When Thomas Dyson was a young boy, he shot the son of his father’s main business rival in the head. After that, his fortunes could only improve.
Fanny Dyson’s end was horrible and no-one comes out of this event looking good.
The new evidence
This is a reconstruction of the last years of the life of Mrs Frances (Fanny) Dyson, the first wife of James Dyson, and mother to his first four children. This is a very different narrative to the one that which has heretofore been told, and has been accepted as the truth for nigh on one hundred and twenty years.
A visit to the Old East Perth Cemetery, where generations of Colonial Western Australians have been laid to uneasy rest, including all too many Dysons.
The government has censored our vital documents!
Consider this a sequel to the article The Stranger in the Mirror where I bemoaned the lack of available images of the earliest generations of the Dyson family in colonial Western Australia. Of the patriarch, James Dyson—at best, we have an identikit image based on his alleged convict record. Of his two wives, and the vast majority of his twenty-two children (his own and the one he inherited), we have little or nothing. It unlikely there ever will be any images to be found of…
“a more worthless set of men he had never before sailed with.”
…Captain Benjamin Avery stated, as he stood once again before the magistrate in the Water Police Office and denounced nearly half his crew paraded before him in the dock. Seventeen large and aggressive men shouted angrily as they were, as one, sentenced to twelve weeks hard labour in prison. They cursed their Captain in the vilest language and their threats grew louder and more violent. They had, after all, been found guilty of disobeying his orders, and one had even stuck the master and started to draw a knife on him. In a military service such as the Navy, they would have all been hanged—if they were lucky. But this was a civilian court and the three suddenly very civilian-looking Police Constables on guard duty that day began to realise that if the prisoners chose to act on any their blood-curdling threats, there was very little they could do to stop them…
Ships disappeared at sea all the time. There was no such thing as GPS, It would be another half century before wireless radio was invented. Passing vessels hailed one another and exchanged names with their captains, who would report who they had encountered, where and when, at the next port they arrived at. It was at the very best, a three month voyage from Britain to Australia. To send a letter and receive a reply would take half a year—If you were lucky. Mary Chapman waited. A whole year passed. Then the letter arrived.
I started writing this story for posting about the time of Valentine’s Day but only now that it’s St Patrick’s Day do I find myself completing it. This is not altogether inappropriate as ultimately this is a love story from Ireland.