John Donath was born in West Street, Preston on 5 February 1912. The son of a local dairyman, John was educated at the West Preston State School before leaving at age 14 to take up a position in the Valuer’s Department of Preston Council, as a clerk.
Transferring to the Town Clerk’s Department, Donath studied accountancy and law before passing the Municipal Clerk’s Examination. In 1941 he was promoted to Assistant Town Clerk, followed in 1943 by his elevation to Town Clerk and Treasurer. He was to hold this position for the next 25 years.
Donath was active in local sports, playing cricket for Bell Cricket Club and football with the Preston United Football Club in the VFA.
The J. C. Donath Reserve in Keon Park was named after Donath in 1956.
Preston Historical Society (1968). Brief biographies of prominent Preston People. Preston, Vic: Author.
Death index Victoria 1921-1985 : index to deaths in Victoria [CD-ROM]. (1998). Melbourne, Australia: Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.