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Joseph (Joe) Boxhorn (1888–1960)

This article was published:

This entry is from People Australia

Joseph Boxhorn also known as Joe Boxall (1898-1960) clerk, PMG linesman and political activist 

Birth: February 1888 in Perth, Western Australia, eldest child of Louis Samuel Boxhorn (1869-1929), a watchmaker and jeweller, and Trixey, née Crichton (1874-1956). Both parents had been born in Victoria. Marriage: reputedly in WA about 1919 to Janet Bruce (1883-1978), who had been born in WA. Death: 5 April 1960 in Maniana, WA. Religion: Cremated with Anglican rites. 

  • Joe was brought up in Perth and from about 1910 in Northam, WA. His father enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Fremantle, WA, on 31 March 1916.
  • Four weeks later, his son, a bank clerk living in Northam, also enlisted in the AIF — on 4 May 1916 at Belmont, WA. Joe gave his religion on enlistment as Presbyterian.
  • Father and son embarked on the Port Macquarie for Plymouth, England, on 13 October 1916 and both served in France with the 44th Battalion from April 1917, Louis until November 1917 and Joe to December 1918. Wounded in action on 10 June 1917 he was diagnosed with concussion and shell shock. Spent some time in military hospitals suffering from venereal disease. Returned to Australia in August 1919 and was discharged in Perth on 15 September that year. His father had been discharged in Perth in March 1918.
  • Arrived in Sydney as bagman at the start of the Great Depression. Worked as a linesman for the Postmaster General’s Department.
  • An ‘autodidact with an insatiable need to talk’. Actively involved in Glebe unemployed struggles in 1930s. Home raided by Communist Party of Australia opponents.
  • In 1935 split from main ‘Trotskyist’ faction to form Revolutionary Workers’ Group favouring ‘entrism’ into the Australian Labor Party. Active in Glebe Branch of Australian Labor Party.
  • Published journal styled Bottom Dog, later merged with The Voice of the Jobless.
  • In 1945-1946, unsuccessfully tried to reunite Trotskyist groups.
  • After WWII moved to western suburbs of Sydney, where active in ALP.
  • Returned to WA about 1958.
  • Cause of death coronary occlusion, hypertension and myocardial infarction.

Hall Greenland, Red Hot: The Life & Times of Nick Origlass 1908–1996 (Sydney, 1998).

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Boxhorn, Joseph (Joe) (1888–1960)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Boxall, Joe

February, 1888
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


5 April, 1960 (aged 72)
Queens Park, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service
Political Activism