Born: 9 December 1881, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died: 30 August 1951, Adelaide, South Australia
Thomas Harvey Johnston graduated from Sydney University with a Doctor of Science degree in 1911, having specialised in the field of parasitology. He was appointed Lecturer in Biology at the University of Queensland. He subsequently played an important role in the introduction to Australia of the cochineal insect to control the prickly-pear cactus, which was causing considerable environmental problems in northern Australia. In 1922 Johnston was appointed to the newly-created Chair of Zoology at the University of Adelaide. He developed an interest in Aboriginal anthropology and archaeology, and participated in several of the Board for Anthropological Research’s expeditions to northern South Australia and the Northern Territory during the 1930s.
Professor Johnston was a member of the Board of Governors of the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia from 1927 to 1929. Upon Edgar Waite’s death in 1928, he was appointed Honorary Director of the Museum. In 1940 Johnston was appointed Chairman of the Museum Board, a position he retained until his death in 1951.
The South Australian Museum Archives contains photographs, notes, manuscripts and other documentary material.
The records relating to the Board for Anthropological Research in the Professor Thomas Harvey Johnston collection was inscribed onto the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register in 2015.