Johnson was born in England in 1839. A man with an adventurous spirit, the lure of gold brought him to the NSW goldfields in about 1858. He prospected in the Lambing Flat, Gulgong and Sofala fields and published the newspaper the Illustrated Sofala Times in 1859. He was also editor of the Hawkesbury Chronicle, a newspaper which commenced in 1879 and also wrote numerous articles on the history of Mudgee and Gulgong.
Writing under many pseudonyms including ‘Paul Twyford’, ‘Cooyal’ or simply ‘G C J’, Johnson was a prolific and entertaining writer contributing to many country newspapers such as the Molong Argus. His subjects were many and varied and included political comment, satire as well as local history.
His first article under the name Paul Twyford appeared in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette in March 1889. Titled An evening among the land nationalizers, the piece reported on a public meeting which was held on the subject of national versus private ownership of land. Amusingly he mentions George Charles Johnson (aka himself) as being one of the speakers!
Following Sam Boughton’s epic series Reminiscences of Richmond: from the forties down written under the name of Cooramill, Johnson contributed eleven instalments of corrections and comments which were published in the Hawkesbury Herald commencing on 23 September 1904 under the byline, Cooyal.
After a long lifetime spent writing and commenting, Johnson died in Cremorne aged 85 years in July 1924.