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James Irving (1852–1910)

by L. G. Newton

This article was published:

This is a shared entry with James Washington Irving

James Irving (1852-1910) and James Washington Irving (1871-1948), veterinary surgeons, were father and son. James was born in 1852 at Rochdale, Lancashire, England, son of John Irving, draper, and his wife Sarah, née Holden. Educated at Collier's Proprietary School, Rochdale, and at Knaresborough Grammar School, Yorkshire, he was articled to a veterinary surgeon for two years, then studied at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College, Edinburgh, gaining his diploma in 1870. He was also awarded the veterinary art diploma of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. He opened a practice at Oldham, Lancashire, but, having married Charlotte Naomi Rothwell at Lancaster in 1868, soon entered a partnership with his brother-in-law J. P. Rothwell at Rochdale.

In 1873 Irving arrived in Brisbane and began to practise in the Logan district. The first qualified member of the profession to practise privately in Queensland, he frequently treated human patients unable to find a doctor. Settled in Brisbane from 1876 and appointed a government veterinary surgeon under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1881, he investigated a number of stock diseases, provided quarantine certificates for imported stock and served as veterinary surgeon to the postal department, the police force and the tramway company. As a major in the Queensland Defence Force and later a lieutenant-colonel, he supervised purchase of all horses used by Queenslanders in the South African War. He was honorary veterinary surgeon and a councillor of the National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland and of the Queensland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and was also president and patron of the Queensland Kennel Club and inspector of dairies for the City of Brisbane. An office-bearer of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (Queensland) for seventeen years, he was also a director of the Brisbane Permanent Building and Banking Co. Ltd. Survived by his wife, three daughters and a son, he died in Brisbane on 1 December 1910 of cirrhosis of the liver and was buried in Toowong cemetery with Congregational forms. His estate was valued for probate at £16,173.

James Washington was born on 18 October 1871 at Oldham, Lancashire, and educated at the Brisbane Normal School. He then went to Scotland and graduated at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College in 1893. Later that year he joined his father's practice and was associated with most of the same organizations as his father. He owned ponies and horses which he successfully exhibited in shows, and played polo.

Like his father, Irving was proud of his profession and at the meeting to form a professional veterinary body in Queensland on 11 June 1920 he was elected first president. In June 1924 he became one of the four Queensland councillors of the Australian Veterinary Association which absorbed the Queensland body. On 25 January 1911 in Brisbane he had married Edith Mary Thorpe Aulsebrook by whom he had one daughter. Soon after his retirement he died on 21 April 1948 and was cremated with Anglican rites. His estate, valued for probate at £65,617, was left to his family.

Select Bibliography

  • Alcazar Press, Queensland 1900 (Brisb, no date)
  • Queenslander, 24 Oct 1874.

Citation details

L. G. Newton, 'Irving, James (1852–1910)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 17 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Rochdale, Lancashire, England


1 December, 1910 (aged ~ 58)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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