Episode 4: Sun Johnson – The linguist, educator and media mogul
Sun Johnson was the editor of Australia’s first national Chinese newspaper, which started publication in 1894. He was born in Hong Kong and educated in London, before moving to Australia as a young man.
Sun used his linguistic skills to create a Chinese-Australian dictionary, aimed primarily at helping Chinese people deal with Australian merchants.
The Chinese Australian Herald, which was actually established by two European men, was launched at a time when the Chinese population of Sydney was changing. Migrants were moving away from the goldfields and bushland and into the city. They were setting up market gardens and import businesses. Many of them didn’t speak English, but they could read Chinese.
Over the next few decades, the Herald – helmed by Sun Johnson – would provide this small community with news from abroad and across Australia. Sun and the paper were also instrumental in helping the Chinese community engage with events within the European community, most importantly Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
For a time, Sun Johnson was one of the most influential people in Sydney’s Chinese community.
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Entertaining Mr. Sun Johnson. (1907, 8 7). Evening News, p. 3. Retrieved from Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/112649283
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Marriages – Johnson-Cogger. (1899, 2 16). The Age, p. 1. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/189677252
Men and Women – some personal portraits. (1908, 7 1). The Australian Star. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/229099350
Mr. Sun Johnson’s Impressions of a Trip to the Flower Land. (1907, 12 23). Evening News, p. 3. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/113892799
Outcome of Chinese War. (1911, 12 9). The Bathurst Times, p. 1. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/110022476
People Talked About: A Chinese journalist. (1903, 11 21). The World’s News, p. 20. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/128462986
Prescribed Pills, Published Pars, Pocketed Pounds. (1925, 7 5). Truth, p. 8. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/168719001
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Sun Johnson Chinese Medical Herbalist. (1925, 6 7). Truth, p. 18. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/168717433
Sun Johnson Herbalist Fails. (1923, 10 15). Evening News, p. 5. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/119178929
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Surry Hills Fire Sun Johnson Examined. (1906, 10 26). The Australian Star, p. 6. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/228475602
The Boxer Movement. (1903, 3 9). The Daily Telegraph, p. 9. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/237391328
The Chinese Stowaways. (1905, 8 18). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 11. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/14714939
The Sun Johnson Case. (1908, 12 16). Evening News, p. 8. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/113761253
The Surry Hills Fire. (1906, 10 26). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 4. Retrieved from Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/14814120
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