish Engineering has worked with.
Parish Engineering has seen dramatic changes over its lifetime. It began in 1932 as a family-owned business, but the demands of the war saw it expand into a proprietary limited company in 1944 and grow from 8 employees in 1940 to over 40 six years later.
Having no children to pass the company on to, in 1968 Bill Parish decided to sell the company. Graeme Sinclair was employed as an Engineer at Parish in the 1970’s and with a partner purchased the company in 1980. When Graeme’s daughter Nicole Sinclair joined the business as an Engineer in 2006, and Graeme’s business partner sold his shares to the Sinclair family in 2008, Parish Engineering once again became a truly family owned business.
Over its 75 plus years, Parish Engineering has endured a Depression, a World War, the post-war golden-age, several recessions, a decline in manufacturing, and more recently manufacturing’s resurgence.
The return of manufacturing
With the manufacturing sector currently employing close to a million people in Australia, rumours of the death of Australian manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated suggests Parish CEO, Nicole Sinclair.
‘When automotive manufacturers like Holden and Toyota closed their facilities in 2017, it seemed to many people like the last gasp of manufacturing in Australia,’ said Ms Sinclair.
‘It looked like everything was being offshored, and that the age of good jobs and certainty was over, but that’s not the case.’
‘The reality is that not only did Australian manufacturing survive, it has changed, as have global production chains. Today, manufacturing is returning to industrialised nations like Australia.’
With global wages rising and the increasingly sophisticated nature of modern manufacturing, manufacturers are looking for nations to have an advanced IT infrastructure, highly educated workers to operate the machinery, and to produce goods in close access to the markets in which those goods are sold.
As part of that manufacturing resurgence, Parish Engineering is expanding too, purchasing truck air brake fittings manufacturer, Longworth Engineering, in 2016.
And there are plans afoot for this Australian manufacturing and engineering institution to expand its influence in the future. Parish Engineering’s growth will be based on continuing to invest heavily in staff and machines, suggests Ms Sinclair.
‘We want to ensure the company looks to the future with the same innovative spirit and enthusiasm that Graeme Sinclair and Bill Parish have demonstrated over the past 75 years in the industry.
‘And that’s very much in line with the vibrant future for Australian manufacturing more broadly,’ said Ms Sinclair.
‘Australian manufacturing is already world leading in many areas, such as aeronautics and advanced medical technology. What we need people to understand is how vibrant that future is, and how much better it can be with government support in education and training, investment, research and development, and trade opportunities.’
Available for comment: CEO of Parish Engineering, Nicole Sinclair.
Enquiries: David Latham, Trade Media, 0479 130 242