Peter Perry (Colonialist)

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Peter Perry
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CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
OccupationColonial employee

J. Frederick "Peter" Perry (1873-1935) was a British colonial employee best known for his work as a member of Milner's Kindergarten in South Africa, immediately after the end of the Second Boer War. An Oxford Graduate, and employed by Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, Perry was placed on the staff of Lord Alfred Milner in 1900 as his personal secretary. In July 1901, he became Assistant Imperial Secretary with responsibility over all native (indigenous) territories in South Africa, including the newly acquired areas of the Orange River Colony and Transvaal. To bring South Africa back on its feet in the wake of war, he negotiated with the Portuguese in Mozambique to acquire native (African) labour for the mines. In 1903, he resigned and joined private industry to head up recruitment and working conditions of African labour on the Rand (greater Johannesburg).[1] After the Transvaal passed an ordinance permitting temporary foreign workers on February 10, 1904, Peter Perry travelled to China to advertise and recruit Chinese laborers, to be hired on three year contracts, to work in the South African gold mines.[2] To this, he was very successful. The first 1,000 laborers arrived in the mines in June, growing to 40,000 a year later, and peaking at 50,000 in 1906. Although unskilled, it was from this help that South Africa's economy recovered quickly.[3] The last of the Chinese workers left in 1910, and in 1912 Peter Perry left South Africa for Canada, and along with fellow Kindergartener Robert Brand took up an Investment Banking career at the London-based financial firm of Lazard Brothers.


  • Marlowe, John, Milner, Apostle of Empire, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1976
  • O'Brien, Terence, "Milner: Viscount Milner of St James's and Cape Town", London: Constable, 1979

Further Reading


  1. Marlowe, John, "Milner: Apostle of Empire", pg. 135
  2. O'Brien, Terence, "Milner: Viscount Milner of St James's and Cape Town", pg. 215
  3. O'Brien, pg. 216

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