Family background

John Lane Mullins was born in Sydney on 4 June 1857, the second son of Irish-born clerk James Mullins and his wife Eliza, née Lane. On 14 April 1885 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, he married Jane Mary Frances (d.1926), daughter of John Hughes of Kincoppal, Elizabeth Bay, and his wife Susan, née Sharkey, and sister of the first Lord Mayor Sir Thomas Hughes. He died at Elizabeth Bay on 24 February 1939, survived by four daughters, and was buried in South Head Cemetery.

Occupation & interests

John Mullins was educated at St Mary’s Benedictine College, Lyndhurst, and the University of Sydney (BA, 1876, MA, 1879). He was articled to RB Smith in 1876 and admitted as a solicitor in 1885. His father’s real estate investments provided him with a private income. He was a solicitor for the Catholic Press in 1895. In 1930 he was admitted to the Bar.

Community activity

John Mullins helped form the NSW Irish Rifle Regiment in 1896 and he was captain in 1898. He was a prominent Catholic layman. Mullins was Privy Chamberlain to Pope Pius and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of St Gregory the Great in 1920. He was Treasurer of the St. Mary’s Cathedral Building Fund from 1879, a Director of St. Joseph’s Building and Investment Society, a supporter of the St. Vincent de Paul organisation in Australia, and Secretary, later Treasurer, of St. Vincent’s Hospital. He was also noted as a patron of the arts and founded the Australian Ex-Libris Society and the Australian Limited Editions Society. He served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Society of Artists, Sydney 1907–39, and from 1916 was a Trustee of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales and its President in 1938–39. He was an active supporter of the local Numismatic and Philatelic Societies and the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Parliamentary service

Mullins was appointed member of the Legislative Council from 17 July 1917 to 22 April 1934.

Local government service

John Lane Mullins was Alderman for Bligh Ward, 7 December 1900 to 30 November 1904 and 17 May 1906 to 1 December 1912 when he went to England and did not stand for re-election. He was a member of the Finance Committee, 1901-04 and 1909-11, the Health Committee, 1901-02, the Parliamentary and By-Laws Committee, 1901-03, the Electric Lighting Committee, 1902, 1904, 1906-11, the Parks and Recreation Committee in 1903, the Health and By-Laws Committee, 1906-11, the Fruit and Vegetable Markets Committee in 1907, and the Queen Victoria Market Buildings Special Committee, 1910-11.


Mark Lyons, ‘Mullins, John Lane (1857–1939)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 December 2012.

City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files; Photo: CRS 54/366

Cyclopedia of NSW 1907, McCarron Stewart & Co, Sydney.

Daily Telegraph 21 November 1912

Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW: PXA 784; ZP*1

Parliament of New South Wales, Former Member Mr John Lane Mullins

Who’s Who in Australia 1927-8, 1938



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