Born at Donald, in the Wimmera of Victoria, on 11 February 1878 and died at Cleveland, Brisbane, QId, on 27 January 1943.
His father moved from Donald to Bourke, N.S.W., and later to Dubbo in the same State, where John Sinnister had a limited education. He became a junior assistant to an Inspector of Lands when he was only 17 but did not stay long at the job and for 10 years or more worked as a station hand for a maternal uncle at Nonda Downs on the Flinders Rivers in northern Queensland. In 1917 he purchased the property of Birricannia where he collected the syntype of Eucalyptus whitei in 1920. Birricannia Station was a large property, around 40,000 hectares, and Swanson devoted himself to the management of his pastoral interests, taking little part in local civic and political affairs.Source: Extracted from: Hall, N. (1978) Botanists of the eucalypts. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Melbourne