John Avery was born in Victoria in 1873. In 1917 he was appointed Manager at the newly established Electrolytic Zinc Company at Risdon. Leaving in 1925, he undertook the building and operation of a pilot plant at Kermandie for the production of pulp and paper from eucalypts by a process developed by his brother David Avery, an industrial chemist. The production was successful but the economic climate of the time meant there was little investment interest or opportunity for the venture so it closed. John Avery and family returned to Victoria.