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Members’ biographical register

William Dartnell Johnson

Date: 9 October 1870
Place: Wanganui, New Zealand
Arrival in WA
Arrived in WA 1894, to goldfields 1895
Son of George Graheim Johnston, plumber, and Elizabeth Ann McComish
Marriage and Family
Married 27 November 1901, St Paul’s Church, North Perth to Jessie Elizabeth Stewart (nee McCallum) (born circa 1874 and died circa August 1957), widow, daughter of Duncan and Alice Rimmer
Children: one son and three daughters
Date: 26 January 1948
Place: St John of God Hospital, Subiaco, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Church of England
Educated Turakina State School
Employment History
Employed at post office at age 13 years then became carpenter
Business manager
Westralian Worker
From circa 1912 had farm at Kumminin, Bruce Rock
Director and executive member of many cooperative enterprises
President Bassendean branch Australian Labor Party
Date Elected
24 April 1901
Inaugural Speech
Johnson, William Dartnell, Inaugural Speech.pdf
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by William Johnson
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service
  • MLA Kalgoorlie 24 April 1901–27 October 1905
    Guildford 16 July 1906 (by election)–29 September 1917; 22 March 1924–12 April 1930; Guildford–Midland 12 April 1930–26 January 1948
  • Contested Kalgoorlie 27 October 1905, South Province 14 May 1906, Guildford 29 September 1917, Albany 31 May 1919 (by election), Guildford 12 March 1921
  • Minister for Works 10 August 1904–7 June 1905; for Mines and Railways 7 June–25 August 1905
  • Leader of the Opposition 4–27 October 1905
  • Minister for Works 7 October 1911–23 November 1914; for Lands and Agriculture 23 November 1914–27 July 1916
  • Acting Leader of the Opposition 19 September–31 October 1916
  • Chairman Parliamentary Labor Party 1924–1948
  • Speaker 4 August 1938–2 August 1939
First president Kalgoorlie branch Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners
1899–1901 secretary Kalgoorlie and Boulder District Trades and Labour Council
Moved to Midland Junction 1906
Life member Operative Bakers’ Union
Patron Bassendean–Guildford branch Australian League of Servicemen and Women
Vice-patron Swan Districts Football Club
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2001, p. 107.
Further Information
Battye, JS The Cyclopedia of Western Australia : an historical and commercial review : descriptive and biographical facts, figures and illustrations : an epitome of progress, p. 321–322.
R Erickson, ed, Dictionary of Western Australians, 1829-1914. Volume 5. The golden years, 1889-1914, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA, 1986.
Morning Herald, 29 June 1904.
J. R. Robertson, 'Johnson, William Dartnell (1870–1948)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 22 December 2015.
Twentieth Century Impressions of Western Australia, PWH Thiel, Perth, 1901, p. 32–33.
West Australian, 27 January 1948.