William Donovan Joynt was born at Elsternwick, Victoria on 19 March 1889. After schooling at The  Grange, Toorak and Melbourne Grammar, he studied accounting and then turned his hand to farming. He travelled to Queensland to seek experience in cotton growing only to find on his arrival that the venture had failed. Joynt, now penniless, worked on a farm growing maize and then with a contractor laying water mains. His next job was on a banana plantation. For a short time he worked in a sugar mill until he obtained a working passage on a ship bound for Melbourne.

After just a month at home at Elsternwick, he set out for Western Australia where new lands were being opened up anti where he received a grant of 250 acres to try his hand at potato farming. Hard work and a poor diet caused his health to fail and he returned to Melbourne.

He moved to Minders Island and again tried potato farming but lost a good crop through severe frosts.

Bill Joynt had already seen what must have appeared to him as a lifetime of misfortune. When the First World War broke out he left Minders Island to return to Melbourne to join the First A.I.F. on 21 May 1915.

He had previously had two years service in the Victorian Rifles and, probably, his first stroke of good fortune was when he received a commission as a Second‑Lieutenant on 24 December 1915.

He was sent to France where he was posted to the 8 h Battalion of the 1st Division. He was wounded in the battle at Pozieres and, later, he was wounded again and hospitalised. In this action against enemy trenches, he was mended in Divisional Orders and promoted to Lieutenant on 31 December 1916.


Information supplied from the book " Australian and New Zealand Freemasons and the Victoria Cros" by Grahame Cumminge PDGM UGL of NSW & ACT