Stephen Joyce was born in December 1856 at Monroe, Parish of Lackagh, to William Joyce and Mary Glynn. He and his brother Richard migrated to Australia, probably in the late 1870s, and Stephen became a constable at Blackheath in New South Wales in 1881. He married Ellen Crane in 1885 at Wellington NSW. They had six children: Mary, William, Muriel, Cecil, Kathleen and Oliver. He moved around from Blackheath to Wallerawang, Mudgee and Gulgong, and came back to Blackheath in about 1900, at which stage he was a first-class constable.
In August 1903, he was called from his bed to a disturbance in Blackheath, and developed a severe chill which developed pneumonia, from which he succumbed three days later. Obituaries were carried by many of the local papers. The Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative of 17 August 1903 stated that "Before the Blackheath Police Court opened on Thursday, Senior-constable McDowell made kindly reference to the death of his fellow officer, and Mr. F. Wilshire, P.M., expressed the regret he felt at the loss sustained by the death of the constable." The same paper reported three days later that the funeral took place at Katoomba, with a procession led by four mounted troopers.
Sydney's Catholic Press (20/08/1903) stated that "he was greatly esteemed by all classes throughout the parish, and his loss will be very much felt, in particular, by the Catholics of Blackheath, where he took the kindest and most practical interest in Church matters. The erection of the Church of the Sacred Heart in Blackheath was due in no little way to Mr. Joyce's efforts." Katoomba's Blue Mountain Gazette (21/08/1903) also carried a report of the funeral: "From his late residence the deceased was carried to the church by twelve of his brother Oddfellows in relays of four. On arriving at the church, the Rev. Father Bridge conducted an impressive service, reference being made to deceased's deep sense of duty to God and man; his demise being brought about by his regard for duty. At the conclusion of the service the body was carried by the Oddfellows to the Blackheath Cemetery, where fully 100 friends of deceased had assembled. Father Bridge conducted a short service at the graveside."