(1922 – 2005)

Sir Ronald Darling Wilson was born in 1922 at Geraldton. He left school at the age of 14 and took a job as a messenger with the Geraldton Local Court.

In September 1941 he enlisted in the army reserve, known at the time as the Militia and was posted to the 44th Battalion. This battalion was part of a Special Mobile Force stationed in coastal areas between Perth and Geraldton, to respond in the event of an attack by Japanese forces.

Transferring to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in July 1942, Wilson received pilot training under the Empire Air Training Scheme, and was posted to the UK for operations with RAAF formations. By the end of the war he was serving with No. 287 Squadron RAF, an anti-aircraft cooperation unit assisting in the training of anti-aircraft gunners. Wilson flew Spitfires, among other types of aircraft. He was discharged from the RAAF on 14 February 1946, with the rank of Flying Officer.

After returning to Australia, Wilson enrolled in the University of Western Australia finishing a Law degree in 1949. He completed a Master of Laws degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957, as a Fulbright scholar. He was a distinguished Australian lawyer, serving on the High Court of Australia between 1979 and 1989 and with Mick Dodson, led the ‘Bringing them Home’ report on the Stolen Generation.

Photograph from UWA Archives 61419P