Biographical entry: Johnson, Frederick England (1878 - 1971)

18 March 1878
30 July 1971


Frederick England Johnson, ('Pop' Johnson) was the longest-serving member of the Protectorate Administration. Born in Wandsworth, Surrey, England on 18 March 1878, at age eighteen he joined the British Army and served in the field artillery during the Boer War, becoming a Sergeant. In 1904, he changed his surname to Johnson and travelled with a friend to the New Hebrides, where he held a variety of jobs including trader and labour recruiter and overseer. In 1906, he joined the British Administration of the New Hebrides as a Labour Inspector and later became Commandant of Police. On 12 February 1911 he married Agnes Cronstedt, daughter of Swedish trader Alex Cronstedt. Their two children, Dorothy and Gladys were born in the New Hebrides in 1913 and 1915 respectively.

In 1919, Johnson accepted a transfer to the BSIP as Treasurer and Collector of Customs, a post he held until 1947. A third daughter, Betty, was born in Sydney in 1920. The family lived in the comfortable Treasurer's residence on the ridges of Tulagi, overlooking the harbour. Johnson was fastidious in his job and always ensured that all dutiable items were declared, and he balanced the budget even during the Depression years of the 1930s. In 1927, he was appointed as a government member of the Solomon Islands Advisory Council (q.v.), and was Acting Resident Commissioner for periods in 1938, 1939 and 1941. In 1942, he and his family were evacuated to Sydney where he was in charge of the Protectorate Government in exile. He remained in the Sydney office until 1947 when he returned to the new capital at Honiara, before retiring at sixty-nine years of age, He and his wife settled at Lindfield in Sydney and he died on 30 July 1971, followed on 19 July 1977 by his wife. Always called 'Pop' Johnson, he smoked a pipe which seldom left his lips. His portly frame was one of the best-known sights of Tulagi. (Golden 1993, 95-97)

Related Places

Published resources


  • Golden, Graeme A., The Early European Settlers of the Solomon Islands, Graeme A. Golden, Melbourne, 1993. Details