|1851 in Bradford, Yorks, England.|
|10 May 1924 in Kew, Vic.|
|12 May 1924 in Box Hill cemetery, Vic.|
|Kerr Johnston (1812-1887)|
|Eliza Denovan Gowan (1816-1894)|
|Rebecca Rosier (1863-1929) on 26 December 1883 at Baptist church, Kew, Vic (Rev Kerr Johnston officiated).|
|Frances Rebecca Johnston (1885-1968)|
|Arthur Byram Johnston (1887-1947)|
|James Kerr Johnston (1888-1984)|
|Samuel Gowan Johnston (1891-1957)|
|David Lindsay Johnston (1896-1981)|
|Arthur Byram Gowan Johnston was born in England and arrived in Australia in March 1853 with his parents.|
The story of the family’s early years in the colonies is recounted on his father’s page. 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 had financial difficulties.
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 drawing 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.
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.
JOHNSTON — On the 10th May, at corner of Glenferrie road and Wellington street, Kew, Arthur Byram Gowan, the beloved husband of Rebecca and father of Francis, Byram, James, Sam, and David, aged 72 years. With Christ, which is far better — his desire.