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James John Morrish (1868–1956)

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James Moorish, n.d.

James Moorish, n.d.

James John Morrish (1868-1956) shepherd, barman, trade union official, politician and farmer 

Birth: 20 January 1868 at Carmarthen, South Wales, son of Francis Thomas Morrish (1844-1896), master butcher, and Margaret, née Morgan (b.1843). Marriages: (1) 1901 at Sydney, New South Wales, to Violet Ellen Hayward (1876-1921). They had one son. (2) 1921 at Parramatta, New South Wales, to a native-born divorcée Vivienne Margaret, née Clerke, late Gerrand (1872-1938). Death: 10 October 1956 at Hurstville, NSW. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Described as a shepherd when he arrived in NSW as an assisted immigrant aboard the SS Florida on 6 December 1885. Held various hotel jobs in NSW and other colonies.
  • Helped found the Hotel, Club, Restaurant and Caterers’ Employees’ Union in 1900, advocating industrial unionism over craft organisation. Helped to reorganise the union in 1907, becoming union secretary.
  • Joined Political Labor League. Contested Waterloo for the Australian Labor Party in 1901 and Mudgee 1907.
  • Member Socialist Labor Party. Closely associated with Harry Holland in short-lived Social Democratic Federation, which he co-founded in December 1906. Broke with Holland over latter’s support for lockout of Sydney Coal Lumpers’ Union 1907.
  • Member NSW Labor Party Central Executive 1907-11 and 1913-16. Director Sydney Hospital 1911-20. Appointed justice of the peace in 1914.
  • Elected member of the Legislative Assembly for King on 14 October 1910. Member State Children Relief Board 1915. Member Public Works Committee 1916-17. Expelled from Labor Party over his support for conscription in November 1916. Joined Nationalist Party. Defeated 21 February 1917.
  • After defeat, employed by Chamber of Manufactures. Subsequently was a farmer. Contested seat of Botany in 1920 and St George in 1927 for the Nationalist Party.
  • Charged with conspiracy to defraud in February 1925. Jury found Morrish not guilty. Bankrupt 1927; discharged 1928.
  • Later occupations described as agent or commercial traveller.

Heather Radi, Peter Spearritt & Elizabeth Hinton, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament 1901-1970 (Canberra, 1979); Co-operator, 7 October 1912.

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'Morrish, James John (1868–1956)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

James Moorish, n.d.

James Moorish, n.d.

Life Summary [details]


20 January, 1868
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales


10 October, 1956 (aged 88)
Hurstville, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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