28th May 2022

Tailor’s Button

Johnston (of) Hobart










John Ross Johnston was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1865. He had moved to Hobart around 1876, and apart from a couple of years in Melbourne, remained there for the rest of his long life. He worked from around 1878 to 1886 as a manager for Bidencope’s, before entering a partnership as ‘Johnston and Mason’ at 37 Murray Street, Hobart.

The Mercury (Hobart), 6th November 1886 page 1.

This lasted until 1889 when he continued alone as ‘John R.  Johnston & Co” until 1903.

The Mercury (Hobart), 24th June 1889 page 3.

In 1903 he went into partnership with James Miller as ‘Johnston and Miller’ as tailors and drapers.

Tasmanian News (Hobart), 20th February 1903 page 2.

Although partners stayed in Murray Street, they moved to the “New Buildings”. ( Smale Bros commenced business in Johnston’s old store.) They were so successful they moved again four years later. The business became a propriety company in 1922.  James Miller died in 1940.

The Mercury (Hobart), 24th November 1947 page 6. This articleis in error as to when he came to Tasmania. In 1886 he was described as working for Bidencopes for 8 years, so he was in Hobart in 1878, if not before. A cricket match between Bidencopes and Perkins & Nephew was played in 1876 with a  ‘J. R. Johnston’ named.

The Mercury (Hobart), 31st January 1953 page 20.

By 1954 the store was described as a department store.This site still retains the name of ‘Johnston and Miller’, but is now a bistro/venue.

Mr Johnston was a great contributor to the city of Hobart, at times the president of the Early Closing Association, officer of the Drapers and Grocers Assistants Association, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Master Warden of the Hobart Marine Board, chairman of the Hobart Hospital Board, company director and member of other societies and clubs. He died in 1957, aged 91 years.

The Mercury (Hobart), 22nd December 1934 page 3.

Bidencopes: http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/branded-buttons/branded-buttons-tailors-buttons-a-h/#B

Smales Bros: http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/branded-buttons/branded-buttons-tailors-buttons-a-h/#B