Rupert Leigh Cecil Johnston was born on 25 November 1889, the son of Alfred Wallace and Matilda May Johnston (formerly Holroyd). He married Lylie Sutton in 1917 and they had seven children. Johnston worked as an auctioneer for Murdoch Brothers in his early years before forming a new auctioneering firm in February 1920 with Colin Barnett. They traded as Barnett and Johnston. This partnership was dissolved by August 1921 and the business continued as Rupert Johnston Pty Ltd - "Auctioneers, merchants and agents" in premises at 57 Liverpool Street, Hobart. Johnston moved to purpose-built premises designed by architect, E. Stanley Crisp, in September 1924. Situated at 73 Bathurst Street, the business was described as "auction mart and produce store". Johnston was joined in the business by his brother Leigh. The premises expanded again a year later to incorporate a butter factory. In 1936 Johnston opened a new wholesale and retail business in Elizabeth Street with Clem Taylor. Johnston gradually moved exclusively into real estate and by March 1949, Johnston and Corvan were billed as "Real Estate Agents, Auctioneers and Valuators", based at 134 Elizabeth Street, Hobart. By 1956 they had moved to Phoenix Chambers on the corner of Murray and Collins Streets. The business was wound up in 1970 and liquidated by 1972, the year in which Rupert Johnston died, aged 82.