Joseph Davis (Davies) EM

b. 15/09/1865 Maldon, Victoria, Australia. d. 16/11/1919 Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 16/07/1909 Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

Joseph Davis (Davies) EM

Joseph Davis (also Davies) was born on 15th September 1865 in Maldon, Victoria, one of eleven children of Welsh immigrants Richard and Mary Ellen Davies (nee Jones). By 1909, Joseph was a single man living at Diamond Hill, Bendigo where he worked as a driller for the Goldfields Consolidated Mine. Following the incident on 16th July 1909, John Allen recovered from his injuries in Bendigo Hospital, and Joseph’s gallantry was widely reported in the local press. He was presented with numerous awards for his bravery beginning with a gold watch and chain from the Goldfields Consolidated Mine.

Joseph was originally recommended for the Albert Medal by the State Cabinet to the Governor of Victoria, who passed it on to the Home Office. In August 1909, Joseph accepted a new job of drill assistant in the Victorian Mining Department and was awarded the 1909 Clarke Gold Medal, the highest award of the Royal Humane Society of Australia. On 14th October, he was presented wiht the Victorian Mining Department Certificate for Bravery by the Governor of Victoria, as well as a gold medal from the miners of Dundas, Tasmania, and an illuminated address and cheque for £170.

In November 1909, Joseph learned that he had been awarded the Edward Medal First Class, instead of the Albert Medal. He was not the first Australian to be awarded the Edward Medal, but was the first Australian-born recipient. On 25th January 1910, Joseph received his medal from the Govenor of Victoria at Bendigo Town Hall.

Little is known of Davies’ later life. He remained a bachelor and attempted to become a farmer. Unfortunately, due to being a long term sufferer of bronchitis, this was doomed to failure. Dogged by ill-health, whilst staying with his sister at Parkville, on 16th November 1919, he passed away. He was buried in an unmarked grave plot owned by his grandmother in Brighton General Cemetery. Joseph lay in the unmarked grave until following a campaign started in 2004 by a descendant Faye Guthrie and researcher Paul Street, raised the money to have it marked. On 13th September 2015 the plaque was unveiled at Brighton General Cemetery by David Southwick, the Liberal MP for Caulfield.



On the 16th July, 1909, three men were employed at the bottom of a shaft in a gold mine at Bendigo, Australia. They had prepared two holes for blasting, aud the charges had been placed. Two of the men, Darcey and Davis, had retired to a place of safety; Allen, the third man, remained to set fire to the charges. Having done this, he proceeded to climb up the ladder to a safe place; but, on reaching the top, fell back to the bottom of the shaft. Davis at once descended the ladder, and found Allen lying right on top of the two holes containing the charges. He seized him, and dragged him to the east end of the shaft, and lay on the top of him to keep him still. Both the charges exploded, and Allen, who had broken his leg, was hauled to the surface. Davis, refusing any assistance, climbed the ladder to the surface, changed his clothes, and went quietly home. Davis’s action was an exceptionally brave one, as he knew perfectly well that the explosion of the charges was imminent.