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Perry, Douglas Humphrey (Dick) (1902–2003)

Dick Perry, by Gregg Borschmann, 1997

Dick Perry, by Gregg Borschmann, 1997

24445067

Dick Perry was born in 1902 in the south of England, migrating with his family to Western Australia in 1912 and settling at Irwin near Dongara where his father managed the horse teams on a large farm.

In 1917, after leaving school at fourteen, Dick was one of five chosen by C. E. Lane Poole to become the first apprentices at the Ludlow Forestry School. This was under the Woods and Forests Department, however, by the time they completed the four year training the Forest Act had been passed (1919) and they graduated as employees of the Forests Department.

The hours worked in those days were long and hard, and Dick developed a well established work ethic which lasted all through his career, and into his retirement.

Dick’s early years were spent in assessment teams in the largely uncharted karri forests south of Pemberton, then to Hamel nursery on the coastal plain near Waroona, and in 1921, in company with Jack Thompson, he established a nursery for Pinus radiata at Mundaring Weir which was built on the Helena River in the jarrah forest to the east of Perth to supply water to the Goldfields. The subsequent plantation, which Dick helped establish, included the famous Greystones, 3 which was and probably still is the best compartment of P. radiata ever grown in Western Australia.

From Mundaring, he went on to establish the Maritime pine (P. pinaster) plantations at Collier, Applecross and Scadden on the sands of the Swan coastal plain in the Perth metropolitan area and initiated the now extensive plantations at Gnangara, just north of Perth.

In addition, for much of this period he was acting as secretary for the second Conservator of Forests, Alan Kessell.

Dick’s association with the Pinaster tree culminated in a two year stay in Leiria in Portugal, the home of Pinaster, in the early 1960s. Here he and his wife scoured all the existing stands to collect superior Pinaster genetic material to boost the breeding programme. The material he collected formed the basis of improved stock used in existing plantations and is now set to have renewed significance as the basis of the commercial reforestation of cleared farmland for the control of saline groundwaters in areas outside the range of bluegums.

During the 1950s Dick became involved in the collection of termites for the CSIRO, a task which sparked a life long study of the insects which saw him become one of the leading authorities in Western Australia on termites.

Dick joined the Institute of Foresters soon after it was formed in 1935, and has a certificate of membership dated 29 April 1939. He also has a certificate recognising his 50 years of membership which was awarded in 1985. In 1991 he received Membership of the Order of Australia [AM] for his contribution to [forestry and to] entomology.

Original Publication

  • IFA Newsletter, vol 38, no 1, February 1997, p 42

Other Entries for Douglas Humphrey (Dick) Perry

  • Forester, vol 43, no 2, June 2002, pp 7-8, by Eric Hopkins

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Perry, Douglas Humphrey (Dick) (1902–2003)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/perry-douglas-humphrey-dick-19432/text30843, accessed 19 November 2017.

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