Johnburgh was first settled in 1855 as the demand for wheat grew. This required the government to open land beyond the Goyders Line. The township of Johnburgh was proclaimed in 1879 with the first name of the governor's son. Settlement took place rapidly with an excellent season, then a drought came and had a crippling effect on the growth of the town.
A school was constructed in 1891 and its highest attendance was 85 children in 1899. Several times through the years the school was closed due to lack of pupils and it finally closed in 1967. The town also had two post offices running cooperatively together for many years while one was also a general store from 1878. At one stage Johnburgh had a hotel, blacksmith and a saddler.
The church was constructed in 1882 and a library and hall in 1959. The buildings are no longer operating as they became part of the Orroroo circuit. There were two main mining activities in Johnburgh, Barytes and Kaolin. Both have since been shut down.
The average rainfall in Johnburgh for years has been 276 mm or 11.04".