At the age of 16 Frank Perry, who was the son of a Methodist clergyman, joined his uncle, Sam, who owned a small foundry and forge in Hindley Street. One of its earliest orders was to make the school’s front fence.
The business, which became known as Perry Engineering, moved to Mile End and acquired a second engineering works at Gawler, with Frank becoming works manager at both locations.
After his uncle died in 1930, Frank Perry became head of the business and remained its chairman until 1965. Perry, and other industry leaders, including Edward Holden, worked to develop secondary industry in South Australia, and during WWII concentrated on munitions manufacturing.
In public life Perry was Mayor of St Peters, served for a term in the House of Assembly and, after WWII, was a member of the Legislative Council for 18 years. Sir Frank was foundation president of the Australian Metal Industries Association, and a member of the College Council and the Council of Adelaide University.