John Sampson grew up in the small country town of Katanning in Western Australia before moving to Perth and being awarded a scholarship to Perth Modern School. On matriculation he studied at the University of Western Australia and graduated with a PhD in Zoology.

He then moved to Melbourne and taught zoology at the Melbourne College of Education before moving to Washington DC where he joined a small team at the American Chemical Society to produce an innovative Junior High School Science textbook, with funding from the National Science Foundation. From here he became a subeditor of ACS magazine Chemical Health and Safety.

On returning to Australia John joined the Victorian Baptist Historical Society and became interested in Baptist History, spending ten years as a volunteer archivist for the Baptist Union of Victoria.

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