Ian Downs

Ian Farley Graham Downs (1915-2004),¬†Administration officer. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at Geelong Grammar School, Australia, and the Royal Australian Naval College, Downes became a patrol officer in the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea in 1936. He explored the country west of Mt Hagen with James Taylor and John Black in 1938 and served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1940-45. As a District Commissionar from 1946-56 he mobilized villagers in the Eastern Highlands to begin the construction of the Highlands Highway. Downes retired from the Administration in 1956 to became a coffee planter in the highlands. He became President of the Farmers and Settlers Association and editor of its New Guinea Highlands Bulletin. He represented the Eastern Highlands in the Legislative Council from 1957-63 and in the House of Assembly from 1964-68 and retired to Australia in the early 1970s. Downes’ published works include The Australian Trusteeship, PNG 1945-1975 (the official history commissioned by Australia’s Department of External Affairs), a novel, The Stolen Land, and his autobiography, The Last Mountain.

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