John Knight Ellery Barnett, known as Knight Barnett, was born on 25 March 1903 at Roseville, New South Wales, to Knight Ellery Barnett, a bank official and his wife Florence Aureola Mary Tress. He had a sister, Caroline F. Sheila Barnett, known as Sheila, born in 1908.
In 1928, Barnett became the House Organist on the Wurlitzer organ at the Hollywood Theatre, Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand.
Two years later, in 1930, Barnett married Dulcie Stewart Blair, a violinist, daughter of James K. and Nora L. Blair, at Marrickville, NSW. At 36 years of age he served in the Second World War.
Barnett was appointed Resident Organist on the Wurlitzer Organ at the Regent Theatre, Adelaide, South Australia in 1949 and remained in the position until 1967. From 1969 to 1976 he performed in the "Melody Land" broadcasts for the ABC.
He was the Patron of the South Australian Division of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia for many years, and his "contribution to theatre organ music will be remembered by all his many admirers around Australia."
Knight Barnett died, aged 80, on 19 February 1984 at his home in Brown Street, Norwood in suburban Adelaide. His funeral service was conducted at St Matthew's Anglican Church, Marryatville, South Australia and at the Centennial Park Crematorium.
With thanks to Faye Guthrie.