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History of John Valves

Foundations

Inception and Rapid Growth

The journey began in 1896 when Morgan B John initiated the business on Lydiard Street South with a modest workforce of three men. However, it rapidly expanded from a small machine shop and foundry into a sprawling complex with offices, a social club, and a pattern shop on Armstrong Street’s west side.

History - Factory
John Valves Creswick Road
Growth

Evolution & Growth

The evolution continued with the incorporation of MB John Ltd in 1927. In 1954, the company moved to a significant 12-acre site on Creswick Road, establishing itself as the large-scale manufacturer known as “John Valves.” 

By 1960, the workforce had grown to 850 men, specialising in producing industrial valves for diverse applications like steam, water, oil, air, gas, and chemicals. Their range included valves made from bronze, cast iron, cast steel, and alloy steels, catering to domestic and global markets.

Changes

New Life for John Valves

Ballarat’s Australian Valve and Engineering (AVE) acquired John Valves in 2009. AVE had a long history of servicing and repairing John Valve products. With AVE securing the name, patents, trademarks, and intellectual property, the business could focus on growth under the new name.

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CNC Machine for Valves
Future

The Future of John Valves

After over a decade of growth, John Valves manufactures, repairs, and maintains a wide range of industrial valves. The head office is located in Ballarat, with additional locations around Australia. Our clients are all around Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, and a growing international customer base.

We strive to embrace new technology, methods, and innovation to build our legacy and know-how. 

Timeline

Founder and Early Years:

  • 1860 Morgan John arrived in the Ballarat goldfields from Wales. After unsuccessful gold mining ventures, he utilised his skills in iron and brass founding, joining the Phoenix foundry.
  • 1896, he started his own brass founding business, initially employing three men.
  • 1899 His son, M.W.B. John, joined the business three years later, contributing to its growth.

Shift to Valve Manufacturing:

  • With the decline in the gold mining industry, M.W.B. John focused exclusively on manufacturing valves at the age of 20. The business prospered, supplying a variety of bronze fittings to the goldfields of Ballarat and Bendigo.

Corporate Development:

  • 1927, a proprietary company was formed, which was later converted to public status in 1947.
  • 1955, a new plant at Creswick Road was in total production, employing 536 people.
  • 1955, John Valves began a significant 18-year association with Hatfield (Ormskirk) Ltd., one of England’s largest valve manufacturing companies.

Expansion and Acquisitions:

  • 1959, the company extended its operations by acquiring valve manufacturing companies, including Gordon Marr & Sons Pty. Ltd. (Sydney), B.C. Richards & Co. Pty. Ltd. (Brisbane), and James Kemp & Co. Pty. Ltd. (Currumbin). This led to the formation of the JOHN Group of Companies, which continued to grow and establish offices and warehouses across Australia.
  • 1976, JOHN Group officially became a member of the Wormald International Group, expanding its reach and influence, particularly in overseas markets where Wormald was well-established.

A New Era

  • 2008, the businesses ceased operations on Creswick Road with the closure and sale of the site.
  • 2009, John Valves was acquired by Ballarat’s Australian Valve & Engineering business.

Current Status:

  • 2024, John Valves continues to grow with locations in Ballarat and Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.
  • Employs over 50 people around Australia
  • New warehouses and offices are to be announced in 2024.