James Richard Johnson (1849-1919)
Frances M Crossing (1862-1938)

James Richard Johnson was the seventh of the 13 children that William Jonathan Johnson & Eliza Harris Tompson had. He was born on 10 Dec 1849 at Pitt St Sydney. He married Frances M Crossing on 27 Mar 1883 in St John’s, Mudgee, NSW. Frances, known as Fanny, was born in 1860, one of 12 children of Richard Crossing & Frances Maria Griffith.

There is no much information on James in old newspapers. It appears the couple lived in Ashfield in Sydney. The Sands Directory of 1887 has him in Queen St, and from 1907 at 26 Victoria St. The Sydney Morning Herald on Sat 24 Mar 1906 carried a report of the wedding of Clara Crossing in Summer Hill, a nearby suburb, and the reception was at their home Tugalara. The 1913 electoral roll has Fannie, Florence, Frances Beatrice and James Richard Johnson all living at 26 Victoria St. Florence was described as a sowing mistress, James a bank clerk and Fannie and Frances Beatrice domestic duties.

James Richard Johnson and Frances M Crossing had the following children:

01. Beatrice Frances (b. 07 Feb 1884 in Ashfield, d. 10 Jun 1970 in Wamberal, NSW)

02. James Henry (b. 03 Apr 1885 in Ashfield, d. 27 Dec 1926 in Sydney)

03. Cyril George Leicester (b. 24 May 1886 in Ashfield, d. 20 Aug 1963 in Lismore, NSW)

04. Clive Leicester (b. 13 Aug 1887 in Ashfield, d. 24 Nov 1965 in Auburn, Sydney)

05. Kenneth Leicester (b. 25 Aug 1891 at Fern Hill, Ashfield, d. 20 Apr 1963 in Nambour, Qld)

06. Eric Leicester (b. 20 Apr 1894 at Fern Hill, Ashfield, d. 20 Apr 1966 in Wamberal, NSW) birth date from enlistment records

07. Muriel Leicester (b. 30 Dec 1901 in Ashfield, d. 16 Jul 1972 in Nambour, Qld) did not marry

James died in Chatswood in 1929 (record 22965). Frances died at Barraba, NSW in 1938 (record 3007).

Generation 2

01. Beatrice Frances Johnson was known as Bee, though in the electoral rolls she is listed as Frances Beatrice. She married Andrew Arthur Buckley in Ashfield in 1915 (record 5290). Andrew’s parents were Edward Buckley & Margaret Helena Nash. Andrew was a farmer and grazier at Goonoo Goonoo Road near Tamworth NSW. He features in two or three court cases reported in newspapers involving theft and wilful killing of his sheep carried out by a farm labourer (eg The Tamworth Daily Observer on Thu 02 Feb 1911). He died on 14 May 1954 in Wamberal, aged 80, which makes his age 41 at his marriage in 1915. The Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate carried notice of probate on Fri 25 Jun 1954:


In the Will of ANDREW ARTHUR BUCKLEY late of Gosford but formerly of Tamworth in the State of New South Wales, Retired Farmer and Grazier deceased. Application will be made after fourteen days from the publication hereof that Probate of the last Will and Testament dated the Twelfth day of October, one thousand nine hundred and forty-eight may be granted to FRANCES BEATRICE BUCKLEY the Executrix named in the said Will limited until she shall die with leave reserved to Andrew Adrian Buckley the other Executor named there in to then come in and prove the said Will and all notices may be served on the under mentioned address…

They had one son, Andrew Adrian Buckley (b. 20 Jun 1916 in Tamworth, d. 03 Apr 2008 in Manly, Sydney), who married Barbara Elizabeth Blaxland in Tamworth in 1942. Andrew served with the 2nd AlF during WWII. He died on 03 Apr 2008 .

02. James Henry Johnson married Adeline Jessie Garland in St John’s Church Parramatta on 18 Apr 1922 (record 8548). Adeline was born in Wagga Wagga in 1892 to Broughton Clayton Garland & Wilhelmina Helen Baylis. She died in Mosman on 17 Aug 1986, aged 94.

It appears the couple moved to Queensland as their three children were born in Bundaberg.

01. Adeline Nell (b. 12 Jan 1924, d. 08 Oct 1998)

02. unnamed twin (b. & d. 12 Jan 1924) see The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 06 Feb 1924

03. Eileen Beatrice (b. 17 Feb 1925) married William Grey Goltz at Cooma on 10 Jan 1958 (record 5076). They had two children.

James must have become unwell and taken the family back to Sydney because he died in Ashfield, NSW, the year after Eileen’s birth.

