John completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Tasmania and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in .

After graduating, he took up a position with The Times of London as a journalist where he was promoted to sub-editor. His writing in politics led him to join the Australian Department of External Affairs in and became a liaison officer at the High Commission in London. In he returned to Australia, taking up a position in Canberra before he was sent to The Hague in the Netherlands to set up a new resident legation in . John then went on to act as political advisor to the Australian Military Mission in Berlin and in was appointed as Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations in New York City. Serving until , he was then appointed as Australia’s first Ambassador to Indonesia and then as Ambassador to Germany in . In , he was awarded with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). His final diplomatic position was in when he was appointed as Ambassador to Israel until his retirement in . John passed away in .

Headmaster and Prefects, 1921. (Standing L–R) G C Burbury, N J Kellaway, J D L Hood, R H W Hamilton, H L White. (Seated L–R) K C Douglas, J V Burbury (Senior Prefect), Headmaster C C Thorold, D C Mackay, K B Armstrong.

Headmaster and Prefects,

(Standing L–R) G C Burbury, N J Kellaway, J D L Hood, R H W Hamilton, H L White
(Seated L–R) K C Douglas, J V Burbury (Senior Prefect), Headmaster C C Thorold, D C Mackay, K B Armstrong