Jarvis Walker celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2016—proud to be 100 percent Australian owned and operated.
The Jarvis Walker story starts in Deepdene, Victoria, in 1946. Company founder Jim Jarvis Walker was a skilful angler with a vision to produce professional quality fishing tackle at a price the general public could afford. His enterprise began with Jarvis Walker brand handmade fishing rods. Jim’s experience and vision drove the innovation and quality workmanship that kept Jarvis Walker at the forefront of fishing rod technology. The business flourished and strong sales growth forced a move to larger premises at Nunawading.
By the 1960s Jarvis Walker was synonymous with Australian fishing rods and has since grown to become a true Australian icon and a success story on the international tackle stage, with Jarvis Walker and other company brands Rovex, Tsunami and Watersnake now sold in many countries.
The 1980s was a decade of change for the company. It began exploring offshore sourcing opportunities and established a manufacturing facility in Malaysia in 1982. The Nunawading premises were stricken by fire and the company moved to Mulgrave. In 1984 Jarvis Walker purchased Power Tackle and Sports, which owned the Len Butterworth rod manufacturing and tackle distribution business based in Brisbane. In 1988 Jarvis Walker was acquired by Japanese company Ryobi. This development opened access to new product categories and enhanced its sourcing abilities throughout Asia, which grew into an enviable strength of the company that continues as an advantage to this day.
In 1991Jarvis Walker moved premises to Stud Road, Rowville. In 1997, ownership changed with management participating in a buyout in conjunction with Penn Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Co. In 2002, the managing shareholders purchased the remainder of the equity from Penn, making Jarvis Walker once more a 100 percent Australian owned and operated company. It remains in the same Australian hands as it marks its 70th anniversary.
A lot has happened since then: in 2003 further growth required more space and the company moved to its current Dandenong facility, where modern offices and a large warehouse are the central hub for Jarvis Walker’s business. The company launched the Rovex brand to offer anglers a broader range of tackle and later launched Watersnake, to move into the marine market with electric motors and marine accessories. The company’s marine offer was later broadened through its acquisition of the Platinum Marine business.
The Jarvis Walker 2016 stable of brands is a mix of the company’s own assets: Jarvis Walker, Rovex, Watersnake, Tsunami, Jarvis Walker Outdoors and Platinum Marine; plus international partnership brands Fin-Nor, Quantum, Van Staal, Zebco, Boone, WFT and Cortland. In recent decades the company also managed the development of other brands within the Australian market, including Ryobi, Penn, Sufix, Butterworth and others.
Jarvis Walker’s international achievements with its own brands is a great Australian success story, with Jarvis Walker, Rovex, Tsunami and Watersnake products now found in tackle stores all over the world. Jarvis Walker has established distributor companies in New Zealand, South Africa and the UK, plus distributorships operate in countries throughout Europe and the Americas, collectively growing the global reach of the company’s brands. The company also has a logistics office with a staff of 20 based in Shanghai, plus a warehousing facility in Weihai, China. The company has also established a manufacturing and warehousing facility in Vietnam, with a staff of more than 150.
Today Jarvis Walker and its subsidiary companies are managed by a mix of its Australian owners and a diverse staff, many of whom count their service to the company in decades. Managing Director Trevor Maundrell started with Jarvis Walker as NSW Sales Manager in 1984. Director of Sourcing Kevin Saines started in 1985 as Commercial Manager. National Accounts Manager Brian Black, who has been the driving force behind the Watersnake success story, started in 1987 as Victorian Sales Representative. General Manager Ben Scales started in Accounts in 1994. Jarvis Walker’s longstanding management and company size has had a strong influence on the Australian fishing tackle market. The company’s influence reaches further still as personnel movements have trickled throughout the industry, including two former-staff currently holding Managing Director roles with other major tackle companies.
A 70-year company history is difficult to achieve and is a milestone reached through hard work, tenacity, innovation and a commitment to a set of ideals. Jarvis Walker’s mission throughout its 70 years has remained true to its founder Jim Walker’s vision. The company continues to develop quality fishing tackle that the general public can afford and it promotes fishing as a fun and healthy outdoor activity that brings family and friends together. Each year countless anglers around the world make their cast using Jarvis Walker Brands fishing tackle and the company remains proud to be involved with family weekends, boating trips, camping trips, a kids’ first fish and their progression towards a lifetime of fishing experiences.