A man of Great Vision
Fondly known as the grand old man of WA harness racing, Sir Frank Ledger was knighted in 1963 for his services to industry. Sir Frank ran the family engineering firm J and E Ledger for more than 30 years and was involved in many committees and organisations promoting local business. He died in April 1993, aged 93, in his Peppermint Grove home.
“He was a man of great vision and tenacity of purpose,” former colleague Sir Bruce MacKinlay said. “He was very dedicated to WA and worked hard to ensure that industry progressed. He also wanted to ensure that industry was carried on with great integrity.”
Sir Bruce remembered Sir Frank as a strong advocate of the amalgamation of the WA Employers Federation and the Chamber of Manufactures. He had been president of both organisation.
This move gave rise to the Confederation of WA Industry, the predecessor of today’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Sir Frank was educated at Perth Boys School and began his career as a 15-year-old apprentice in his family’s engineering firm, established in 1885. Sir Frank managed and directed the firm from 1935 until 1965 when he sold it to the British Mitchell Cotts group.
The company regained the family name in 1987 when Sir Frank’s grandson, Kim, bought the operation and renamed it Ledger Engineering. Sir Frank played league football for East Perth and was a member of the WA Turf Club, the WA Cricket Association, the WA National Football League, the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and the Perth Yacht Club.
Sir Frank became a member of the WA Trotting Association in August 1937 and was elected to the Committee of the Association on 12th August 1966 following a by-election brought about by the death of JP Stratton. Sir Frank attended his first Committee meeting on 18th August 1966.
On 27th October 1966 Sir Frank was elected Vice-President of the WATA and was President from November 1969 until October 1977 when he retired from the Committee. His service to harness racing in Western Australia was recognised in 1969 when he was made a Life Member of the WATA.
In 1976 Sir Frank was awarded the inaugural JP Stratton Award by his peers on the Australian Harness Racing Council for his outstanding service to harness racing nationally as an administrator.
As President of the WA Trotting Association his vision led to the re-establishment of Gloucester Park in its present form including the construction of the grandstands down the length of the home straight and significant improvements in the quality of the public amenities at the course.
In 1974 Sir Frank became the inaugural Chairman of the Australian Harness Racing Council (now called Harness Racing Australia) and remained in that position until 1976. He was also Chairman of the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council between 1973 and 1977 after having been Senior Vice-President of the IDHRC between 1970 and 1973.
In addition to his work as an administrator Sir Frank raced a number of horses with none better than the giant Dillon Grattan gelding, Marbellup, which won six races at Gloucester Park for trainer/driver Mick Taylor.
The Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust continues to give scholarships to encourage higher education as a legacy to Sir Frank’s belief in life-long executive learning and these scholarships are provided for executives in the not-for-profit and small business sectors.