4a["More Waterworks Hanky Panky", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 05 February 1905, page 5]





For its size there is no self-governing State on earth which furnishes its people with more and more frequent causes of complaint against the methods of His Majesty's Ministers and those in authority over them meaning the heads of departments than this same State of W.A. now running under the guidance of the Hon. W. D. Johnson, as good and competent a carpenter as ever stood at the back of a jack-plane and pushed.



It appears that The Sunday Times was responsible for Johnson being given the nickname "Plane Bill". This may be the first reference:

"the Hon. W. D. Johnson, as good and competent a carpenter as ever stood at the back of a jack-plane and pushed."

4b["Notes and Comments", The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 20 May 1906, page 4]


The humiliation of William Johnson. Defeated by Perth-resident William Glowrey in William's very-own division of Hannans[sic]. His name is Plane Bill and not Political Billy henceforth.


AB notes:

The Sunday Times here makes another attempt to assign the nickname "Plane Bill" to William Johnson.

4c[Battye, James S.(ed.), 1912, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia: an historical and commercial review, Hussey & Gillingham, for the Cyclopedia Company, Adelaide, pages 321-322]


The Honourable WILLIAM DARTNELL JOHNSON, M.L.A. The present Minister for Public Works, Mr. W. D. Johnson, is a New Zealander by birth, having been born at Wanganui in 1872, and is therefore in his fortieth year. Attracted by the early gold discoveries in Western Australia, which in the early nineties caused such an upheaval throughout Australia, Mr. Johnson arrived in the State in 1894 in very early manhood. After spending a short period in Perth and Coolgardie he settled in Kalgoorlie. The Labour movement very soon called Mr. Johnson into prominence, and his period of residence in Kalgoorlie is punctuated with the earnest and active interest he took in all matters that pertained to the betterment of the industrial classes. He was mainly instrumental in forming the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, achieving the honour of becoming its first President. He was also Secretary for two years of the Goldfields Trades and Labour Council. While holding these positions his status in the Labour world as a leader and organizer of more than passing ability was so noted that it was hardly a matter of surprise when he was returned to Parliament as member for Kalgoorlie in the Labour interest in 1901. The reputation he had gained at Kalgoorlie became more consolidated until on the formation of the first Labour Government, with Mr. Daglish as leader, Mr. Johnson was offered and accepted the portfolio of the Public Works. In this position his administrative and organizing abilities were proved of such high order that he has left a record in that department as a controlling force. On the reconstructiono of the Ministry he became Minister of Mines and Railways, and in this position his capacity as an administrator gained the highest commendation. At the general election of October, 1905, Mr. Johnson failed to secure the confidence of the Kalgoorlie electors, being defeated by Mr. Norbert Keenan. Soon afterwards he left the goldfields and became a resident of Midland Junction. On a vacancy occurring in the representation of Guildford in 1906 he was returned for that centre, and has held the seat by overwhelming majorities at each succeeding election. On the return of the Labour Party to power in 1911 Mr. Johnson was again given the portfolio of the Public Works, where no doubt by wise and careful control of this most important department he will enhance his previous excellent reputation. Since taking up his residence on the coast the subject of our memoir has been a most indefatigable worker in the cause of Labour, a task in which he has been greatly assisted by his wife. He married in 1901 Jessie, daughter of Alexander McCallum, and has three children.