Douglas Hope Johnston (1874-1957) was the great-grandson of Colonel George Johnston, A.D.C. to Captain Arthur Phillip (1738-1814), the first Governor of New South Wales. He entered Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1894 (B.A. 1898; M.A. 1903), and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1900. He joined the Royal Colonial Institute in 1896, and was an active member of the society from then until his death.
Hope Johnston was a dedicated student of Australian and Imperial history who devoted his life to promoting the commemoration of the pioneers of Australia, and in particular Admiral Phillip. He founded the Australasian Pioneers' Club of Sydney in 1910, and the New Zealand Founders Society in 1939. During the 1920s he provided the information for a series of twelve historical pictures financed by Australian businessmen and painted by John Allcot of Sydney. Thanks to his influence, Lord Wakefield of Hythe paid for the Phillip Memorial on St Mildred's Church, Bread Street, London, which was unveiled in 1932, and Frank Albert of Sydney financed Algernon Talmage's 'The founding of Australia', completed in 1937.
During the 1930s Hope Johnston wrote and promoted addresses to commemorate Australia Day and New Zealand Day, which were read on P & O Australia and on New Zealand Shipping Company vessels respectively. He was less successful in obtaining support for a similar address for Canada's Dominion Day, while his plans for a London Memorial to the French and British Founders of Canada also came to nothing. Towards the end of his life he promoted the commemoration of significant figures in Australian history at their British birthplaces or homes, and endeavoured to secure the transfer of stones from Admiral Phillip's former home in Hampshire to create a memorial in Australia.
Papers, and a few photographs, relating primarily to Admiral Arthur Phillip and the Australian Pioneers, but also concerning Canada and New Zealand. There are pamphlets, programmes and other material accumulated by Hope Johnston, many of which were originally given to his friends and acquaintances, and include his lavish annotations. There are also items written by Hope Johnston and correspondence relating to different aspects of his work. The collection is in English with the exception of a few German items in RCMS 285/2.
The provenance of the collection is unknown.