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Cox, Edward Kenneth (Ken) (1913–1995)

by Andy Skuja

Edward Kenneth Cox Esquire was born on 26 May 1913 at Queenstown in Tasmania.

He was educated at the Hobart State High School. In 1931 he attended the University of Tasmania, and in 1932 went on to the Australian Forestry School in Canberra, from which he graduated the following year.

Ken Cox started his forestry career as a probationer attached to the Timber Division at Head Office in Hobart and in October 1935 was appointed Acting Divisional Forest Officer of the South Eastern Division.

From there his work took him to the North West of the State where he was to remain for most of his working life. He took charge of the N W Division, operating variously from Smithton, Burnie or Devonport and covered his domain on foot, horseback, bicycle, and motor bike.

On the advent of the modern technological age he found himself firmly established in Burnie, driving the latest model Holden and surveying his lands from fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

He was appointed to the Forestry Commission in 1972 in charge of marketing and sales, from which position he retired in December 1976 after 41 years of service. Ken Cox became a living legend in his own time in the North West of the State, for his unswerving dedication to duty, his meticulous approach to everything he undertook and for his incredible stamina with which he pursued these tasks.

In the 30 years he spent in the North West, he learnt the location of every boundary line, corner pin, coupe and bush mill. A major part of the forests he had inspected on foot and knew the creeks, the swamps and patches of good forests like the back of his hand.

He pursued relentlessly every illegal fire and every case of unauthorised cutting, and his reports on selection applications were a model for his subordinates.

The example of personal and professional standards that he set for his staff whilst in field administration were carried through to his work following his appointment to the Commission in July 1972, where he undertook the onerous task of preparing the case for the reductions on the post war sawlog cutting levels and laying in place the achievement of sustainable yields for Tasmania’s Crown hardwood forests.

His personal contribution to this momentous project will be recognised as marking a corner stone in the evolution of sound forestry practice in our State. He retired from the Commission in 1976.

Ken Cox joined the Institute on 21 September 1936. Irrespective of his station and location, he always has been a staunch and loyal supporter of the business of the Institute and a dedicated promoter and practitioner of the principles and ideals of the profession of forestry, which is its charter.

It is a pleasure to recognise formally Ken’s distinguished service to forestry and to the Institute of Foresters of Australia.

Original Publication

  • IFA Newsletter, vol 31, no 1, March 1990, p 29

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Citation details

Andy Skuja, 'Cox, Edward Kenneth (Ken) (1913–1995)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 9 August 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012