Home | Groups | Australasian Wire Industry Association

Downee

ABOUT US - OUR PROUD HISTORY

Six months ago we wrote an article for a rural magazine about Downee’s proud history. It told the story of Bob Matthews, our oldest employee at 72. Bob has been working for us since 1957 and he’s still going strong. It told the story of Bob’s dad and the rabbit trap – Downee’s original product - that he donated back in 1953. That rabbit trap still sits proudly in our showroom as a reminder of how important it is to preserve our proud heritage as an Australian manufacturer. Many people read that article and shared our pride.

Some months later we got a phone call from a man claiming to be the grandson of the founder. His name is Paul Downey and his aunties, Ruth and Joyce, the young ladies in the photo above who are now in their nineties, had seen the article and told him around their Sunday dinner that it was missing a big part of the story. The story of their father, Bill Downey, a pioneer of Australian manufacturing and his quest to design and manufacture the ultimate rabbit trap. The story of an Australian manufacturer who battled on through the depression and WW2 despite steel shortages, their best equipment being commandeered by the government, and their best workers being shipped off to the war. And the story of his daughters who ran the company for 10 years after his death in 1954.

Rabbit traps led to fence fittings and with Bill’s combination of Aussie grit and world class engineering, the company grew from modest beginnings to employing over 50 people when it was sold to the McPherson family in 1964. McPherson’s was already famous for fasteners and they leveraged it to grow the Downee brand until 1992 when it was bought by Ken Doidge of RMD Press Company. Ken relocated the manufacturing to Melbourne to take advantage of RMD’s considerable metal stamping expertise and it’s been there ever since

Nearly twenty years later we’ve weathered the storm of cheap Chinese imports and are still committed to Australian manufacturing. Forty people are employed in hands-on production roles in metal stamping, welding and fabrication, roll forming, injection moulding, and assembly.

The scope of Downee’s distribution has expanded over the last 20 years. A combination of acquisitions and organic growth has seen us grown from a single site to now having a warehouse and showroom in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland.

The product range has also expanded based around the needs of our customers. Gate and door automation now accounts for a large part of the sales. Partnering with some of the best European suppliers we have developed an offering that comprises of Italian and German motors, hinges and wheels paired with guides, brackets and fixtures designed and made here, by us, based on our understanding of the needs of the Trade customer. We call this concept TradeFirst and its what makes Downee different to other suppliers of quality gate and door automation.

OUR PRODUCTS

Sliding Gate Automation & Hardware
Swing Gate Automation
Cantilever Gate Hardware
Shutter Door Automation
Access Control
Boom Gates
Pool / Safety Gates

Company Information
Member Group: 
Chain Link and Welded Mesh Fence
Temporary Fence
Location: 
Australia
Address 1: 
6-10 Market Road
City: 
Melbourne
Suburb: 
Sunshine
State: 
VIC
Country: 
Australia
Postcode: 
3020
Phone Number: 
+61 3 9364 8288
Fax Number: 
+61 3 9311 7985
Bruce Allan
General Manager
0408419161