ABC journalist was an historical pioneer

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Former ABC journalist and local historian Les Johnson has been remembered as an intellect and historical pioneer by the Albany community.

Serving as a reporter at the ABC in Albany for nearly three decades, Johnson was instrumental in the establishment of several educational tourism facilities within Albany, including the Albany Historic Whaling Station, the Brig Amity and Mt Clarence.

He also wrote many books on a range of local historical landmarks and received the Order of Australia for his contribution to local history.

Born in the small English port town of Grimsby, Johnson was forced into work at an early age after his father was killed during German bombings in World War II.

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Johnson moved to Australia in 1951 and, after working in a variety of jobs, he made his way to Albany in 1962.

His wife Valerie said he thoroughly enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle of Albany, which she said suited his personality.

“He was an intellectual — quick- witted but he wasn’t gregarious, I would say he was quite reserved,” she said.

“He loved research and he loved writing and particularly history and that’s why I think he wrote all these local books.

“He’s a remarkable man, a man of integrity — wholesome and straightforward.”

Mrs Johnson said he often brought captains of ships that stopped in at the port into their home on the Kalgan River.

“He loved socialising with the people from the ships coming in — we had Russian captains come into our living room for a cup of tea,” she said.

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