John Royce


Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman Redfern 1859 1863
  • Redfern Council seal (Civic Collection 2006.032.7)

Family background

John Royce was born in 1819 in England to his sailor father, John Royce and mother Ann. He arrived in Sydney on 5 October 1841 as an assisted immigrant aboard the ‘William Turner’. In 1845, he married Mary Ann Clark in Sydney and they had six children. On 19 October 1863, Royce fell off a ladder onto the axe edge of a tomahawk while working on a house at Double Bay. He died from his injuries at his Chelsea Street Surry Hills home on 21 October. He had been in ‘severe pain’ before his death. An inquest found his death to be accidental.

Occupation & interests

Royce was listed as a wheelwright when he arrived in Sydney. He became a builder based in Chelsea Street, Surry Hills. According to one advertisement he worked ‘near the Boundary Stone Inn’. In another posting in the Empire newspaper, Royce advertised ‘a snug little verandah cottage’ for sale near the Boundary Stone Inn on Bourke Street, Surry Hills. The four-roomed house was ‘finished under the immediate superintendence of Mr Royce’ and ‘has a good well of water, is in a quiet and respectable neighbourhood, pleasantly situated’ and suited to a small family.

Local government service

Royce was elected as an alderman of the Surry Hills Ward, Redfern Council on 14 September 1859, serving until his death on 21 October 1863. He, however, almost lose his position on the council to William Blundell in 1861, until it was determined that Blundell had not paid rates, was thus not an elector of the municipality and therefore not qualified as a candidate.


‘Redfern Municipality’, Empire, 15 September 1859, p. 4,

‘Redfern Municipality’, Empire, 7 February 1861, p. 2,

‘Adelaide’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 1863, p. 4,

‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 1863,

‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 October 1932,

NSW, Australia, Registers of Coroners’ Inquests, 1821-1937, State Archives NSW; Series: 1391; Roll: 1783


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