Garvan was born in Cappagh, County Limerick, Ireland, son of Denis Bourke and Anne, nee Culhane. Garvan founded the North Shore Steam Ferry Co. Ltd., the City Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Ltd and the City Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd. Garvan represented Eden in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He was Minister of Justice in the Jennings ministry from February 1886 to January 1887, and Colonial Treasurer in the second Dibbs ministry from January to March 1889.
- "James Patrick Garvan". New South Wales Government. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
- Nairn, Bede. "Garvan, James Patrick (1843–1896)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 28 September 2012 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
- Mennell, Philip (1892). . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.
- "Mr James Patrick Garvan (1843-1896)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
|New South Wales Legislative Assembly|
| Member for Eden
Served alongside: Henry Clarke