James Murphy

Coal And Lime Merchant, Plasterer

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1857 1860
Mayor City of Sydney 1860 1860

Family background

James Murphy was born in 1801 in Pembrokeshire, Wales, son of John and Sarah Murphy. When he died in 1883, he left behind a widow and three children.

Occupation & interests

James Murphy arrived in Sydney with his family on the Sir Edward Paget on 14 February 1842. He was associated with Dr Ludwig Leichhardt and his son (or brother?) John (1829-70) joined the overland expedition from Brisbane to Port Essington, Northern Territory, led by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844-45 when he was 15 years old. James Murphy became a lime and coal merchant with a wharf at the foot of Liverpool. His private residence was Cambrian Lodge on Elizabeth Street (Strawberry Hills); the site was later used as marble yard by Anthony Hordern. James Murphy was also associated with the Carcoar area of NSW, possibly due to his mining interests.

In February 1844 James Murphy, plasterer of Elizabeth Street South, dissolved his partnership with James O’Brien; he later went into partnership with James Bradly. In June 1844 a James Murphy signed a petition to the mayor asking him to convene a meeting of Roman Catholics. By 1862 in a council contract for Haymarket sewerage works, James Murphy was described as a gentleman of Elizabeth Street.

Parliamentary service

James Murphy was elected member of the Legislative Council on 13 May 1861 but did not take his seat.

Local government service

James Murphy was elected Alderman for Cook Ward, 11 April 1857 to 30 November 1860, as an unflinching supporter of reform. Murphy was elected Mayor in 1860.

There was another Murphy (first name not known) who was alderman for Denison Ward for a total of eight years, being elected in December 1865, 1867, 1879 and December 1871 to 30 November 1873. It has not been determined that this was James Murphy.


City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files

Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW: Manuscripts Holt Family Papers ML MSS 2170 ADD-ON 2030/21; Murphy Papers ML MSS 1466; ML MSS 2193

‘Murphy, James (1801–1883)’, Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/murphy-james-17130/text28952, accessed 10 November 2016.

‘Original Correspondence’, Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer 18 June 1859, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59870738

‘Law Supreme Court – Wednesday’, The Sydney Morning Herald 7 August 1862, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13232390

Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle 4 March 1865, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65463138

‘City Municipal Council’, Freeman’s Journal 3 October 1868, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115432653

Australian Town and Country Journal 16 June 1883, p. 14 http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/71000538

‘Latest News’, The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser 16 June 1883, p. 1138 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162079364

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


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