Parliament Updates

Zali Steggall remembers Raymond Cox

23 November 2022


I rise today to acknowledge the passing of Raymond James Cox. Devoted to his wife, Veronica, and children, Graeme, Rodney, Lorraine and Deb, Ray was deeply involved in the life of my electorate. His life was varied in its course, and he was shaped as a result of his experiences. He went to sea at the young age of 15, serving in the Merchant Navy, and at 18 he joined the Royal Australian Air Force marine section, air-sea rescue unit, during World War II. These experiences of war, in particular his presence at the surrender of the Japanese 2nd Army at Morotai, affected him deeply. Ray was on the barge that brought General Blamey ashore and witnessed the surrender. Years later he wrote:

It was in the clearing—a large covered table with aides seated—a squad of armed guards—General Blamey, facing east appeared between table and guards. Somehow the Japanese General appeared marching towards Blamey, his sword across his outstretched arms, hands open. About two paces from Blamey he bowed, stepped forward, saluted Blamey who returned the salute, both turning toward the table and signing the surrender document.

He wrote:

It was only part of a very adventurous day for me, I had been at war for years, 19 years old, and rather reflective that some of my closest comrades were no longer there to share the moment.'

Ray Cox was given a lithograph copy of the surrender document, which the family have framed. It was a different time and a very different style of war to what we experience today.

In his 40s Ray worked hard to attain his HSC. He used this qualification to become a ship captain working on the Manly fairies and the hydrofoils. Throughout Ray's life he was a passionate participant and politics at every level. He was a firm believer in the power and strengths of our democratic institutions and was a dedicated unionist. Ray was a committed environmentalist, most notably spending 20 years on the executive committee of Curl Curl Lagoon Friends. He campaigned tirelessly for the protection of Manly Dam war memorial park. He was also involved with Oxfam Walk Against Want, helping to establish the event on the northern beaches.

Ray was unshakeable in his belief in the good nature and value of other people and was always striving for a better future to be shared by all. That wish for a brighter future expressed itself in many different ways, in his involvement in unionism and workers causes, his contributions to ensuring that all future generations would inherit the splendour and beauty of the natural environment that had given him so much joy and his work as a fundraiser and active participant helping raise people out of poverty across the world.

Ray was dedicated to fighting the good fight. He demonstrated the importance of being a good person, of looking out for others and of thinking of the future. He will be greatly missed.