Moondyne

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Moondyne
Author John Boyle O'Reilly
Country United States
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher P. J. Kennedy
Publication date
1879
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA

Moondyne is an 1879 novel by John Boyle O'Reilly. It is loosely based on the life of the Western Australian convict escapee and bushranger Moondyne Joe.

O'Reilly was a Fenian revolutionary who was transported as a convict to Western Australia. During his time in Western Australia's penal system he would have heard many stories of Moondyne Joe's exploits, although it almost certain that the two men never met. After thirteen months in Western Australia, O'Reilly escaped the colony on board the American whaling ship Gazelle. He arrived in America in 1869 and settled in Boston, where he established himself as a respected journalist, newspaper editor, novelist and poet.

In 1913, film director W. J. Lincoln made a silent film of the same name.

Publication details[edit]

The novel Moondyne originally appeared as a serial in O'Reilly's newspaper The Pilot in 1878, under the title Moondyne Joe. Applauded by critics, it was published and republished under a variety of titles including:

  • Moondyne Joe: A Story from the Underworld[1]
  • Moondyne: A Tale of Convict Life in Western Australia[2]
  • Moondyne: A Story of Life in West Australia
  • Moondyne: An Australian Tale
  • Moondyne, or, The Mystery of Mr Wyville
  • The Golden Secret, or Bond and Free
  • The Moondyne
  • A Tale of Bush and Convict Life
  • An Múindín (Irish-language translation, 1931).

Plot summary[edit]

Moondyne Joe is a convict who escapes after being victimised and mistreated by a cruel penal system. While on the run he is befriended by a tribe of aborigines who share with him their secret of a huge gold mine. Joe uses his new-found wealth to return to England and become a respected humanitarian under the assumed name Wyville. Recognised as possessing expertise in penal reform, he is ultimately sent back to Western Australia to help reform the colony's penal system. In the course of this he becomes involved in several subplots including the case of a young woman named Alice Walmsley who has been wrongly convicted of murdering her own child. Wyville/Moondyne succeeds in saving Alice from false imprisonment, helps to reform Western Australia's penal system, and achieves a number of other admirable ends before dying in an attempt to save the life of the story's villain, Isaac Bowman.

1913 film[edit]

Moondyne
Moondyne Poster.jpg
Advertisement for film
Directed by W. J. Lincoln
Written by John Boyle O'Reilly
W.J. Lincoln[3]
Based on novel by John Boyle O'Reilly
Starring George Bryant
Godfrey Cass
Roy Redgrave
Cinematography Maurice Bertel
Production
  company
Lincoln-Cass Films
Release date(s) 1 September 1913[4][5]
Running time 3,000 feet[6]
Country Australia
Language Silent film
English intertitles

In 1913, the Melbourne-based Lincoln-Cass Film Company produced Moondyne, a black and white silent film based on O'Reilly's novel.[7][8] It is considered a lost film.[9] The film was shot in an around Melbourne.

The cast included George Bryant as Joe Moondye; Roy Redgrave as Isaac Bowman and Godfrey Cass as Te Mana Roa.

Plot[edit]

In 1848, convict Joe is assigned as a labourer to settled Isaac Bowman in Western Australia. Joe escapes and takes refuge with a tribe of aborigines led by Te Mana Roa, who tell him about a mountain of gold.

Bowman recaptures Joe, who tells him about the mine. Bowman goes to the mine, kills the chief and loads his horse with gold, but ends up perishing in the desert, leaving Joe with his aboriginal friends.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Moondyne Joe: A Story from the Underworld". Google Books (partial preview only). Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Moondyne; a story of convict life in Australia (ca. 1909?)". archive.org. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Copyright documentation relating to script at National Archives of Australia
  4. ^ Mary Bateman, 'Lincoln Cass Filmography', Cinema Papers, June-July 1980 p 175
  5. ^ "ENTERTAINMENTS.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 6 September 1913. p. 20. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Advertising.". Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954) (Vic.: National Library of Australia). 4 October 1913. p. 5. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Moondyne (film)]". AustLit. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Moondyne (1913)". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 9 June 2006. 
  9. ^ "Advertising.". Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954) (Vic.: National Library of Australia). 4 October 1913. p. 6. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  10. ^ ""MOONDYNE".". Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954) (Vic.: National Library of Australia). 4 October 1913. p. 4. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]