Class of 1938

Tom Perrott was born the second of five children in Perth of an Irishman from Cork who stepped off the boat in 1913, and mother Kathleen Delaney who hailed from Fremantle. Study did not come easily to Tom but he made up for what he lacked academically with stellar performances on the field. A strong runner he also played in the 1st XI and the 1st XVIII. Leaving as a Prefect, Tom’s contribution to both sports gets many mentions in the Annual of that year. He returned to the Terrace to finish his studies before joining his father’s business. Probably today we would say he was dyslexic, but it didn’t hold him back. He left school as a great storyteller and able in accounting.

Tom arrived in time to catch a huge wave of need for his skills in WA, in decorative and commercial painting and he smelt the opportunity. Tom could sell: he worked hard and developed really sharp business acumen. In 1957 Tom, an entrepreneur like his father, took over the family business now named DC Perrott and Son. Six years later after 40 years of trading, it included Gardner Brothers of Melbourne. He arrived at the perfect time to build a profitable business, Perth was growing fast and the need for his services was strong. Soon he was running an international firm Gardner Perrott Group with more than 1,200 employees. In 1986 it was named WA Company of the Year and he was awarded WA Citizen of the Year.

Tom was blessed with a very strong faith and indeed he had contemplated entering the priesthood while spending a year in the Novitiate of the Jesuits until ill health forced him to return to Perth. Michael, his son, remembers him saying the rosary as he drove them to school in a ute carrying a full load of paint tins in the back. Only a near-crash along the way would stop him reciting long enough to vent at some poor driver who crossed his path, before continuing where he left off without missing a line.

Tom was a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society for 65 years and a central figure in coordinating Pope John Paul II’s visit to Perth. As well as being a major driver of commerce in the state, a member of the Confederation of WA Industry, his philanthropic contributions to the community were phenomenal. He was a founding member of Southern Cross Homes, president of the WA Society for Crippled Children, founding member of the Child Accident Prevention Foundation, the Diabetes Research Foundation and he chaired the Channel Nine Appealathon Foundation. In 1982 he was recognised with an Order of Australia for his service to disabled children and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service to the community and commerce. Another great payoff for his considerable skills and love of cricket was to be president of the WACA from 1990 to 1998.