Perry Engineering

Perry Engineering was a major foundry and steel engineering works in the state of South Australia.

Perry Engineering
IndustryFoundry and steel engineering works
FounderSamuel Perry
SubsidiariesJames Martin & Co


Perry Engineering had its origins in 1899 when Samuel Perry purchased from the estate of James Wedlock the Cornwall Foundry on Hindley Street, renaming it the Victoria Foundry. He leased or purchased a nearby property on North Terrace and there established a bridge and girder factory. He purchased a large block of land at Mile End with potential for a private railway siding and around 1911 established the factory there, by 1916 it was known as Perry Engineering.[1][2]

In 1915, Perry purchased the James Martin & Co Phoenix Foundry works in Gawler from the estate of the owner Henry Dutton of Anlaby. The company had recently lost a major contract for locomotives, which may have affected the price,[3] as may have World War I which was then consuming capital and manpower.[4]

James Martin's locomotive manufacturing business was also being challenged by the state-owned Islington Railway Workshops. Samuel Perry transferred most of the heavy work to the Mile End factory, leaving the Gawler works with the rump of the business. He took on his nephew Frank as works manager at Mile End around 1918;[5] In 1930, on the death of his uncle, Frank took over the company, which in 1937 was registered as Perry Engineering Co. Ltd.[6]

Perry Engineering built locomotives for the Commonwealth Railways, South Australian Railways and Tasmanian Government Railways. It also built 19 locomotives for Queensland sugar cane line operators.[7] The Victorian State Rivers & Water Supply Commission purchased eight for construction of the Hume Weir and nine for the rebuilding of Silvan Reservoir.[citation needed]

During World War II much of the factory was converted to manufacture munitions and defence equipment including two types of vehicles which were sold to the Americans. One of the two vehicles was the Ferret scout car.[citation needed]

A heavy steel manufacturing plant was established in Whyalla in 1958, and the factory at Mile End expanded.[8] In 1947 the company became a public company. In the 1950s, it manufactured mechanical presses for Chrysler, Ford and Holden.[9]

In 1966 Perry Engineering merged with Victorian company Johns & Waygood to form Johns Perry Engineering.[9] The Mile End workshop closed three years later. Ten years later the company had no manufacturing capabilities in South Australia.[6] In 1986 the company was taken over by Boral.[10] As part of a company-wide rationalization, Boral decided to divest its engineering division and subsequently, Perry Engineering was sold to the Pope Electric Motors Group however, due to financial issues and lack of projects & contracts, Pope Electric Motors & Perry Engineering went into administration in 2000 and were subsequently liquidated.

In 2001, most buildings on site were demolished to allow construction of the Mile End Homemaker Centre, then in 2004/2005 the last remaining buildings were demolished to make way for stage 2 of the Homemaker Centre.[citation needed]


Products and projectsEdit


Proserpine Mill No 1 (1939) with a short chimney, the small sand boxes and the red and light lights on the smokebox door

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Advertising". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 26 October 1916. p. 5. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Engineering Works". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 24 January 1934. p. 30. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Martin & Co's Works". Bunyip. Gawler, SA: National Library of Australia. 16 April 1915. p. 2. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  4. ^ James Martin & Co Phoenix Foundry Town of Gawler
  5. ^ "Tariff Revision". The News. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 14 January 1925. p. 6 Edition: Home. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b Susan Marsden, 'Perry, Sir Frank Tennyson (1887–1965)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 9 December 2014
  7. ^ Sugar cane transport Light Railway Research Society of Australia
  8. ^ Cumming, D. A. and Moxham, G. They Built South Australia Published by the authors February 1986. ISBN 0 9589111 0 X
  9. ^ a b Johns Perry Limited Boral
  10. ^ "Johns Perry Limited (JPL)". deListed AUSTRALIA. Retrieved 26 December 2017.