Season 2 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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