John Roseby

Monumental Mason, Sculptor

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1870 1872

Family background

John Roseby was baptised on 29 November 1835 at Stanhope, County Durham, England, the eldest son of Thomas Roseby (d.1867), stonemason and itinerant preacher, and his wife Ann, née Lowes. On 18 July 1860 at Glebe NSW, he married Ann (d.1904, aged 66), the daughter of shoemaker James Hooworth, and the first president of the Australasian Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Her sister Sarah married his brother the Reverend Dr Thomas Roseby in 1871. John Roseby died on 22 April 1898 in Sydney, survived by six sons and three daughters, and was buried in the Wesleyan section of Rookwood Cemetery. His eldest son, Thomas J Roseby, was the first secretary of Sydney’s Water and Sewerage Board.

Occupation & interests

John Roseby arrived in Sydney with his family in 1841. He became a monumental mason and by 1858 was established as a marble worker at 781 George Street. In 1867 he was a monumental mason at 805 George Street. In 1871 he was a sculptor of 805 George Street with a private residence at 69 Botany Road Redfern. In 1885, John Roseby JP was a monumental mason of 805 George St, St Thomas Street Waverley, and Church Street Rookwood, with a private residence at Livingstone Street, Marrickville. Also in 1885, he became bankrupt and was discharged in 1897. In 1895, he was in Wallace Street, Marrickville. On his sequestration order of 16 May 1885, he is described as a Marrickville sculptor.

Community activity

Roseby was commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1871. He was closely associated with charitable agencies such as the Benevolent Society of New South Wales and was Director from 1876 to 1898. He was also a Director of the Destitute Children’s Asylum in Randwick and a trustee and custodian of the City Night Refuge and Soup Kitchen. He represented New South Wales at the 1890 Australasian Conference on Charity in Melbourne and was elected a public charities representative on the Metropolitan Charities Association. In 1896 Roseby was a member of the Old-Age Pensions League. In 1874 he was a member of the Public School League and later supported the Bible in Schools League. He was active in the Protestant Political Association from 1868 to 1872 and a supporter of the Loyal Orange Institution, becoming Deputy Grand Master in 1870. Like his parents, brother, and wife, he was a devout Wesleyan and a strong temperance advocate who hated the ‘cursed drink’.

Parliamentary service

He twice represented Shoalhaven in the Legislative Assembly from 31 October 1877 to 23 November 1882.

Local government service

Roseby was Alderman of the Sydney City Council for Cook Ward, 1 December 1870 to 1 December 1872. He became a magistrate in 1871.


Walter Phillips, ‘Roseby, John (1835–1898)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 11 December 2012.

Parliament of New South Wales, Former Members, Mr John Roseby

Society of Australian Genealogists: Rookwood index

State Records of NSW: Insolvency index



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