After emigrating to Australia as a young man and failing in an attempt at becoming a pastorlist on the Hunter river, Charles de Boos launched a journalistic career in Sydney with The Sydney Monitorand subsequently The Sydney Gazette. In 1851 he went to Melbourne and was commissioned by The Argusto write on the Victorian goldfields, later becoming a shorthand writer for the Victorian Legislative Council. In 1856 he returned to Sydney and began a long and distinguished career as parliamentary reporter for TheSydney Morning Herald. He continued to visit and report on goldfields, and in 1862 would bring together the somewhat disparate worlds of prospectors and parliamentarians with the creation of the writing persona 'Mr. John Smith', a countryman who narrated parliamentary scenes in a colloquial language termed 'Strine'.
De Boos' knowledge of the goldfields, amply documented through his journalism, was also displayed when he gave evidence to royal commission on the mines in 1870, which in turn lead to his appointment in 1875 as a mining warden and magistrate in the Riverina district of New South Wales. Some controversy clouded his tenure as a warden, and he retired in 1889. In his retirement he returned to writing, publishing several short stories.