William John Ellis Cox, AC, RFD, ED, QC, was born in Hobart, he was educated at St. Virgil’s College, Xavier College in Melbourne and the University of Tasmania.
William graduated from the University of Tasmania (BA, LLB) in 1960 and was admitted to the Bar in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in March 1960. He was appointed a magistrate in 1976, and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1978, during his term as the State's Crown Advocate (equivalent to today’s Director of Public Prosecutions).
He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 1982, and was the state's Chief Justice from 1995. He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania in 1996. In 1999, Cox was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). He already held the Reserve Force Decoration (RFD) and the Army's Efficiency Decoration (ED) for service in the Royal Tasmania Regiment, including service in Vietnam.
On 15th December 2004 he was appointed as Governor of Tasmania being only the second Tasmanian-born Governor in our state's history. A position he held until 2008.