John Rowland Dacey was born on the 1 June 1854 in Cork, Ireland, the son of Thomas Dacey and Margaret Jamson. After his father died, he and his mother immigrated to Kyneton, Victoria in 1858. He was adopted by a Dr Smith in 1859 after his mother died. Dacey married Martha Ellen Douglass (1863-1933) on the 27 July 1878 at Horsham, Victoria, and they had four sons and six daughters. John Dacey died at Sydney on the 11 April 1912, aged 57 years; he was buried in the Catholic section of Botany Cemetery. He left a Will and his estate and assets were assessed at £413.Dacey lived in Botany Road, Waterloo.
Occupation & interests
In 1883 John Dacey worked as a coachmaker and established Dacey & Co. in Alexandria, Sydney. By 1901 he was helping to organise the Wool and Basil Workers Federation of Australia in Sydney and served as the Union’s Secretary until his death. Dacey began his involvement in state politics as the Returning Officer for the district of Redfern from 1889 to 1891. He joined the Redfern Labor Electoral League, the local branch of the Labor Electoral League of NSW, in 1891, but was defeated for pre-selection by James McGowen, who would later serve as Premier and appoint Dacey to the cabinet.
John Dacey was a Justice of the Peace (JP). He was foundation Secretary of the Wool and Basil Workers’ Union 1901-12. He was Trustee of Cook’s Landing Place, Kurnell, and associated with the model suburb, Daceyville, Sydney.
John Rowland Dacey campaigned for the district of Botany in 1894 and lost to the free trade supporter William Stephen. He was successful in the 1895 election, defeating Stephen for the seat. In the 1904 state election, Dacey was elected to the new seat of Alexandria following an electoral redistribution. He was the MLA for Botany 1895-1904 and the MLA for Alexandria 1904-12. He was the NSW State Treasurer 1911-12.
Local government service
Dacey was an alderman on Alexandria Council 1886-96 representing the Beaconsfield Ward. He served as mayor 1888-89.
‘General News’, Evening News, 12 July 1886, p. 4, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/107290394
‘Death of a democrat’, Freeman’s Journal, 18 April 1912, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111087383