James Roche

Timber Merchant, Publican

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Redfern 1892 1900
Alderman Alexandria 1906 1913

Family background

James Roche was born on 28 March 1851 at Carrahan, County Clare, Ireland, the son of Michael Roche and Anne McNamara. He immigrated to Australia with his mother and four siblings on board the ship ‘Star of Brunswick’, which arrived at Sydney on 18 December 1865. He arrived as an assisted immigrant and was listed as a labourer. His mother was listed as a needleworker.

James Roche married Bridget Davoren (1856-1901) on 11 August 1880 at Sydney, NSW, and they had and they four sons and four daughters. The family lived at 45 Gibbens Street, Redfern and also at the pub they owned on Mitchell Road, and then at 114 Wilson Street, Newtown. Roche died at his Wilson Street residence on 17 August 1924, aged 73 years and he was buried the following day at Rookwood Cemetery in the Roman Catholic section. He left no Will.

Occupation & interests

Roche arrived in Sydney as a 14-year-old labourer. He subsequently worked as a timber merchant at 114 Wilson Street, Redfern (Newtown) and then as a publican from the early 1900s. He held the licence for the Park View Hotel, in Mitchell Road, Alexandria. In 1902 and 1910 he was fined for selling adulterated liquors.

In January 1902, Roche faced Redfern Court for selling watered down rum at his pub, the Parkview Hotel. He was fined 20 shillings, in addition to £1, six shillings and sixpence costs (instead of one month’s hard labour). The Parkview Hotel changed hands from Roche to a James T Egan in August 1910.

Community activity

In 1902 James Roche was appointed secretary of the Hibernian A B C Society, Erskineville Branch. He was a member of the Erskineville Park Trust.

Local government service

Roche was elected as an alderman of the Golden Grove Ward, Redfern Council on 8 February 1892, serving until 1900 when he lost his seat to John Macnamara, 293 votes to 242. A meeting was held in Roche’s Parkview Hotel in December 1901 to discuss the better representation of ratepayers in the local council. A committee was elected to deal with the issue, with James Roche as treasurer. He served as an alderman of Alexandria Council from 1906 to 1912, representing the South Ward.


‘The spirit was weak’, The Australian Star, 10 January 1902, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article229080364

‘Municipal Elections’, The Sunday Sun, 11 February 1906, p. 1, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/231874633

‘A page for business men’, The Sunday Sun, 14 August 1910, p.  14, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226885877

‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 1924, p. 7., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16176636



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