Royal honour for Brogo’s spaceman

Gary Johnston

Gary Johnston

Brogo born Gary Johnston has been celebrated in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The second youngest of six siblings and now living in Canberra, Mr Johnston, 50, has received a public service medal in the annual honours list for “outstanding public service through improving national and international scientific program delivery in satellite positioning and geodesy”.

Geodesy is the science of accurately measuring and understanding three fundamental properties of the Earth: its geometric shape, its orientation in space, and its gravity field – and how they changes over time.

Mr Johnston’s father, Ted Johnston, who still lives in Brogo, said both he and Gary’s five siblings were all extremely proud of him.

“He’s worked very hard through some very long hours for this achievement,” the family said. 


Through his role as branch head of geodesy and seismic monitoring at Geoscience Australia, Mr Johnston’s leadership enabled the improved adoption of satellite positioning, navigating and timing technology across Australian industry, research and government sectors.

Mr Johnston also led the complex international effort to develop a United Nations General Assembly resolution to adopt the first UN resolution recognising the importance of a globally-coordinated approach to geodesy. Mr Johnston’s considerable technical and diplomatic leadership and advocacy was instrumental in the development of this resolution.

Since 2015, Mr Johnston has chaired the International Global Satellite System Service. This services supports many applications including precise navigation, machine automation, and surveying and mapping. His key contribution in this area has been to refocus the service’s efforts onto societal applications of precise observations of the Earth using its technologies.

According the the Honours List citation, “Mr Johnston has substantially contributed to the international science community, and to Australia’s international scientific reputation, through the International Association of Geodesy”.