His Australian Roots                

Colin was born 8th of 10 children (see family tree) on a 420 acre farm about 100 miles from Melbourne, Australia.

His growing up experience was normative for that period and place, but very different from today's city kids. It was a 4 mile trek to the one room school house.  Sometimes a bicycle was used but mostly he rode a horse to school. He tells of how they had to catch the horse first. One in particular wasn't always immediately cooperative.

The farm consisted of cows, sheep, turkeys, chickens, and pigs, also the usual dogs that helped out. The crops it produced are barley, oats, alfalfa and other grains and turnips, to mention only a few. Every week a sheep was slaughtered to feed the family. But that wasn't enough for such a large family. It had to be supplemented with turkeys, ducks, fish, etc. By the age of 11 Colin had acquired a gun and would help hunt food. He would also hunt kangaroos, not to eat, but as sport because they are a very pesky animal to have around. The family also sold cream produced by the milk cows.

The Johnstone family had a couple of buildings housing machines which were used to fix anything that needed fixing, and for anybody. It was an additional source of income for them as out in that rural farming community someone always needed something fixed. Anyway, it was in these buildings that Colin was able to learn how to use lathes and other machines. He didn't like farming at all. But the machines were a favorite place to spend time and learn and build things and make things. By the time he was 13 he had replaced his first car engine!

Also, he had a fascination with lights. He used to make spotlights for hunting, including underwater lights for fishing. By the time he was 16 he had a business making and supplying customers with these lights. He used to pack them up in a suitcase and hitchhike to Melbourne. As soon as he sold one, he had the guy let him out so some one else would pick him up. He did this until they were all sold and had orders for more, then hitchhike back home again.

Colin was able to get cars by buying crashed cars and cutting them in half and putting the good halves together. He learned how to do it very well. So he always had a fairly decent car that way!

It is told that his dad used to go out behind the bushes and pray two or three times a day. The family was raised in Christianity.

But there was hardship on the farm as the first house the family owned burned to the ground. So his father set about to build again, which he did. This time he put a lot of metal in the home to make it more fire-proof. This house Colin remembers was a 3 bedroom house. A bedroom for the boys, one for the girls, and one for his parents.

They encountered heartache when Colin's baby brother right behind him couldn't seem to overcome an illness and died at 9 months. Colin was just two years old then. When Colin was 15 years old, his oldest brother (30 years old) died from Meningitis. This was quite a loss and a blow to Colin and to the rest of the family.

Colin later went on to work for a hydraulics plant and then for Commonwealth Aircraft as a design engineer in Melbourne before coming to the United States in 1965.