Knox worked as a truck driver and watersider, becoming involved in the 1951 waterside strike, and rose through the union ranks to become secretary of the Auckland District Woollen Mills Employees’ Union and vice president of the Auckland Trades Council in 1961. In 1969, Knox became secretary of the New Zealand Federation of Labour, working alongside the organisation’s president, Sir Tom Skinner.
Knox played rugby union for the Suburbs club in Auckland before switching codes and playing rugby league for the City Rovers in the Auckland Rugby League competition. His sports injuries made him unfit for war service during World War II.
- Franks, Peter. "Walter James Knox". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. Check date values in:
- Who’s Who in New Zealand, 12th edition, edited by Max Lambert p350 (1981, Reed, Wellington)
- "The Order of New Zealand" (12 February 1988) 23 New Zealand Gazette 447 at 448.
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