Sponsor story – Mark Johnston

The story of Mark Johnston, sponsor of the Illawarra Cycle Club.

Everyone has a story, and it’s not always about the bike.

Written by Terry Wall

When I get the opportunity to speak to a sponsor, I always like to start from the beginning. Remember, it’s not all about the bike. What I have found over the years, is that for some reason, not all our sponsors ride bikes. Mark is no exception to the rule.

On a cold Thursday morning in Wollongong, I met Mark at his office at the Market Street Law Group for a chat on how he became one of our valued sponsors.

Before we get into cycling, what is the Mark Johnston story?

Mark was born and raised in Wollongong and has lived in the area for his entire 43 years. Although he has travelled the world and played sport in other countries, he still calls Wollongong home.

He attended West Wollongong Primary School and Wollongong High School, where he obtained excellent results which would land him in one of the best Universities in the Country, the University of Wollongong.  In 1994 he commenced a double degree in Commerce/Law which he finished in 1999 and admitted as a solicitor in December 1999.

When did you start Johnston Legal?

I started working for myself in 2013 after working for a couple of local firms and with a couple of high-profile personal injury firms in their Wollongong offices. I had the benefit of seeing how both big and small practices work, and then decided to take the plunge.

Johnston Legal gained a second lawyer when my then fiancé and now wife Sian Aldis joined the practice in 2018. Sian does criminal and traffic law.

My office is part of the Market Street Law Group which is a group of 5 independent law firms that operate from the ground floor of 90 Market Street.

What is your area of legal expertise Mark?

As a younger practitioner I had exposure to a broad area of practice areas but have always mainly worked in the area of personal injury law.  It is a challenging area of law, but one that provides immense satisfaction when you finish a case. I am a NSW Law Society Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.

Have you ever represented a cyclist who has been involved in an accident?

I have, including a couple of members from your club who were knocked off their bikes. We’ve been successful in every case we have pursued for your members.

What is your first sport of choice Mark?

Cricket. My father was (and still is) very keen on the sport and was throwing balls at me in the back yard from an early age. I watched his matches for Keira. Dad was the president of Keira for many years. Cricket was the main sport discussed in my family, although my sister Sally reached a high level in hockey and is President of UOW hockey club (who I also sponsor).

What level of cricket have you played?

After starting with Keira U10s in 1984, I made my first-grade debut at 15 and have now played over 350 first grade games, and representative games for Illawarra. I had two years with Campbelltown in the Sydney grade competition.  At 43, I’m one of the oldest still playing first grade down here.

Have you been involved in Sports Administration?

I was on the Keira committee for several years and am a life member of the club.  I was President of the Illawarra Cricket Association for 5 years. I’m a sponsor of Keira and Cricket Illawarra.

Outside of cricket and work, do you participate in any other sports?

My other passion has been running. I’ve completed 28 of the last 29 City to Surf races (missing one for an overseas holiday). I ran the marathon on the Olympic course in the test event in 2000 and was pleased with a time of 3hrs 20mins. I occasionally turn up at Kembla Joggers and enjoy watching Tech Tahs rugby club in the winter.

What are the sporting highlights for Mark?

In my first game in the Sydney first grade competition I faced Australian test leggie Stuart MacGill and scored a few runs off him.

In 2013 I represented the Australia Lawyers Cricket team in the Lawyers Cricket World Cup in New Delhi. It was a fantastic experience, other than having to go out to bat in mid afternoon heat after having a delightful serving of curry in the lunch break, which made running between wickets a bit awkward! We visited the Taj Mahal on one of the rest days (there were no rest evenings).  

If you had a 2nd chance in life, would you change anything?

I should have asked Sian Aldis out earlier than I did.

During my meeting with Mark I got to meet his wife, Sian Aldis.  Sian was a member with Jules in our clubs’ ladies’ group. Sian also has a passion for cyclists’ rights.

I would like to thank Mark Johnston and his wife Sian for taking time out to speak to me about his life off the bike. Mark is a valued sponsor of the Illawarra Cycle Club and an expert in his field.

If you need advice in compensation or personal injury claims or any issues with the law, contact Mark or Sian from Johnston Legal on 02 4225 2677, or email mark@johnstonlegal.com.au.