James Merriman

Shipowner, Publican

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1867 1883
Mayor City of Sydney 1873 1873
Mayor City of Sydney 1877 1878

Family background

James Merriman was born on 23 October 1816 at Parramatta, son of George Merriman/Merryman and Mary, both convicts. He married Ann Thompson (d.1887, aged 65) on 17 May 1843 at St Andrews Sydney. He died on 13 May 1883 at his Argyle Street home, survived by two sons and three daughters, and was buried in the old Church of England section of Rookwood Cemetery.

Occupation & interests

Orphaned at an early age, Merriman lodged with Joseph George Raphael {Joseph George Raphael:347} and was indentured as a cooper. He practised his trade while serving four years in a whaler. On his return to Sydney about 1850 he became the licensee of the Whalers Arms at Millers Point, the Grafton Hotel, and the Gladstone Hotel. He went into business with William Andrews {William Andrews:6} and opened up regular shipping services between Sydney and New Zealand from 1852. In the mid 1800s, he was a founder of beche-de-mer and pearl shell industries in the Torres Strait. By 1869 his son William had joined him and he owned the Telegraph, Metaris, and the Blue Bell. He built the steamship Pearl in 1875. He lived at Osborne House, Argyle Place. His son George (d.1893) became City Solicitor and a Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Community activity

Merriman was a Commissioner of the 1879 Sydney International Exhibition, and Treasurer of the Indian Famine Relief Fund in 1879. He was a Trustee of Hyde, Phillip and Cook Parks, and a Transport commissioner.

Parliamentary service

Merriman was elected as a free trader to the Legislative Assembly for West Sydney, 1877-80, and advocated reform of the land law and extension of the railways.

Local government service

James Merriman was Alderman of the Sydney City Council for Gipps Ward, 25 October 1867 until 13 May 1883. He was Mayor in 1873, 1877 and 1878.


Information on James Merriman and the Merriman (Merryman) family courtesy of Bethany Still.

G. J. Abbott, ‘Merriman, James (1816–1883)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/merriman-james-4190/text6739, accessed 17 December 2012.

Australian Men of Mark 1889, Charles F Maxwell, Sydney

City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files; Photos: CRS 54/500; 54/510; 54/541; and 80/269; CRS 51/4825, Demolition books, 1900-1949

Martin, A W & Wardle, P 1959, Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, ANU

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 April 2018), November 1809, trial of GEORGE MERRYMAN (t18091101-65).

Parliament of New South Wales, Former Members, Mr James Merriman

Society of Australian Genealogists: Rookwood Index

‘Mr. James Merriman’s Funeral’, Evening News, 16 May 1883, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111028291


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