Harry Frederick Johnston (1853 - 1915)

Johnston was Surveyor-General of Western Australia from 1896 to 1915. Born in 1853, as a grandson of Marshall Clifton, he qualified as a surveyor and in 1884, he led a surveying expedition to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. A geologist who was attached to the group, Edward Hardman, was one of the first to discover gold in the area, and his report and maps became a valued resource in the subsequent Kimberley gold rush. In January 1885, Johnston made a claim for a reward offered by the Government of Western Australia for the discovery of the goldfield. He was widely criticised for what was seen by many as “Mr. Johnston’s attempt to filch the credit.” However Johnston later stated “All I wished was that my claim as a leader of the party and discoverer of new country should not be overlooked.” Harry Johnston was appointed Surveyor-General in 1896, and held the position until his death.

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