JOHNS, Fred (1868-1932)


JOHNS, Fred (1868-1932)
biographer
son of Ezekial Johns of Cornwall, England, was born at Houghton, Michigan, U.S.A., on 22 March 1868. He was educated in the west of England, and coming to Australia in 1884 obtained a position on the South Australian Register, and rose to be a sub-editor. In 1906 he published his Johns's Notable Australians, a volume of biographies of Australians then living. Later editions appeared in 1908, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1922, and 1927, the last two under the title Who's Who in Australia. In 1914 he was appointed a member of the State Hansard staff, of which he subsequently became the leader. In 1920 he published a small collection of patriotic verses, In Remembrance, which was followed two years later by A Journalist's Jottings, a collection of essays dealing mostly with well-known Australians. He also edited the South Australian Freemason 1920-5. He died at Adelaide on 3 December 1932. He married in 1894 Florence, daughter of R. D. Renfrey, who died in 1896. He was survived by a daughter. Under his will the sum of £1500 was left to the university of Adelaide to found "The Fred Johns Scholarship for Biography". His An Australian Biographical Dictionary was not quite finished at the time of his death. It was completed by his friend B. S. Roach and published by his daughter in 1934. It contains about 3000 short biographies of eminent Australians, and has proved to be a very useful publication. His work is marked by great conscientiousness and care, and as a general rule is remarkably accurate.
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 5 December 1932; information supplied in his lifetime.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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