The Nover story – where it all began

Nover Constructions Pty Ltd commenced business in 1954 operating from the rear of a small cottage in Putney, in suburban Sydney. There were two partners originally, Norm Overmeyer and Ken Cowley. Norm was a civil engineer and Ken, a chartered accountant, and company secretary of wool buyers Dreyfuss & Co. The name Nover is derived from Norm’s name.

The company was established as a civil engineering contractor undertaking a variety of building and engineering contracts around the city of Sydney.

An important part of this early period was the securing of a contract to lay gas pipes for Sydney’s early supplies of what was then known as ‘towns gas’. Over time the company also became involved in the refurbishment of apartment blocks, mainly in the city. As Norm focused on the construction side of the business, Ken, through earlier contacts in the wool broking business, was being offered a variety of products by several Japanese trading houses. It was uncommon to import product from Japan in the late fifties and sixties.

However, some of the products offered were of such quality and price that the partners commenced importing small quantities of product, mainly focused on the building industry – items such as compressed air lines, as used by jack hammers, truck tyres, decorative plywood and laminates.

As time passed, interest in prefinished plywoods for use in cabinet and internal house door construction developed, and this led to the establishment of a business to manufacture hollow core cabinet doors, comprising a 2” x 1” timber frame with prefinished ply cut to size and glued over to create a light and stable door panel.


This business was originally called Associated Credit Builders Pty Ltd but subsequently changed its name to Austel Industries Pty Ltd.

The 1980s saw major changes for the group. The kitchen business was deemed to compete with Nover and the family decided to sell. The purchasers were R N Jones and Co who operated a kitchen business in Queensland under the name of Transpac. This left the family focused on Nover – a branch was opened at Bateman’s Bay, then closed and moved to Nowra, and then finally to Wollongong. Another of Ken and Ailsa’s children, Lynn, joined the family business in 1984.


Formica laminate and Coronite board had become Nover’s leading brands as the business became more specific to the kitchen industry, which was still evolving quickly. Colours and finishes were changing regularly and woodgrain finishes on board were coming into their own, transforming forever laminate’s place in the kitchen and furniture industry.

Ken and Ailsa travelled widely, constantly visiting trade shows in Europe and the United States. Over the next few years more branches were established – Tuggerah, Penrith, Revesby (Condell Park) and Port Macquarie all opened their doors. These were followed by Orange and Wagga Wagga.

The company’s product range had greatly expanded and became a complete supply solution to kitchen manufacturers and shopfitters. Pionite from the USA was now Nover’s leading brand of laminate.

1994 saw the ‘official’ retirement of Ken Cowley as managing director and the appointment of Stephen, although Ken remained active in the business for some time after that. Following Ken’s death in November 2000, Stephen was appointed Chairman of the group.

In January 2003, a small joinery supplies distribution business, Bettaform, was purchased in Bundaberg. 2003 also saw the purchase of Cabinet Hardware Supplies in Queensland, adding branches at Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Virginia and the Gold Coast, as well as the purchase of Eastern Joinery Supplies in Bayswater, Melbourne.

Nover’s four Sydney locations were consolidated into one location at Eastern Creek in Western Sydney in 2004.


Nover at 70 – extensive branch network, exclusive brands

Jump forward to 2024, Nover continues to support local businesses with our branch network, employing local people. Our product offer continues to evolve with a focus on the cabinetmaking and joinery industries, with a range of exclusive brands including Krome drawer systems and cabinet hardware, Fenix NTM, Evostone solid surface, Platinum appliances, sink and tapware, DesignerSplash splashbacks and Peka storage systems.