The Furphy generations

The Furphy generations

The word “Furphy” became part of our Australian vocabulary during the First World War and is directly linked to the Furphy family, one of our longest standing regional manufacturers.

Over their 150 years of operation in regional Victoria, 5 generations of Furphy family members have grown the business of J. Furphy & Sons from blacksmithing and wheel righting in the 1860’s to today’s diversified engineering group, including a specialised stainless steel tank manufacturing facility in Shepparton.

Throughout the 150 years the focus has remained on supporting agricultural equipment and processing.

In the 1860’s the business made and repaired wheels and agricultural equipment, then in the 1880’s a foundry was established to produce harvesters, ploughs, graders, and the legendary “water cart”.

An engineering division was added to the business in the 1950’s to deliver sheet metal, fitting, and machining support to the burgeoning Goulburn Valley food processing sector.

The 1980’s saw the separation from J. Furphy & Sons of Furphy Foundry which, although separate, remains owned and operated by a Furphy family member, and remains based in Shepparton, manufacturing urban infrastructure for customers across Australia.

This decade also saw J. Furphy & Sons launch a new business division – Furphy Galvanizing – providing hot dip galvanizing services for the Goulburn Murray region.

Furphy Engineering is the larger of the two divisions of J. Furphy & Sons and has progressed into one of Australia’s foremost producers of custom made stainless steel tanks and vessels.

Furphy Engineering holds onto their agricultural roots with a strong focus on the food and beverage sector, which is well supported by their location in Shepparton, Victoria, one of Australia’s largest food processing hubs.

The concentration of food processing facilities within a 60km radius of the Furphy plant is extraordinary, with local brands including Fonterra, Bega/Tatura Milk, Unilever, Murray Goulburn, Pactum, SPC, and Kraft.

As Furphy Engineering continues to support local producers in the Goulburn Valley, the benefits of using stainless steel tanks has advanced beyond the food and beverage industry to include petrochemicals, waste water, chemical, energy, and mining industries within Australia.

Whether you’re storing, heating, cooling, agitating, or processing liquid consumables or non-consumable products, the Furphy Engineering team are dedicated to custom designing manufacturing tanks from 100 litre units up to 350,000 litre tanks.

“Over many years we have developed specific skills in stainless steel manufacturing and invested in state of the art equipment. This has allowed us to expand our scope into more diverse industries and to locations far beyond the Goulburn Valley,” said Adam Furphy – Managing Director of J. Furphy & Sons.

The 15 acre Shepparton site features over 7,000 square metres of undercover workshop with highly efficient manufacturing processes, dedicated zones for key stages of tank building, and access for clients’ technical teams to view work-in-progress.

The onsite team offers end-to-end service from in-house tank and vessel engineers designing the tanks, to specialists drafting 3D models and project managers working with the client from concept development to arranging specialised transport anywhere in Australia.

They’ve delivered boutique brewing tanks to Tasmania and 250,000 litre fuel storage tanks to far north Queensland.

As a regional manufacturer the Furphy businesses have deep roots in the local Shepparton community, employing around 110 staff.

Almost 25% of their workforce are long standing members of the team, each holding more than 10 years’ tenure with the Furphy family business.

To ensure continuity within the team, the company also employs more than 10 apprentices.

“Education is a particular area of interest for me and for the business. We are proud of our apprenticeship programs and are pleased to work locally with both GOTAFE and LaTrobe University – both of whom have campuses in Shepparton,” said Adam.

There’s also a local Furphy Museum – a joint collaboration by the two Furphy businesses – that chronicles the firm’s history and the business supports many local sporting clubs and service providers to the community.

Over 150 years of supporting Australian producers is achieved with an evolutionary mindset and a company-wide focus on continuous improvement.

The following motto was cast into the original Furphy water cart tank ends “Good, better, best.

Never let it rest, till your good is better and your better best.”

It’s still there on water cart ends produced in 2017! Furphy’s commitment to these words underpins their long standing success and customer relationships that span decades.

This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.

Featured Image: Adam Furphy.