John Penwell Smale was born at Hamilton, Tasmania, on 5 Jul 1865. He was the third of ten children born to George Smale and his wife Elizabeth Withey who were married on 12 Aug 1861. In 1891 John was a bootmaker at Longford and was a bass in the Exhibition Choir. By 1903 he was a shopkeeper in Main Road, New Town. He died aged 66 on 19 May 1932 at his residence, 318 Argyle Street, Hobart. The funeral service was held at St John's Church and cemetery at New Town.