Alfred Edward Gerard was born to William Gerard, a labourer, and Emily nee Russell, on 11 August 1888 in Aberdeen, South Australia. After Gerard completed his educated in Burra, he gained employment with a local coach builder. He then became an engineer and driver for millers, Edwin Davey and Sons. Gerard married Elise Marie Goodman on 26 March 1902.
In 1907 Gerard opened Gerard & Goodman. Using innovative solutions Gerard became a noteworthy figure in the Electrical merchandising business. The Gerard and Goodman Company is still family run and produce the nationally known Clipsal products.
During this time Gerard also devoted himself to the welfare of Australian Aboriginal children. Whenever he could he arranged for holidays and employment opportunities. While attending an Australasian Christian Endeavour Convention in 1924 Gerard was deeply influenced by TE Colebrook, a leader of an Australian Aborigine’s Mission. Inspired he established the United Aborigine’s Mission (UAM) in 1929. In collaboration with the South Australian Aborigine’s Protection Board the U.A.M helped support many mission stations including Swan Reach, Nepabunna, Quorn and Ooldea. He later became an activist for Aboriginal Australians ‘land rights’. Gerard died on 13 October 1950 leaving behind his widow and four sons.
The South Australian Museum Archives contains four film reels that were commissioned or filmed by Gerard on UAM supported missions.