William Johnston and his wife, Mary (formerly Anders) were Scottish emigrants who arrived with two children at Swan River (Western Australia) in 1852. They moved to Van Diemen's Land in 1855 where they both taught at the school at Campbell Town. William was a noted educationalist and the family moved to Hobart where he taught for many years at Holy Trinity School, one of the leading schools of the colony. William and Mary had a family of five children. William died on 31 December 1873 and Mary died 5 years later.