Harry Elmar Johnson


    Harry Elmar Johnson was known as Elmar; he was only four years old when he sailed out to Rockhampton with his parents and brothers in 1887 on the boat the 'Dacca'

    In 1907 Elmar asked for permission for exemption from the 15th Australian Light Horse No.1. Squadron as he no longer had the time to attend the drills. In 1908 he took his first photo with his camera, which appears to be the beginning of his photography. He took his first photo from the veranda of a wagon with a load of timber for his brother Ernie's house. Elmar bought an Edison cylinder phonograph of which he used to use to entertain his family with. When he was single he used to go to church twice a day on Sundays once at Gracemere and the other in Rockhampton. Richard Cecil and Elmar also sang in the choir. Elmar also enjoyed playing chess.

     All through his life Elmar took the photos of family and friends throughout the district. He also took up developing his own glass plates. Later on he also bought an enlarger to be able to enlarge his portraits. He had a cane chair and also special wooden chairs and a backdrop for his photography. He made wooden frames for the photos for people who required them.

    Elmar leaves a legacy of glass slides that covers such things as family groups, picnic groups, babies, children, weddings and wedding cakes etc. Wife Lily used to decorate wedding cakes. Elmar also had a dark room especially for developing the glass plates. Some of these are unnamed glass plates, so if anyone can identify or correct please notify.

     Elmar planted 2,000 pineapples beginning of 1909 and had more ground ready for another 1,000 plants. He bought a new pushbike just before Xmas for 20 pounds he used a bike for transport for many years. Elmar built some houses as well as his own. Elmar married Lily Newman in 1914. He grew his own small crops and pineapples, mangoes etc. and he hawked them around Rockhampton. In later years his children assisted him with the small crops and the hawkers run when they were big enough. He wou ld take a cartload of fruit, vegetables, flowers, and eggs and jam that wife Lily made to hawk around Rockhamton.

    In the 1914-18 war years Elmar also worked his brother Richard Cecil's pineapple property adjoining his own property.

    In 1948 Elmar started building a second house for him and Lily around the other side of the hill, the property he had bought off Richard Cecil Johnson many years before. 24th September 1949 Lily and Elmar moved into their retirement cottage that he had built. The other property wa s sold to Jim Hickman.

    Elmar and Lily went on a trip south to see their family in 1952 and on the last of their trip while staying with son Ken at Wondai Elmar has a serious stroke and was admitted to hospital. Arrangements had to be made for a sleeper from Gympie and also to get the Murgon Ambulance to take Lily and Elmar over to Gympie and put them on the train for Rockhampton. Elmar remained bedridden until he died in November 23rd 1953.

This material has been transcribed by Connie Johnson, of Bundaberg; who has provided the transcription on the condition that any further copying and distribution of the transcription is allowed only for noncommercial purposes, and includes this statement in its entirety.

Any references to, or quotations from, this material should give credit to the original author(s) or editors.

Last modified on: Sunday, 12 May 2002