Ian is the fourth generation in his family to become a published author. His maternal grandfather, Bernard Capes, his uncle, and Bernard's son, Renalt, preceding him
Ian’s writing began in secondary school, and extended into comedy sketches and lyrics in his early twenties. Later he found himself writing for the Education Department, and, after going into private practice, writing reports, proposals, and scripts for training videos and some television commercials.
The catalyst for fiction writing was a story a colleague told him one day about a bunch of kids riding home on the back of a huge horse, which insisted on walking through a dam!
This led to his first book, Scratcher (1987).
Since then he has written Lissie Pendle, The Search for Quong, Ranga Plays Australia, The Day and Night Machine, and Possum and Python for children and, for adults, Thomas Bulford’s English Companion, Thomas Bulford’s Essays on Life, Language & Love, Ranga Plays Australia, and The Alone Man.