03. Cyril George Leicester Johnson married Kathleen Amy Garland on 07 Dec 1914, apparently on Malaita, the most populated island in the Solomon Islands. Kathleen was born in 1888 at Wagga Wagga, NSW, to Broughton Clayton & Wilhelmina (Helen) Garland.

From birth records and electoral rolls we see the family move around NSW on a number of occasions. Their first child was born in Camden, some others were born in the Wellington-Mudgee district, and others in the Parramatta district. From 1930 to 1934 we have the family living at The Bangalow, 74 Old Prospect Rd, Wentworthville, NSW; Cyril was described as a motor driver. During 1935 and 1936 they lived at Pontibakh, Attunga, (20km north-west of Tamworth, NSW); Cyril then was a dairyman. In 1943 and 1949 they show up as farmers at Clover Hills, Pappinbarra (about 25km north-west of Wauchope, NSW). The first 7 of their children also show up as farmers in these two rolls at this address. Their children were:

01. Kathleen Jessie (b. 29 Nov 1915 in the Camden district) known as Jessie

02. Cyril James Garland (b.28 Dec 1916 in Mudgee, NSW, d. 03 Jul 2010 in Toowoomba, QLD) known as Jim

03. Kenneth Murray Garland (07 Jan 1918 at Gillinghall, Spicers Creek, Wellington, NSW, d. 26 Dec 2010 at Glen Innes, NSW)

04. George Richard Garland (b.05 Jan 1919 in the Parramatta district) known as Dick)

05. Leicester Garland (b. 20 Mar 1920 in the Wellington area, d. 16 Sep 2008 in Glen Innes, NSW)

06. Helen Frances Garland (b. 20 Mar 1920 in the Wellington area)

07. Broughton Garland (b.19 Mar 1921 in the Wellington area)

08. Doreen Amy (b. 17 Mar 1924 in the Wellington area)

09. Rose Garland (b. 03 Jun 1929 in the Parramatta district)

By 1958 the couple had moved to Wivenhoe, Ocean View, Alstonville, NSW. They were there when Cyril died in 1963 (record 25307) and Kathleen in 1965 (record 26011). Their daughter Kathleen Jessie Johnson lived there at the same time.

Generation 3

02. Cyril James Garland Johnson married Patricia Rosalind Coward in the Holy Trinity Church, Glen Innes, NSW, on 14 Jul 1951. They had 5 children. Cyril enlisted with the 2nd AIF during WWII.

04. George Richard Garland Johnson married Mary Ellen Bird in St John’s Church, Hartley, NSW, on 27 Jan 1962. They had two children.

06. Helen Frances Garland Johnson married Keith Ian Brooks in St Matthews Church, Wauchope, NSW, on 10 Sep 1949. They had three sons.

09. Rose Garland Johnson married William James Coward in St Marks Church, Casino, NSW on 21 Apr 1951. They had four children.

Generation 2

04. Clive Leicester Johnson enlisted on 15 Jan 1915 at Liverpool NSW and served with the 1st Australian Light Horse in Egypt during WWI.His service record can be read online here. There is an entry for Clive Leicester Johnson on page 286 of the book Canterbury Boys (including the photo above). From the 1st Australian Light Horse he transferred into the 2nd Squadron Australian Flying Corps. He had been educated at Fort St in Leichhardt, and his was service listed Egypt, Lemnos and France. He was wounded whilst on a bombing raid on 12 Dec 1917, invalided to a casualty clearing station in Albert, and to No 2 Stationary Hospital. He returned to Australia on 09 Aug 1918.

In the 1913 electoral rolls Clive lived with his parents at Ingalara, Victoria St Ashfield; he was described as a clerk.

Clive married Vera Gladys Crossing in St Augustine’s Church, Neutral Bay, on 27 Sep 1920. They had three children.

01. Margaret Leicester (b. 03 Nov 1921, d. 03 Nov 1921 at Tmbi Umbi, NSW)

02. Judith Leicester (b. 23 Jun 1924, d. 13 Dec 2009 in Townsville, QLD)

03. Robert Leicester (b. 13 Nov 1928, d. 01 Dec 2006)

In the 1930 to 1963 electoral rolls Clive and Vera lived at Samarai, 41 Olphert Rd Vaucluse; he was then a bank officer.

Generation 3

01. Margaret Leicester Johnson enlisted during WWII at Paddington (service Number – NFX202014). No other information is known of her at this stage.

02. Judith Leicester Johnson married Donald Ross Webster in Paddington on 02 Oct 1954. They had two children.

03. Robert Leicester Johnson became an accountant and married Heather Agnes Edwards (1929 – 24 Nov 1978 in Frenchs Forest) in Condoblin in 1953. They lived at 22 Gulliver Rd, Dee Why, between 1954 and 1977. There were two other males living at that address in 1977: Ian Leicester Johnson and Robert Bruce Leicester Johnson, both students.

