Joseph Bolitho Johns, also known as Moondyne Joe, was born in England in the 1820s. Johns was sentenced to 10 years in jail for burglary and later sent to Western Australia where the British penal colony was situated at the time. He was released for good behavior after serving two years but later sent to jail again for horse stealing. Johns managed to escape from prison but the police caught him and put him back in his sell.
However, Johns managed to get out a few more times. In order to prevent him escaping again, the authorities sent him to Fremantle Prison where a special cell made with stone and very thick pieces of wood was designed especially for Johns. He had to work in the prison yard shattering rocks into small stones and was watched at all times by a prison guard. Johns was promised a pardon by the Governor of Western Australia and guaranteed that he would be forgiven if he managed to escape again. He managed to get out through a hole in the prison wall made with his hammer which he had hidden from the prison guards. Even though the authorities searched everywhere for Johns, they couldn’t find him. The news about John’s escape traveled to other prisons and many inmates tried to get out themselves but very few succeeded.