John Knight Eulogy


Developed from the obituary read by his son Laurie Knight.

John knight was born in Bendigo in December 1935.

Growing up at the end of the Great Depression and during the second world war as the son of a travelling minister meant that John didn’t have a lot of toys to play with and like many of his generation, he was a natural hoarder of potentially useful things and always saw an economic recession around the corner. He was also a book worm. His sister Joy noted that “no-one can ever remember John without his nose in a book. Knowledge was to him a vast and wonderful ocean baring her bosom, begging him to dive in and explore.”

John and Olga bought their first house in Rochedale for the grand sum of $13,000 and John completed his honours degree with a study of Adventism in 1973. Over the next 8 years or so, he was a teacher at the Woodridge high School and a teacher librarian at the Sunnybank high school. Eventually he became a lecturer at the Mt Gravatt Teacher’s College.

John was a constant thinker – I remember him frequently writing notes – possibly for his doctoral thesis – during church services. Things were quite frenetic when his doctoral thesis was being typed up. He always wanted to have a rural-residential existence, and I remember the back yard had numerous vege patches and a chook pen. John and Olga looked a number of acreages round south-eastern Brisbane – I remember that John always carried a large screwdriver that he would poke into the ground so he could evaluate the agronomic potential of the soil. The second oil shock in the late 70s had an impact on him and he purchased one of those 50cc mopeds with bicycle pedals. He never actually rode it anywhere, so my brothers and I mainly used it to ride around the back yard. It ended its life on a goat farm west of Warwick.

Politically, John was always left of centre and was involved in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign and the civil liberties protests in Queensland during the 70’s & 80s. He was also there at the establishment of the Rainbow Alliance in Brisbane – a group that went on to become the Queensland Greens Party. In particular, social justice was an important thing for him.

John was a awarded a lectureship in education at the University of Queensland and eventually became an associate professor. He was constantly writing journal articles and book chapters, and supervising postgraduate students – he mentored many academics. John was always telling me that I needed to publish more.

John formally retired from UQ at the end of 1997. However, he didn’t actually retire. He set up Post Pressed – a small boutique publishing business that specialised in poetry and academic books and indigenous issues (see CRAFT Issue 1 side bar ‘Featured Link of the Issue – Post Pressed’viz. Contesting Colonialism: Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous Research – in all 20 titles). Many of our readers will have connections to Post Pressed. It was very important to him, and although it was financially difficult for him – he wasn’t a natural businessman – in all PP published about 200 titles. He helped many authors and that meant a lot to him. The fact that he was unable to find someone to take over the business was a major source of stress to him at the end.

John died peacefully in a room overlooking the Brisbane Botanical Gardens at St Vincent’s Hospital on Friday 24 February 2012. John is the third generation of Knights to be buried in the Redland Bay cemetery, where he will join his parents and grandparents.

John enriched the lives of many people, and we will miss him. He took the time to meet with Jim and myself even though very sick and then guided us in the development of CRAFT and lived to see its first Issue which I proudly showed him at his place. He even gave suggestions for Issue 2 from his hospital bed less than a week before he died. Thanks here also to Peter Murphy the PP webmaster, whom we met through John, for helping launch CRAFT late last year.

Salute Old Comrade RIP and we wish PostPressed all the best in future.

Paul Wildman and Jim Prentice 15-05-2012