Vale Gerry Forder

The Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia (MLAA) wishes to express its sympathies to the family and friends of Gerry Forder, who passed away on Thursday 11 March 2021 at the age of 79.

MLAA Life Member Cliff Forrester has written about Gerry’s very full and accomplished life and the contributions he made to the locksmithing profession below.

Gerry Forder was born 23 March 1941.  When he was fifteen, he began an apprenticeship with the Postmaster General’s Department (today’s Australia Post and Telstra) as a locksmith. Gerry was not certain if a locksmith was what he wanted to be, so he continued his studies in engineering, ending up with a Diploma of Engineering. Gerry found employment with an engineering firm and soon became a manager. 

When Albert Chantry Senior started his business from his house, Gerry came to work for him. Gerry was Alby Senior’s first employee and learned much of his trade with him.

Gerry left Chantry’s to start Safecrackers Unlimited in the early 1980s. His preparation, organisation and engineering skills soon earned him a solid reputation as a reliable ‘safecracker’, a term Gerry enjoyed. Known as the go-to man when opening safes, his reputation soon extended Australia-wide and Gerry would travel to open the safes that beat other locksmiths.

But Gerry was more than a locksmith. With considerable engineering talent and skills, he soon began making specialist tools for his own use and for other locksmiths.

Gerry delivered safe opening training at the 1995 Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia (MLAA) Conference in Kuala Lumpur. MLAA Members and many Asian locksmiths and safe engineers have fond memories of his training. The innovations of forums such as United States’ Clearstar and the Australian Locksmiths Forum were able to bring locksmiths and safe engineers together worldwide. Gerry’s tools became famous – not just in Australia, but all over the world – and these innovative tools were heavily sought after and still are.

Gerry was also a great golfer. Legend has it that his doctor advised him to take up walking after a health scare. Gerry never saw the sense in doing something without a purpose, and so he took up golfing. As with all the things he did, he became an expert, achieving 7 official holes in one and playing off a single digit handicap. He and his wife Jan loved to travel and visit the local golf courses throughout Australia. In his latter years Gerry and Jan were members of the Clifton Springs Golf Club, where they were well respected.

As a locksmith, safe engineer, tool maker and golfer, Gerry did everything well. He also mentored quite a few young locksmiths along the way and was always happy to provide advice. His ‘Gerry’s CD’, now ‘Gerry’s USB’, and website still continue to be one of the best sources of information about Australian safes.

His helpful attitude and great personality made Gerry many friends, both in Australia, New Zealand and the USA and Europe. People all over the world have been saddened by his loss, however he is now with his beloved wife Jan who passed in April 2019.

Rest in peace, Gerry. You lived a good life. Well done.

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