Ian Terry was educated in outback Queensland and Sydney. He moved to Hobart in 1984 and undertook postgraduate studies in cultural heritage management at the University of Canberra in 1993. On returning to Hobart he prepared an historical report as the first stage of Glenorchy City Council's municipal heritage study in 1994, then worked as a cultural heritage manager for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service between 1994 and 1996. In 1996 he began his freelance career working as a consultant for projects across Tasmania. These ranged from small historical reports contributing to Environmental Impact Studies for a variety of developments through the preparation of conservation management plans to municipal heritage studies across Tasmania. Work was undertaken largely for local and state government clients although there were also some private clients. Ian was a member of the Professional Historians' Association of Tasmania between 1996 and 2006, co-editing its publication of papers for conferences held in 1998 and 2002. He has been a committee member of the Tasmanian Historical Research Association since 2003, being its vice president since 2007. He worked as Senior Curator (Cultural Heritage) at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery between 2006 and 2017.