52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 2.

The theme for this week is – Favourite Photo.

Because my paternal grandfather Alexander Johnston (1868 – 1952) hated having his photo taken, I only have a single photo of him, which he permitted his adored granddaughter to take with her little camera.

The photo shows:
My grandfather Alexander Johnston (1868 – 1952)
My brother Barry Arthur Johnston (1944 – 2017)
My father Warwick Lyle Johnston (1912 – 1998)

Taken about 1950 with my first camera, a little Baby Brownie. Made of black Bakelite, it took a roll of 12 black and white film, and the shutter was worked by a little lever at the centre bottom. The film was wound by hand.

Granddad was a journalist, artist and violinist. Born in Launceston Tasmania, his father was a librarian who “died in harness” but Alexander had the wanderlust from an early age. He spent some years in Fremantle and also on the Coolgardie goldfields in Western Australia in the 1890s, not as a miner but as a journalist working for the “Coolgardie Miner”. He made several trips to the Orient, as shown by some wonderful paintings, mostly in a series of sketchbooks which I treasure:

He also edited an English-language newspaper in Shanghai for a time, as evidenced by this scrap I found hidden among the pages of a book:

Granddad Alex was a private man who never spoke of his childhood family or earlier life to his son Warwick, who would have been astounded to learn all I have discovered. Ann Kerr who I wrote about in Week 1 was his Great Great Grandmother.

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