- KNIGHT, John James (1863-1927)
- journalistwas born at Hartley, Staffordshire, England, on 7 June 1863. At the age of 11 he went to New Zealand, and worked as a boy in the mechanical department of the Bruce Herald. Six years later he returned to England and with partners started a paper with trades union sympathies. In 1884 he went to Brisbane and was employed in the printing department of the Brisbane Courier. He soon afterwards was transferred to the literary staff, became the paper's chief parliamentary representative, and in 1900 was made editor of the Observer, an evening paper under the same management as the Courier. In 1906 he was appointed editor of the Courier, in 1916 became managing director of Queensland Newspapers Ltd, and afterwards combined this office with that of chairman of directors for the remainder of his life. In 1918 he represented Queensland on the Imperial mission to the war fronts, and in 1920 visited Canada as a member of the Imperial press delegation. He was chairman of the Queensland section of the Imperial press delegation when a visit was made to Australia in 1925. He died at Brisbane on 24 November 1927. He married at an early age and left a widow and two daughters. Apart from his journalistic work Knight was the author of In the Early Days, an interesting account of the founding of Queensland, was part author of The Story of South Africa, and was also responsible for Brisbane Past and Present and The True War Spirit. He arranged and edited Australian Pioneers and Reminiscences by Nehemiah Bartley which was in an incomplete state at the time of the author's death.Knight began work at a very early age and had received very little schooling. He began on the lowest rung of the journalistic ladder, and by his early forties was in command of a powerful newspaper which exercised much influence in Queensland. He was a great judge of men, always loyal to his staff, and though impatient of slackness or pretentiousness, could make allowances when a man had failed on account of circumstances beyond his control. He was a convinced Imperialist and though he had been associated with Dawson (q.v.), Fisher (q.v.) and other early Queensland labour leaders in his younger days, he later swung away from them and allied himself with their opponents. But he realized the value of the trades union movement, and never lost his sympathy with labour ideals. As a journalist he was a good fighter, especially if some injustice was involved, and he always fought fearlessly for measures which seemed to be in the best interests of the state.The Brisbane Courier, 25 November 1927; The Daily Mail, Brisbane, 25 November 1927.
Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. Angus and Robertson. 1949.
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