Author Topic: To do an edit, and why.  (Read 2181 times)


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To do an edit, and why.
« on: February 07, 2013, 10:31:17 pm »
It's usually the case that when you send your writings out there that you see that obvious error.
So have a look at this, what errors can you see?
Have you made those errors?
As normally happens, when you read your own story, any errors you have done will be automatically corrected by your brain so that you don't see it.
And that punctuation, it looks right on your computer screen, but when it is on a web page does it still look right?

Written by
John H. Barnes


     Joseph Bolitho Johns was born in 1831, well, that is my belief. Other authors and some historians have put his year of birth as being in 1826 (and most years in between). So depending on which book you read, that is the year of birth.
     There are several web pages that state official sources, and they have varying years of birth. That is the same for where he was born, some folk give convincing arguments that he was born in Cornwall, whilst others give equally convincing reasons why they maintain that he was born in Wales.
     The origins of his middle name Bolitho, being a Cornish name has caused some to imply that he was of Cornish origin. And yet others maintain that because the family lived in Wales that Wales was his country of birth.
     Why did he have a Cornish name? Maybe his mother and father could see into the future and wanted a good laugh. As you can tell his place of birth was not noted.

     His fathers name was Thomas Johns, he was a blacksmith, Joseph learnt most of what his father knew about being a blacksmith, Joseph also became quite competent as a carpenter. When he went to work in the mines, he adapted to the life and became accepted for his apparent skills as an iron ore miner, traits that would serve him well in later life. It was a possibility that due to his ability to read and write, being the fairly eloquent man that he was, that he may have been employed to complete the shipping invoices that would have brought him into contact with John Williams, who he became friends with.

     John Williams was also known as William Cross, having another name could have its benefits. If you wanted to make a fresh start in another part of the country you could, just by having a new name. With modern day methods like the telephone and e-mails contact with a town a hundred miles away was hard at best.   
     John Williams worked as a boatman on the Brecon to Monmouth canal serving the Clydach Iron Works in Monmouth, Wales. Originally he was from Gloucestershire, although his home area was in the west country.

     Joseph B. Johns and John Williams became friends, so much so that they broke the law together one night, they were arrested near Monmouth. A policeman saw cause to watch them, thinking that their general demeanour was suspect. After allowing him self to be seen by them their behaviour became erratic. When he stopped them and began to search them he found each of them to be carrying several items of food. Not being satisfied with their reasons for having the food. They were taken to a police station where it was later discovered that those items of food were reported as stolen from a house nearby. The items were: three loaves of bread, several cheeses, a shoulder of mutton, a piece of bacon and a hunk of suet.   

    Much later, in the following year, at the Brecon Assizes in March 1849 they had there day in court. Where it should be said, that they pleaded not guilty and chose to defend themselves of the charges. Had they pleaded guilty to the charges the chances are they would have received shorter sentences, as others that day who were charged with similar offences and pleaded guilty were given three month labour. The defence was conducted by Joseph B. Johns who though quite literate and clever knew little of defending himself in court.

     Instead of a ten minute case, having to be instructed after making many mistakes of law, the judge became impatient. Joseph B. Johns was becoming being seen as rather irksome, he became disliked by the judge who saw him as annoying, hence, John Williams and Joseph B. Johns received ten years transportation each.

     John Williams being transported to Hobart in 1852.   

     Joseph B. Johns was transported in February 1853, after serving four years in various English prisons. Such as Shorncliffe army camp, Dartmoor prison and Pentonville prison. On the 2nd of February 1853 he was put on the convict ship Pyrenees bound for the Swan River settlement.

     Setting sail with 294 convicts it landed in Australia with 291 convicts, 3 had died. And on April the 30th of 1853 Joseph Bolitho Johns arrived in Fremantle. The first place he would have gone to was the Fremantle Convicts Establishment, laterly known as Fremantle Prison. Our Joe was a ticket-of-leave prisoner. A Ticket-of-Leave prisoner was one who was deemed to be of good behaviour, and as such was granted several privileges.   

     Once in the open pastures amongst the plants, the animals and the new land owners he quickly became regarded as someone who’d get the work done, gaining a reputation that he was a happy person, a nice person to be near as he was neither looking for an excuse of rest and that he was careful and mindful of all wildlife. Once or thrice he challenged those who were cruel to the animals in their care, seeking to admonish those people with words not action.

     On more than one occasion he gave more help to people than he was supposed to, drawing on his experiences in Wales and Cornwall, when the landowners whose control he was in needed knowledge of mining. At other times he was able to offer his ability of carpentry and being a capable blacksmith he became known as a friend of the people. 

     After many years of being a convict worker in the area, when he was released he chose to live near the town site. Making good of his rapport with animals he offered his services to farmers and the like for finding their lost animals. He built an area for horses, so that any horses found could be housed there. But, an ex-convict gaining popularity wasn’t appreciated by some, and he was arrested for putting his own brand on the horse instead of reporting that he had the horse. On being detained in the town’s lock up he didn’t waste to much time making his escape, his escape was made even more swift as he took Mr. Durlacher’s horse which had  a saddle and bridle on it. Mr. Durlacher just happened to be the town’s resident magistrate.

     Upon his capture he was quickly charged with stealing, and, given another three years, hard labour in Fremantle Prison where he was known as convict 5889. Being moved about he was given the convict number 8189.

