A native of Edinborough, John Moodie came to North America in 1880 and joined the North West Mounted Police in 1884. Following the Riel Rebellion, he was posted to Calgary and served at Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Maple Creek, and Battleford before the Boer War. He did two tours of South Africa, was wounded in the advance of Blomenfountien He returned to the Mounties and commanded the detachment at Dawson City and took part in the exploration of the overland route from Edmonton to Dawson.
He is probably most well known for his service in the Eastern Arctic. In 1906, he sailed from Halifax aboard the "Arctic" top the Hudson Bay where one of his assignments was to formally claim islands in the Eastern Arctic for Canada. He established posts at Chesterton, Fullerton Inlet and Churchill as part of the governments assertion of sovereignty to the arctic. His pioneer activities in the Arctic helped paved the way for the subsequent navigation of the North West Passage by the St Roch.
Of equal importance, but often overlooked, is his wife Geraldine, a pioneer of Canadian photography. Geraldine owned and operated photographic studios in Battleford and Maple Creek where she documented not only the early North West Mounted Police, but pioneer life in the Canadian West generally. When she accompanied her husband to the Arctic, she continued to record, among other things, the life style of the native peoples of the area: her work surpassing that of the official government photographer. Geraldine Moodie's detailed and insightful photographs stand as a testament to a time and lifestyle - both native and white - which has, for the most part, passed into history.