Born: in    Died:
Profession: &

Martin Lawrence & Virginia Simpson-Young, Bulletin 1/2022, March 2022

It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Ian Jones on Christmas Day last year. Ian had a long and distinguished career as an engineer and scientist, particularly in the field of oceanography, and made a significant contribution to Glebe through his involvement in the landmark Glebe Main Street Project. Ian and his wife Cynthia, who sadly passed away in 2009, lived in Glebe for many years. They had two children, Megan and Cameron. An obituary for Ian Jones appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 18 February.

Ian Stanley Ferguson Jones was born, on June 3, 1942, at Casino, NSW where his parents were teachers. He went to school in Coffs Harbour, where his parents had a bookshop. Following a mechanical engineering degree from the University of NSW, his PhD studies were on fluid flow and turbulence at the University of Waterloo in Canada. This led to work at Boeing in Seattle, where his work led to significantly quieter jet engines.

Returning to Australia in the early 1970s, he worked on various oceanographic problems over the following decades, in senior positions, primarily first at the Royal Australian Navy Research Laboratory, then at the University of Sydney. He worked in a multitude of fields, including air-sea interaction and noise in the ocean. From the mid-1990s, Ian’s research focused on processes to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, including by increasing the productivity of low-nutrient areas of the oceans (work which would have the by-product of increasing fish stocks). In the last decade, in parallel with the former project, he was instrumental in the establishment of a research program to cool and shade the Great Barrier Reef. This program, which is currently very active across around eight institutions, is mostly investigating spraying of seawater to induce strengthening of clouds in times of greatest heat stress. An experimental program underway at sea off Townsville has produced, in the last three weeks, excellent results validating Ian’s enthusiasm for this technology.

Ian published many scientific books and papers, as well as contributing to scientific organisations such as the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (in role of President and Bulletin editor) and the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research (chair of working group on air-sea interaction). Ian had visiting Professorships in institutions on at least four continents, and he had many sabbatical periods during his career.

Ian’s contribution to Glebe

Ken Burgin, David Hay (Minister for Planning) and Ian Jones at the launch of The Glebe Point Road Project (Image: Glebe Society Bulletin 5/2001, p. 8)

From the wilds of Lugarno, Ian and Cynthia moved to a grand terrace at 152 Bridge Rd, Glebe. They lived there for many years before moving to an apartment within the Lombard Estate in Lombard St, where Ian stayed until Cynthia passed away in 2009.

According to Bobbie Burke and Cynthia Jones in their article in the Glebe Society Bulletin 5/2001, Ian made a successful grant application that was launched locally in 1989 by the then Minister for Planning, David Hay. Ian was the initial president of the first management committee for the project which grew rapidly in its early years, aptly described by Bobbie Burke and Cynthia Jones in their Bulletin article as ‘heady days’. This included strong collaboration between the Glebe Society and Chamber of Commerce and many memorable activities and achievements, notably later flowing on to deliver the comprehensive Glebe Point Road Main Street Study Stage Two in 1991 and recommendations for conservation and enhancement of the heritage character of Glebe Point Rd.

Extract from Glebe Point Road Main Street Study Stage Two (Vol.1).

At one point, the Glebe Point Road Project was supported by Leichhardt Council as the Glebe Point Road Streetscape Steering Committee. However, in the year 2000, Council abolished the committee without notice. Ted McKeown wrote a piece about this for Bulletin 10/2000 (p. 2) with a lengthy list of the milestones gained following the initiation of the Glebe Point Project.

Ian typically worked seven days per week, and he had no intention of ever retiring. Unfortunately, his health declined over the last few years, and he passed away on Christmas Day last year.

Posted on March 4, 2022 by Martin Lawrence

For more information email:

One comment. Please add yours.

Comments are moderated. This may delay publication of you comment.
There is no need to resubmit.
Inapproproate and irrelevent comments may be removed at The Glebe Society's discretion.

  1. Comment by Jesse Xie on August 16, 2022 at 6:12 pm:

    I’m deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Prof. Ian Jones.

    I was one of his students in the Marine Studies Centre back in the late 1980’s. I often visited him when I was living in Glebe.

    My heart aches when knowing this special person who is no longer with us.

    Ian will be always remembered by me and my family as an highly intelligent person and a generous and kindhearted gentleman who was always willing to lend a helping hand whenever someone needed it.