Former Queen's College headmaster Dr Raynor Johnson tainted by Family ties

Herald Sun, Australia/August 17, 2014

By Stephen Drill

A prestigious Melbourne University college is reviewing honours for one of its former headmasters because of his links with notorious cult The Family.

A wing of Queen’s College is named after Dr Raynor Johnson, who was college master for 30 years.

He joined the cult, which was accused of being involved in forced adoptions and using LSD on children, after he ­retired.

The college’s current master Professor David Runia said Dr Johnson’s name on honours was being reviewed.

“It is a very serious question. We need more information, that’s why we have commissioned a report,” he said. “We hope to be better informed by the end of the year.”

Dr Johnson, a physicist from England, was master at Queen’s between 1934 and 1964 — one of only seven people who have held the post in more than a century of exclusive education.

He was also involved in helping set up St Hilda’s College in 1964.

Prof Runia said Dr Johnson cut ties with the college after his retirement, despite living on-site for decades.

“He only returned three times in the 23 years after he left. He had three lives, a life in England, at Queen’s, and a life in the hills,” he said.

Dr Johnson became a close friend of Anne Hamilton-Bryne, who set up a cult in the Dandenong Hills.

Federal Police raided the cult in 1987, making world headlines, over concerns about the care of children, some of whom had been living in near-starving conditions.

Dr Johnson bought a property in Ferny Creek, named Santiniketan, that was used as a base for the secretive group.

A copy of his diary, seen by the Herald Sun, shows he believed Mrs Hamilton-Bryne was a reincarnation of Christ.

He also wrote how he believed aliens were going to invade the earth, that Mrs Hamilton-Byrne advised not to intervene when children were suffering and that miracles occurred during yoga practices.

Dr Johnson believed that he was John the Baptist reincarnated, according to the 47-page diary. “I imagine some of those first disciples must have been when called upon to face the incredible reality that the long-expected Messiah of the Jews was among them now,” he said. “The first disciples must have felt the same as I had felt. They were right, the others were wrong.”

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