James Inglis (politician)

James Inglis (24 November 1845 – 15 October 1908) was a tea merchant, writer and politician in colonial New South Wales.[1][2][3]

Inglis was the son of Rev. Robert Inglis, M.A., by his marriage with Helen Brand, was born at Edzell, Forfarshire, Scotland, and educated at University of Edinburgh.[1] He visited New Zealand in 1864, went to India at the end of 1866, and to Australia after extensive travel and work in India and the East, in search of health. At the end of 1877 he saw considerable official service in India; was Famine Commissioner in Bhangulpore in 1875, and Executive Commissioner for the Government of India to the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880–81.[1]

Having settled in New South Wales, he was returned to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for New England in 1885, and was Minister of Public Instruction in the Parkes ministry (1887–1889) from January 1887 to January 1889.[1]

"Waltzing Matilda"Edit

His company James Inglis & Co marketed the brand Billy Tea, to advertise which Banjo Paterson's song Waltzing Matilda was adapted to words and music which were very popular and came to be known as Australia's "unofficial national anthem".[4][3][5]


Inglis wrote to the press under the signature "Maori," and, in 1879, served as editor of the Newcastle Morning Herald. His books included:

  • "Tirhoot Rhymes"
  • "Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier" (Macmillan & Co., London, 1880)
  • "Our Australian Cousins" (Macmillan, 1882)
  • "Our New Zealand Cousins" (Sampson Low & Co., London, 1886)
  • "Tent Life in Tiger Land" (Sampson Low, 1888)
  • "Our Ain Folk"
  • "The Humor of the Scot"

Private lifeEdit

Inglis married Mary Nichol in Sydney in October 1879. She died in 1903.[3] On 13 December 1905 he married Ethel Kate Mason, née Macpherson, who survived him. There were no children from either marriage.[3]

Inglis died in Strathfield, Sydney, of kidney disease on 15 October 1908[6] and was buried in the Presbyterian section of Rookwood cemetery.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Mennell, Philip (1892). "Inglis, James" . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ "Mr James Inglis". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Rutledge, Martha. "Inglis, James (1845–1908)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 30 August 2018 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  4. ^ "Who'll Come A Waltzing Matilda With Me?". National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  5. ^ Pemberton, Greg. "Waltzing Matilda's origins and chain of ownership murky." The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2018
  6. ^ "Mr. James Inglis, ex-M.L A." Evening News (12, 902). New South Wales, Australia. 15 October 1908. p. 5. Retrieved 30 August 2018 – via Trove.

External linksEdit

New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
James Farnell
Member for New England
Served alongside: Proctor/Copeland, none/Lonsdale