Generation 2

05. Kenneth Leicester Johnson was educated at Stanmore Public School. The family by then were at Ingalara, Weedon Rd, Artarmon. He enlisted as a trooper on 04 Dec 1915, number 2199 in the 7th Light Horse. He embarked on 11 Mar 1916 for Egypt. He returned to Australia on 28 Jun 1919. His service record can be read online here.

The electoral rolls between 1930 and 1936 have Kenneth working as a grazier at West Lynne, Terry Hie Hie (about 50km south east of Moree in NSW). His mother Fanny and sister Muriel also lived on this property. The 1958 and 1963 rolls have Kenneth and his sister Muriel farming at Yanggara, Yandina (8km north of Nambour) QLD. There are records in 1913 of a Kenneth Leicester Johnson as a dairyman in Queensland, though we can’t be certain that this is the same person.

The image of Kenneth is taken on page 287 of the book Canterbury Boys.

We do not think that Kenneth ever married.

05. Eric Leicester Johnson was educated at Sydney Grammar School. He enlisted as a trooper on 03 Dec 1917, number 4521 in the 5th Light Horse. He embarked on 30 Apr 1918 for Egypt. He returned to Australia on 28 Jun 1919.His service record can be read online here.

He married Frances Mary Duff Brodie on 21 Dec 1922 (record 13734, see also his military record). Frances was born in 1900 (record 25611), the daughter of Alexander Duff Brodie and Helena Taylor (married 1888 at Murrurundi, NSW).

The 1930 electoral roll has Kenneth working as a cable operator, living at 65 Kareela Rd, Neutral Bay along with Frances Mary Duff Johnson. Between 1933 and 1935 they lived at 88 Cremorne Rd, Neutral Bay. In 1936 the couple moved to Darwin; their address is shown as “B. A. T.” which is presumably the British Australian Telegraph Office (Darwin was where the submarine cable to Java connected Australia to the rest of the world). In the 1940s they moved to 46 Royalist Rd, Neutral Bay, and number 31 in the 1950s. By 1963 Eric had retired to 8 Hilltop Rd, Wamberal.

Eric and Frances had three boys and a girl. Their first son, Alexander, was born and died in 1925. The Sun carried a photo of their other two boys, Michael Leicester (b. 20 Jan 1929) and James Leicester (b. 10 Apr 1933) on Mon 28 Feb 1938:

Mrs. ERIC JOHNSON, of Darwin, formerly of Sydney, is pictured with her two small sons. Michael (right) and Jamie. They are visiting Mrs. Johnson’s two sisters, the Misses Nell and Muriel Brody, of Cremorne, and recently returned from three weeks spent in Barraba as the guests of Mrs, Johnson’s mother-in-law, Mrs. J. Johnson, of “Woorarra.” They will leave for Darwin on March 7.

A year or so earlier, on Tue 10 Nov 1936, The Sun reported on a plane crash:


DARWIN, Tuesday.

The flying doctor of Northern Territory (Dr. C. C. Fenton) and Mr. Eric Johnson, of Darwin, who were injured when Dr. Fenton’s Gipsy Moth ‘plane crashed shortly after taking off from Darwin aerodrome late yesterday, were reported to be in an improved condition in Darwin Hospital to-day.

Both are suffering from severe shock and it will be two or three days before they are allowed out of hospital. Dr. Fenton also suffered a badly broken nose, while Mr. Johnson received severe cuts and abrasions.

In another edition:

“Mrs. Johnson”, wife of Mr. Eric Johnson, who saw the crash, said that the occupants’ escape from death was nothing short of a miracle.

There was a report in the Barrier Miner on Fri 13 Nov 1936 in which Dr Fenton stated that this was his third plane he had crashed, and that it was uninsured:

… but the tragedy of the accident was that he was not in a financial position to buy a new ‘plane or to repair or rebuild the remains of “my two earlier ‘planes.”

“Until I obtain another ‘plane,” he added, “I am afraid flying doctoring is finished. The last machine was not insured, and I will have to bear the entire loss myself. I have crashed three ‘planes now, while in the course of my duties. The first occurred at Victoria River Downs more than two years ago; the second happened at Katherine 12 months later. I was searching for an injured miner near the Eureka mine, and after two forced landings the under-carriage dropped off the machine. I paid £600 for this last machine, and spent £200 on an overhaul early this year.”

Eric was described in another report as a “supervisor of the Eastern Extension Cable Company”. It was his first time in an aeroplane (the Barrier Miner, Wed 11 Nov 1936)!

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