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April A-Z Challenge – J for ‘Bossy Jones’

April 12, 2017

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is a challenge put out to bloggers to publish a post from A-Z every day in April, except for Sundays. April 1 is A, and so on throughout the month. Bloggers can post randomly or on a theme. The theme I have chosen is ‘My Ancestors’. I used this same theme for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge in 2015. This time the ancestors posted about will mostly be more distant members of the family. Hopefully, when combined this will form a full picture of my family history.

I have decided that the letter ‘J’ will be a reblog, mainly because I think this ancestory is an interesting story that deserves to be told again.

GODFREY EDWARD JONES, known as Bossy, was born in 1918 at Essendon, Victoria, Australia. He died, unmarried in 1980 at Seaford, Victoria.

Bossy became well known in the Seaford area due to the number of people he saved from drowning in the Patterson Lakes. In one week, he saved the lives of five people as the newspaper article below explains.

from: Sydney Morning Herald, 10 January 1936

Jones Bossy newspaper

In 1936, Bossy received an honorary award for those lives saved from the Royal Humane Society.

Bossy went on to save the lives of 83 people and became known as ‘The Guardian of The River”

The following is a transcription of a newspaper article that was published after Bossy Jones’ death. It was given to me by a family member, but unfortunately there were no source details for it.

BOSSY JONES (the big man) who was fond of a beer is dead….
They’ll miss him in the pub at Carrum where he’d raise a laugh by pouring a glass over his head.
But the people of Carrum are determined that big Bossy will always be remembered – as a hero.
For Bossy was a one-man lifesaving club credited with saving 83 people from drowning in the Patterson River.
A plaque in his memory is to be set up on the foreshore at Carrum and the local council will create a garden.
Neighbors found bossy’s body when they went to his Attunga Cres, home where he lived alone, because they had not seen him for two days.
He was headed for a pauper’s grave until the news of his death got around and an appeal was opened to pay for his funeral.
“We raised enough for a decent funeral in one day, with enough left over to put up a plaque”, one of the organisers, John Hoyne said yesterday.
“The way things are going, if you made a bit of an effort you could build a lighthouse for him”, Mr. Hoyne said.
Carrum’s feelings for the big fellow were pretty well summed up in a poem, read at his funeral late last week and written by Mrs. Lillian Fisher, whose daughter Christine was one of those Bossy saved;

“A gentle man who spent his time in friendly company
God’s guardian of the river, that’s what he seemed to be,
He loved the open spaces, the sunshine and the sea,
And the laughter of the children as they frolicked merrily.
When danger threatened he was there, to save all 83,
The guardian of the river, that’s what he seemed to be.
Somehow it just won’t be the same, dear Bossy, now you’re gone,
But in our hearts you’ll always live, your memory lingers on”.

One of the many local people who Bossy taught to swim was Mrs. Peg Flanagan, who said yesterday that “all of Carrum thought the world of Bossy”.
“I went to school with bossy. He was awfully good at throwing pens into the ceiling and getting belted around the backside,, but he beat that by shoving books down his pants.
“All he wanted to do was get down by the river, lie on the sand and pull them out”, she said.
And pull them out he did in the days when the Patterson River was deep and treacherous.
Newspaper articles of the ’30’s record the young hero’s feats of pulling five people out of the river in a week when he was only 16, and diving from a bridge fully clothed to save a young girl.

For more information:

  1. What an amazing individual! I loved the line about the possibility of a lighthouse being built in his memory.

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