A Wilcannia boy who made good

Post date: 
Monday, April 20, 2020 - 5:44am

Good morning all,

I’ve been thinking, no travellers, nothing opened, what’s the point!  Then I thought you may be interested in people who have made good from our little town. And I’d be happy to highlight any others from your town that we would be interested in learning about.

You see, back in 1933 a baby boy was born here in Wilcannia. Young Ian reached school age and his parents Bob and Kath, who resided at “Hillside” as it’s still known here in our town, sent Ian off to Wilcannia Primary School.

After a few years they then bundled him off down to Adelaide to attend Prince Alfred College. Ian then left PAC to join the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell, on the NSW south coast at the age of 13.

Ian Knox, part of the Knox and Downs family, was commissioned in 1950 and received further training ashore and at sea in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

He married Margie in December 1956. They had 2 sons and a daughter. Ian specialised in Torpedo and Anti-Submarine warfare, and received the Ogilvy Medal as Dux of the course.

He was posted to Melbourne in 1960, and assisted in the development of the “Ikara AWS Guided Missile System”. Ian was appointed Executive officer of the destroyer HMAS Perth in 1966, and served in Vietnamese waters in 1967/68.

In 1972 he attended the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, he was made Captain and appointed commanding officer of HMAS Hobart. He also commanded the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

In 1984, Ian Knox was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, in the Queens Birthday Honours. In 1989, Ian retired as Vice Chief of the Defence Force. He retired from the Royal Australian Navy that year after 42 years of service.

We have been honoured to have Ian and Margie back on numerous occasions, he has presented books to both schools and attended an Anzac Ceremony. A Wilcannia boy who made good.

They now live at Salamander Bay and are keeping good health. On speaking to Margie a few days ago, her biggest gripe was not being able to go out for a drink or two!

I hope you all find the above interesting, just one of many success stories that have began in our outback area.  Cheers, Bill Elliott. WCTA.


“I’ve put liquor bottles in every room. Tonight I’m getting dressed up and doing a pub crawl.”