Browse Entries

Biographical entry Knight, John Langford (Jack) (1912 - 1988)

25 August 1912
Cressy, Victoria, Australia
22 January 1988
Blackburn, Victoria, Australia
Chemist and Public servant


Jack Knight was a chemist whose expertise lay in explosives. After three years working on acids and explosives at Nobel (Australasia) Pty Ltd he joined the Commonwealth Department of Defence, being posted to the Explosives Factory at Maribyrnong. During WWII he was part of a mission to North America in 1942 to study the manufacture of smokeless powder, later being responsible for the establishment of a new explosives plant to make synthetic ammonia, methanol, nitric acid and nitrocellulose. Between 1958 and 1967 Knight was Controller of Explosives for the Commonwealth Department of Supply.



Education - BSc, University of Melbourne
Education - MSc, University of Melbourne
1933 - 1936
Career position - Chemist, Nobel (Australasia) Pty Ltd
1936 - 1941
Career position - Chemist, Explosives Factory, Maribyrnong, Victoria
1942 - 1945
Career position - Assistant Manager, explosives factory, Mulwala, Victoria
Career position - Assistant Manager, Explosives Factory, Maribyrnong, Victoria
Career position - Fellow, (Royal) Australian Chemical Institute
1954 - 1956
Career position - Manager, Explosives Factory, Albion, Victoria
1957 - 1958
Career position - President, Society of Chemical Industry of Victoria
1957 - 1958
Career position - Chief Chemical Engineer, Explosives Branch, Department of Defence Production
1958 - 1967
Career position - Controller of Explosives, Department of Supply
1958 - 1976
Career position - Chairman of the Operational Safety Committee, Department of Supply
Career position - Member, Royal Society of Victoria
Life event - Retired
Award - Imperial Service Order (ISO)

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Walsh, G. P., 'Knight, John Langford (1912 - 1988), chemist and public servant', in Langmore, Di (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 17, Melbourne Uinversity Press, Melbourne, 2007, p. 631. Details

Helen Cohn