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Joseph Doonan

Joseph Doonan was the Fremantle Prison Comptroller and then a shopkeeper. He owned and operated J. Doonan & Sons in Adelaide Street. Doonan Street was named after him in 1897, but the name was changed to Holdsworth St, after Lionel Holdsworth.

The assistant superintendent, in effect head warder of the Prison, was Joseph Doonan. Born in Ireland in 1831, he had arrived in Western Australia with his mother and sister in the Travancore in 1853. Joining the convict service in 1853, he had a quick promotion to principal warder in 1859. In 1866, when [he was] seeking promotion, the superintendent acknowledged his ‘sound judgment, industry and high principles’ and described him as ‘the most trustworthy and deserving subordinate officer of this service and as to education, manners and conduct I think him well qualified to take charge of any convict prison or depot. ...’ He was appointed assistant superintendent in August 1867 and assumed some of the duties of Superintendent in 1875 on the retirement of the incumbent. The Home Government cut the position as an economy and the duties were divided between Doonan and acting comptroller-general Fauntleroy (Heseltine: 27).

References and Links

Heseltine, William 2004, 'The escape of the military Fenians from Fremantle Prison: the warders' perspective', Fremantle Studies, 3: 26-45.


Garry Gillard | New: 14 May, 2016 | Now: 18 November, 2018