2016 marks the 90th anniversary of Everhard producing quality products for the water and wastewater industries.
On 20 September 1926, Alfred T Davis and his business partner established Queensland’s first laundry tub manufacturing business, located in Bulimba on the southern bank of the Brisbane River. These continued to be manufactured for the next 60 years with more than 300 000 produced during that time. Many of these pre-cast concrete laundry tubs – some up to 180kg in weight – can still be found in homes today.
The business partnership dissolved a few years later but Alf continued to run the business, adopting the “Ever-Hard” name and relocating to Breakfast Creek. In 1932 Alf’s brother Frederick Davis joined him in the management of the business and, upon the premature death of Alf in 1936, Fred Davis became the sole owner and manager of the “Ever-Hard Concrete Products Coy.”
The Second World War created many difficulties, including the call to military service for the six permanent employees and quotas on cement being enforced. There were, however, also opportunities and concrete baths weighing 180kg and costing £5 each were successfully added to the product range during the war years when steel and porcelain were hard to come by.
In 1946 Selwyn Davis, Fred’s older son, joined the company as a Concrete Production Manager and, in 1947, became a part owner along with his brother, Noel. Gradually the brothers’ stake in the company grew and they held the vast majority of the ownership by Fred’s death in 1966. Selwyn and his family became the sole owners of the business in the early 1980s and Selwyn remained as the Managing Director until his retirement in 2008.
In the 40s many new opportunities arose, including the contract to provide pre-cast concrete pits and covers for what is now known as Telstra—a relationship that lasted more than 40 years. That decade also saw the introduction of pre-cast concrete grease arrestors to the product range.
The 1950s and 60s saw further expansion of Everhard, including new product developments, product improvements, the acquisition of similar businesses and the purchase of land for new production sites and distribution centres. In 1965 Everhard introduced pre-cast concrete septic tanks to the product range with Queensland’s first “direct-to-hole” delivery of the concrete tanks using a 1942 ex-army Blitz truck. This coincided with the purchase of 5 acres at Newman Road, Geebung and the manufacture of the concrete septic tanks was moved to that location in 1967. In 1971 this site also became the company’s headquarters and has remained so ever since. An adjoining 2½ acres was purchased just two years later.
In 1964 the Glo-Tub™, an epoxy coated concrete tub, which would become the flagship of Everhard’s laundry unit range for many years, was unveiled. The Glo-Tub™, was the first laundry unit available in colour and created a new focus on the forgotten room of the house.
The exciting achievements of the 60s set the mood for even greater progress and technology advancements. The 70s began with a change of company name to Everhard Industries Pty Ltd to more truly reflect the overall activities of the company. One of the key milestones for Everhard was the decision in 1974 to invest heavily in buildings and machinery to develop a range of injection-moulded polymer products alongside the familiar concrete civil, wastewater and laundry ranges. The first product manufactured on the new plastics injection moulding machine was drainage trench, a product that is still marketed today. The comparatively lightweight polymer products gave Everhard the chance to be a national supplier for the first time and soon saw Everhard products in demand throughout Australia.
Everhard continued to be at the forefront of design and innovation with their laundry units including the first polymer tub in the southern hemisphere – the Multiflow Glo-Tub™, released in 1976. This was the key to a huge new national market for Everhard and saw the establishment of a national distribution network. The Retro Tub range from the early 2000s featured an assortment of vibrantly coloured powder coated metal cabinets that took the laundry to the next level in interior design. Today the Excellence range continues the innovation with sleek dark cabinets and stainless steel inserts. The polymarble-topped Bloom laundry cabinet is further leading the way in freestanding laundry unit design, beautifying what has traditionally been thought of as purely practical and functional area of the home.
By 1983, Selwyn and his family had become the sole business owners, with Selwyn’s late son, Colin, having joined the business. Growth and development of the product ranges continued at a rapid pace, culminating in the purchase of a further three hectares at Geebung dedicated to plastic products manufacturing, including the famous “Glo-Tubby” laundry units.
The mid 1980s also saw the introduction of the Everdrain polymer channel and grate which is still in production today. The concept further evolved into the EasyDRAIN Channel and Grate range of products which have proven to be useful and popular in both domestic and light commercial situations and can be seen throughout Australia, wherever the need for the fast removal of surface water is needed. By the 1990s, stormwater pits were added to the range and this lead to the development of a steel grates division in 1993.
In 1994, Everhard installed and commissioned one of the world’s largest injection moulding machines enabling the production of polymer septic and water tanks and other large products. Whilst supplying tanks to many wastewater treatment system manufacturers, Everhard undertook a further major expansion with the acquisition of the Aqua-nova™ business. As well as wastewater and grey water treatment products, a focus on surface water drainage and stormwater management solutions has led to the development of an increasing range of products for both the DIY market and commercial applications.
In the past 20 years, Everhard has become an importer and distributor of plumbing and drainage products as well as maintaining a strong manufacturing presence. This has not only helped to maintain Everhard’s competitiveness in the modern Australian market, but also allowed the product range to expand into other areas of the home. The marketing of kitchen sinks, stainless steel insert laundry bowls, mixer taps, vitreous china basins, vanity units and toilet suites have further contributed to the “Everything Water” theme.
With branches and agents throughout Australia and a continued emphasis on the highest standards of customer service, as well as ongoing support of our customer’s training conferences and expos, Everhard continues to provide the market with a wide range of products for the plumbing supplies and hardware industries.
Everhard’s future progress is in focus now more than ever. The business remains proudly family-owned, with Selwyn’s daughter, Sue Boyce, in the position of Chair and her adult children in roles that involve both the day-to-day activities of the company and seats on the Board. Along with innovations in product design and range, changes to the plumbing supplies and hardware industries will provide challenges and opportunities for Everhard and its continuing future success.