John Byrne, foundation member and first Treasurer of the Johnson Society of Australia, will be President for 2008 and 2009 of two prestigious Johnson Societies – one in the United Kingdom and one in America.
John, for many years been recognised as being one of the world’s most enthusiastic and knowledgeable collectors of Johnson and Johnsoniana, as well as a tireless correspondent with fellow Johnsonians internationally, has been appointed President of The Johnson Society of Lichfield for 2008/2009.
He took office at the annual Birthday Weekend celebrations in Lichfield on September 20, 2008, succeeding Professor Lynda Mugglestone, the Viceregent of Pembroke College, Oxford. John gave the Presidential addresss at the dinner on that evening, and then took part in the traditional ceremonies, as President, on the following Sunday and Monday.
Also, at a recent meeting of the Nomination Committee of The Samuel Johnson Society of Southern California, John was unanimously chosen President-Elect of that body for 2009. John took office at the end of the annual dinner on November 23, 2008 and will serve until the end of the annual dinner in November 2009. At the annual dinner to be held at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California on of November 22, 2009, he will give the Daniel Blum Memorial Lecture.
He sees his two appointments are a recognition by Johnsonians internationally of the high regard in which The Johnson Society of Australia is held and the respect which is afforded to its publications.
John, a Perth barrister, has been a member of the Johnson Society since attending the foundation meeting in Melbourne in 1993 and in fact moved the resolution for establishing the society and later drew up the draft Constitution. He has contributed his Western Idler page for the JSA’s newsletter, the Southern Johnsonian, for almost the same length of time. John is a Trustee of Dr Johnson’s House, London.