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Booth, John James (1831–1914)

The death occurred yesterday, at his residence at Moore Park, of ex-Alderman John Booth, a gentleman who, at one time, figured prominently in the public life of the city, though for some years past, owing to advancing years and declining health, he had been obliged to disassociate himself wholly from public work. He was the father of the Lady Mayoress (Mrs. R. W. Richards)

The late Mr. Booth was born at Long Sutton, in Lincolnshire, on August 4, 1831, and was thus in his 83rd year. He came to Australia with his parents in the sailing ship 'Diana', which arrived in Sydney on June 15, 1849, and settled in the Shoalhaven district, where the family followed farming pursuits, When he reached manhood the late Mr. Booth took up land in the Ulladulla district, and was one of those who founded the township of Milton. The story as to the naming of this town has several times appeared in print. According to it, in the midst of the discussion as to the most suitable name to apply, Mr. Booth caught sight of a volume of Milton's "Paradise Lost," and exclaimed: "Name it after this, great poet!" That suggestion was forthwith adopted. He continued in business as a storekeeper at Milton till 1861, when he moved to Sydney, and established himself as a produce merchant in Sussex-street: Upon his retirement from business in 1900, he was presented with an illuminated address from the leading merchants in that quarter of the city, in appreciation of his general urbanity, and the value of his character.

Deceased was a prominent Mason, and a past district senior grand deacon and junior warden of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales. From 1895 till 1902 he was an alderman of the City Council, sitting for Brisbane (now Lang) Ward. Though he never stood for Parliament, he took a very active part in politics, and was a potent factor in several of the metropolitan electorates, particularly the West Sydney. It was Mr. Booth who induced the late Mr. Daniel O'Connor to enter Parliamentary life. At the time of his death he was chairman of directors of the Equitable Permanent Building Land and Savings Institution.

Mr. Booth's wife pre-deceased him about four years ago. Two brothers–Mr. Joseph Booth and Mr. Thomas Booth–and a sister–Mrs. John Garrard, of Milton–survive him. He leaves a family of four daughters and two sons, the daughters being Mrs Sam Hordern, senr., Mrs. J. J. Booth, of Balmain, Mrs. R. W. Richards (the Lady Mayoress of Sydney), Mrs. L. A. Woolf of Perth (W.A.). The sons are Mr. J. Felix Booth and Mr. Percy S. Booth. Among the grandsons are Messrs. Samuel, Anthony, and Lebbeus Hordern.

The flags at the Town Hall were flown at halt-mast yesterday as a tribute of respect to the memory of deceased.

The funeral will take place today, leaving the residence at 12.45 for Rookwood.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 May 1914, p 26

Citation details

'Booth, John James (1831–1914)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/booth-john-james-19667/text30986, accessed 20 June 2019.

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