     Deciding not to escape he was released three years later. He gained employment as a charcoal for which he was soon earning a good amount of money, when he was given the option he jumped at the chance of being a stockman. He was in the job he preferred, but not with the people he would have chosen and was soon in trouble with the law again, this time though someone claimed he was responsible for killing a steer. Even though he pleaded his innocence, the magistrate sentenced him to ten years labour. The evidence that would have cleared him wasn’t allowed in court.

     Gaining experience from his previous times in custody he knew to behave himself and was soon sent to the Canning Work Depot, a place where the security wasn’t adhered to as strictly as it could have been. He wasn’t kept in shackles, he wandered about the work party at will showing he could be trusted. However after he made friends with another absconder he planned, sought and gained an escape from his captivity.     

     It was during that period of freedom that he was given the name Moondyne Joe.

Accepting the name and promoting its use. However keeping his freedom was becoming harder, for now his fame was widespread. The newspapers in Perth often spoke of him and his exploits, after a meeting with a shepherd one evening.

     Forcing him to make them some damper of which Joe shared with the shepherd, when asleep that night he was arrested by several police. In court once again he was given a relatively short sentence but he was given the rest of prison sentence to serve; several years.

     The following year he must have decided he’d spent long enough in prison as he started to prepare an escape, this time though his plans were thwarted and he got an extra six months on his sentence. But the intention was there and within the week he was gone, making his way to a blacksmiths, where he rid himself of his shackles. It was during that period of escape that he met three convicts who had been working on Green Mount road. Making friends with them they began to make plans for their continued freedom, plans that were agreed upon.

     They attacked a elderly couple in their home, taking what they could, although as the couple didn’t have very much the four ex prisoners left there virtually empty handed. Needing to commit a further robbery with plans already made they set about preparing for the robbery. After committing a successful robbery at the store they set in motion their plans for escape.   
Unluckily for them the troopers hadn’t followed their false leads or heard of all their elaborate tales, they caught them at Boodalin.

     So, once again Joe languished in the back of a police wagon bound for Fremantle prison.

     On the ninth of October eighteen sixty six Joe heard the prison gates close behind him. This time though he was given special treatment, for he had become infamous. I’m not convinced that the special treatment was nice treatment, as most of his escapes made the authorities look a bit silly.

     The name of Moondyne Joe had been well received by the newspapers. Joe’s notoriety had spread amongst the police because of his many escapes, making them and his captors the subject of many a joke. The people of Perth began to hold Joe in favour, while he was a criminal he was also a hard worker, a friendly person and he had the personality that many people liked.

     Once in prison again the authorities were determined to keep him there and make him pay for his past crimes. He was shackled to a walk and a neck shackle chained to a post while a special cell for absconders was prepared for him. For four months he was held in the tiny cell that had a window that didn’t open. Until the prison doctor ordered that he have some fresh air.

     The prisoner who had absconded many times had to have his exercise when no other prisoner was there. Also, to ensure that he got plenty of air into his lungs, the prisoner was given plenty of rocks to break. That presented the prisoner (our Joe) with an opportunity and a means to escape. Breaking those rocks he also added to the pile; he was starting a tunnel through the prison wall, by moving the pile of rocks he could conceal the hole. On that fateful day, or happy day

(depending on your sense of humour) the prisoner (our Joe) escaped.

     For two years he remained a free man in and around the town of Toodyay. (It ought to be noted the whereabouts of Toodyay. The town site used to be located about 3 km upstream of its present location, and it was known by the name of Newcastle, after the town site was moved due to regular flooding the two name s of the town were used, the name Toodyay wasn’t officially declared until about a decade into the nineteen hundreds.)
When very little is known of our Joe during those two years of freedom, though it is rumoured that he was married and had a daughter during those two years. (Which is when the story in this book is set). 

     Unfortunately for our Joe he wanted to celebrate his two years of freedom by taking some wine from Houghton’s Winery, due to some bad timing Joe was caught.

     After serving his time, in 1873 he was declared a free man.

     That was followed by a busy time for our Joe, and in 1879 he married a Louisa Hearn nee Braddick. Moving to Vasse they worked together, while there our Joe discovered a cave (it now bears his name). Joe had a few jobs while he was there, transporting timber, building boats, and helping to run a brothel.

     By 1887 Joe and his wife were living in Toodyay again, getting work transporting timber all went well until ownership of the horses and wagon were questioned, resulting with both parties being blamed for not doing the paperwork effectively.

     Then the word on everyone’s lips was Gold! Joe, despite being an elderly man of 60 he and his wife set out for the goldfields. Being a man who was known to the police it wasn’t long before he was suspected of law breaking. But this time the magistrate was on his side and threw out the case.

     Moondyne Joe and his wife stayed in the Southern Cross area and that is the area where his then wife died. Joe left the area heading for Kelmscott. Being an elderly man he became somewhat vindictive towards those who had treated him badly. That was his downfall as when he made claims about others those claims backfired. In 1896 he was in court again, this time though it was for forging coins. Some clever research found that making your own coins of the realm was not illegal in the colonies, and he was released, but the law was introduced very quickly.

     But Joe’s health was starting to deteriorate, and after a few run-ins with the law-most of which were imagined by Joe he handed in his final ‘get out of jail free’ card. He was buried in Fremantle cemetery in plot 580A, also buried in that plot are W. McGrath, S. Steel and R. Peck.

Which leads us back to what we had about his birth, when did he die and how old was he when he died? Although this time there is the added storyline of, was it just someone who claimed he was Moondyne Joe who died or was it the real person?