Sinclair, James Alexander

Personal Details

First nameJames
Middle nameAlexander
Place of birthBallarat, Victoria
Date of death26/08/1925
Age at death56 years


Son of Peter Sinclair & Katharine Eddington

Husband of Johanna Elizabeth Norton m.30/12/1906.
Johanna was the daughter of Archibald Creek Norton and Elizabeth Fraser. She died in 1953 [Qld Ref: C1233]

James Alexander Sinclair was my grandfather’s first cousin. Both families were from the Edinburgh area of Scotland, and each family arrived in December 1852 although on different ships.

James was the son of Peter Sinclair and Katharine (Eddington) Sinclair, who arrived in Melbourne on the “Atrevida” in December 1852. They took up residence in Gertrude St., Collingwood. They had one daughter, Elizabeth aged one year, with them and further children were then born and died in the Ballarat area. James was born in Ballarat.

Peter Sinclair’s first cousin, Walter Finlay then aged 16 years, arrived in Melbourne a few days later on the ”Koh I Noor”. He arrived alone and unassisted and went to live with the Sinclairs in Collingwood. Peter Sinclair’s mother was Mary Murray who had married Francis Sinclair, a plasterer in Edinburgh. Walter Finlay was the son of Alison Murray (Mary’s sister) and Walter Finlay, a baker in Edinburgh.

It seems that, although Walter Finlay was already a qualified Joiner, both he and the Sinclairs went to the gold fields in and around Ballarat, probably Mt. Blackwood/Myrniong. There appears to be children born to the Sinclairs in this area and some are buried in the local cemetery. Little is known of this history. It appears the Sinclairs returned to Melbourne. I have found Peter Sinclair’s grave there so it seems they spent the rest of their lives in and around Melbourne.

Walter Finlay then moved to the Albury area where he married and later moved to firstly Purlewaugh and then finally to Gunnedah. He had a large family of some 14 children. Whilst I have not been able to find any confirmation thus far it appears that James Sinclair may have joined the Finlays in and around Gunnedah where he would have learnt his trade as a wool classer. I think the fact the Finlay family used the name of “Sinclair” as a Christian name for a few generations, plus the existence of the photo of James in the family album probably confirms this relationship, which continued until James moved north ending in Muttaburra.

Although James Sinclair married and lived with his wife in Muttaburra it appears they had no children.

Source: Kevin Finlay, Gosford NSW – Kevin Finlay <>

Cemetery Record

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Grave number107
AddressSword Street
OccupationWool Classer
Date of funeral27/08/1925

Died from Coronary thrombosis

The Longreach Leader Friday 28 August 1925
Mr. James Sinclair, a well-known wool classer and one of the oldest identities of the Muttaburra district, had a seizure while classing wool at Culloden yesterday and expired almost immediately. Mr. Sinclair was in his usual state of health when work commenced yesterday morning but about 11.30 a.m. was taken with a seizure and passed away. Deceased was highly esteemed throughout this district, and the funeral this afternoon was the largest seen in Muttaburra, a very large number attending to pay their last respects.
[Source: Muttaburra. (1925, August 28). The Longreach Leader (Qld. : 1923 – 1954), p. 11. Retrieved September 12, 2013, from]