Come along and join in the fun at the FREE Act-Belong-Commit Moondyne Festival. This festival is held annually in the Toodyay township. Everyone is encouraged to dress in pioneer period costume - perhaps you could come dressed as a floozie, swaggie or a street urchin. Or wax up and enter the fabulous Moustache Competition!
The legend of Moondyne Joe, the Avon Valley's legendary bushranger transforms the picturesque historical town of Toodyay, Western Australia into a lively all-day festival. The highlight of the day will be the re-enactment of Moondyne Joe's various escapades throughout the town. These will include such things as his arrests and mock trials.
Join in the fun with Moondyne Joe as he runs around town robbing shops, escaping custody and being a general menace. You can also cheer on Joe's gang, floozies, coppers, swaggies and the Town Crier.
Toodyay is not far from Perth, so this is quite do-able on the day. This Moondyne Festival is jam-packed with exciting activities throughout the day in the main street of Toodyay. It will also be in Colonial Village, St Stephens Church grounds, Duidgee Park and Stirling Park.
The program of events is as follows:
9.00 am - Festival Commences 9.10 am - Bush Poets - on the stage
9.15 am - Moondyne Joe & Gang appear in the street and harass people in and near the Colonial Village - at Colonial Village 9.25 am - Greg Hastings - on the stage 9.45 am - Street Parade - cheer them on! On the main street
9.50 am - Perth Rifle & Artillery Regiment 1850 - on the Stage
10.00 am - St Stephens Anglican Church Service - at St Stephens Church
10.05 am - Festival opening
Sharmaine Miles - Welcome to country
Hon Darren West MLC
Mr Shane Love MLA
Cr Brian Raynor - Toodyay Shire President Moondyne History - all these on the stage
10.30 am - Perth Rifle & Artillery Regiment 1860 - on the stage
10.30 am - Moondyne Joe runs amok, including interrupting the service at St Stephens Church and robbery from cafes. Watch out for them in the West End - on at the West End
10.30 am - WA Circus School Performance & Workshop - on at St Stephens Church & the main street
10.50 am - Bush Poets - on at the stage
11.00 am - Kalamunda Pipe Band - on near Freemasons Hotel
11.05 am - Greg Hastings - on at the stage
11.10 am - Capture of Moondyne Joe - on at Colonial Village
11.20 am - Moondyne Joe's First Trial - on at the stage
11.50 am - Perth Morris Men - will be dancing in the street
12.00 noon - Toodyay Singers - on at the stage
12.45 pm - Royal Australian Navy Band - on at police station stage
12.50 pm - Mad Tatters Morris Dancers - will be dancing in the street
1.20 pm - Moustache Competition - prize awarded - on at Freemason Hotel
1.30 pm - Pioneer Bush Band - Dave & Liz Rivett - on the stage
1.40 pm - Balcony Scene with Moondyne Joe - on at Freemason's Hotel
1.50 pm - Moondyne Joe is captured - on at Freemason's Hotel area
1.55 pm - Moondyne Joe's Second Trial -on the stage
2.20 pm - Perth Morris Men - dancing in the street
2.30 pm - WA Circus School Performance & Workshop - on at St Stephens Church and the street
2.30 pm - Mad Tatters Morris Dancers - will be dancing in the street
2.35 pm - Royal Australian Navy Band - on at the police station stage
3.00 pm - Floozy Competition with a prize awarded - on at the Freemason's Hotel
3.20 pm - Pioneer Bush Band - Dave & Liz Rivett - on at the stage
4.00 pm - Close of Festival
In February 1853, Joseph Bolitho Johns arrived in Australia aboard the convict ship Pyrenees. He was facing ten years in jail at the convict establishment. He had been arrested in Wales and proven guilty of stealing several cheeses, 3 loaves of bread 2 pieces of bacon, part of a shoulder of mutton and a piece of suet. John's behaviour on the ship was very good and this meant he was offered his ticket-of-leave upon arrival in Fremantle.
A ticket-of-leave is what a convict would receive if they passed a period of probation with good behaviour. The ticket allowed the prisoner the freedom to seek employment, acquire land, marry, and bring family from overseas to join them. They were not allowed to leave a district without permission, carry firearms or board a ship. Once a ticket of leave prisoner then finished half his sentence he was entitled to a conditional pardon. This removed all restrictions except the right to leave the colony.
However, in 1861Johns was arrested in Newcastle for illegally branding a brumby and jailed in the Newcastle Convict Hiring Depot. The building was old and dilapidated and in disrepair. He, therefore, managed to escape taking the horse and the resident magistrate's saddle and bridle.
Johns worked in Fremantle until the end of 1854 before receiving his conditional pardon. Sometime prior to 1860 he moved to the Avon Valley district which is now known as Toodyay and the aboriginal people knew this area as Moondyne.
He was later re-captured and spent 3 years in Fremantle Prison. He continued his spree of crime and back into jail for a number of years and was eventually put in an escape-proof cell in Fremantle.
The name Moondyne is thought to have originated from Joe's hiding spot in the Moondyne Hills near Toodyay. Many of the settlers from there thought of him as a hero as he was able to evade the authorities so often.
In 1873, Joe married Louisa Hearn in Fremantle and they travelled around the state from Geraldton to Augusta, York to Southern Cross looking for work. Joe continued to be a scoundrel until his last jail sentence at Fremantle Lunatic Asylum where he died of senile dementia in August 1900 at the age of 71.