Dick Johnson, timber worker

Private Dick Johnson, a Yuin man from Batemans Bay, New South Wales, left Australia with the AIF in October 1916, several months after the tragic deaths of his wife Mabel and unborn child. Although Aboriginal men were ineligible to enlist until May 1917, Dick was one of hundreds who nonetheless did so between 1914 and 1916. Invalided to England several months before the Armistice, Dick found his time in Britain provided an unexpected opportunity for a new beginning. In January 1919, he married Thomasina Douglas, a Scottish textile worker. The couple was later reunited in Sydney and enjoyed a long and happy marriage.

Dick Johnson (1886–1968) in uniform, c. 1916–19.
Carol Kendall. Courtesy Professor John Maynard

paper document

This extract of Dick's marriage certificate, filed on his service record, shows how he and Thomasina married in a low-key ceremony in a solicitor's office in Edinburgh.
NAA: B2455, JOHNSON R, p. 5