Arthur Byram Gowan Johnston
(1851-1924)

A.B.G. Johnston


A.B.G. Johnston


Arthur Byram Gowan Johnston was born in 1851, arrived in Australia in March 1853 with his parents, and died on 10 May 1924 in Melbourne.

The story of the family's early years in the colonies is recounted on the page regarding his father, Rev. Kerr Johnston.

James Kerr Johnston used to recall how his father remembered, as a boy, watching the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition leaving Melbourne on 20 August 1860. Melbourne, made prosperous by the gold rush in Bendigo and Ballarat, then had 140,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in Australia.

With his younger brother Robert, ABGJ ran a Land and Estate Agency ("A.B & R.W. Johnston"), which at one point went broke. He married Rebecca Rosier (b. 1863 in Fitzroy, Vic.) - see also the Rosier family history. They had five children as follows:

Born Married Died Notes
Frances Rebecca 1885 in Hawthorn (Melbourne) Elliot Harold ("Sax") Richardson (1885-1957), Farmer
6 children
- Lived on property called "Gidgie" in Gnowangerup WA.
See 1936 family photo.
Arthur Byram ("Byram") 1887 in Hawthorn (Melbourne) Lillian Phillips - Lived in Kew (Melbourne)
James Kerr 19 Apr 1888 in Hawthorn (Melbourne) 1. Mary Edith ("Edith") Allen (1884-1952)
4 children
2. Winifred Ina Gilligan (1914-1994)
16 Jan 1984, Sydney The author's grandparents.
See link on name.
Samuel Gowan 1891 in Camberwell (Melbourne) Mary Lillian ("Lillian") ... (1885-1977)
3 children
16 Jun 1977, Mosman (Sydney) Businessman
David Lindsay 1896 in St. Kilda (Melbourne) 1. Jessie Cordner
1 daughter
2. Enid Allen, grand-daughter of Thomas Allen
- Businessman


A.B.G. Johnston



EMC recounts: My grandfather (A.B.G. Johnston) was in the Real Estate business and evidently did very well buying and selling land in outer Melbourne. They lived in a very nice home in the suburb of Camberwell. My grandmother had a live-in maid, and when visitors came to the door the maid would open it. They would present their visiting card and the maid would take it in to my grandmother; if she approved, the maid, dressed in a uniform with starched white apron etc., would take the visitors into the sitting room.

In the late 1800s there was a serious recession which affected business and they moved from their grand house to Kew (I think). My grandfather and his brother Robert Johnston had a real estate business in Collins Street, Melbourne, and it was there for many years, carried on eventually by my father's brothers, Byram and David Johnston. It was called A.B. & R.W. Johnston.

My grandfather's sisters were very evangelical and for years ran a mission for Aboriginal people in South Australia.

A. B. G. Johnston & wife I never met my Johnston grandfather (he died in 1924, soon after I was born). My grandmother (in Melbourne) suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Once, when she was very ill and the doctor was giving her oxygen, she begged him to stop as she wanted to die, but he refused her request. She spent the last 10 years of her life in bed. I only saw her once. When I was about five, we went down to see her when she was dying. She held my hand, but I wasn't very keen - afraid she would die while holding it.