Major James McManamey was born and married in Glebe and taught at the Collegiate School on Glebe Point Road during the 1881-2 headmastership of Frederick Jackson*. He later trained as a barrister. Second in Command of the 19th Battalion 5th Infantry Brigade, McManamey was killed by shrapnel on 5 September 1915 while going to bathe on North Beach, just two weeks after landing on the peninsula. He was buried at Hill 60 cemetery. After participating in the last stages of an ill-fated attack on Hill 60, the 19th had carried on the routine work of extending and maintaining trenches, and dragging water and rations up the hillside. Its commander was William Mackenzie, like McManamey an ex-student of Sydney University Law School. (Mackenzie survived the war, dying in 1952.) When news of McManamey’s death reached Sydney several judges paid tribute to him from the Bench.
James McManamey was the oldest of six children born to William (18381909) and Jessie née Fraser (ca 18381919) who married in 1861. In January
1863 Irish-born dark-complexioned William, a labourer, joined the police force. Of ‘smart appearance’, he was sent to the Western District. Promoted to senior constable nine months later, he became a sergeant in 1870 and a senior sergeant in 1891. In 1865, while stationed at Pulpit Hill Bathurst, he testified at the inquest into the death of a teenage dray driver who, together with his horses, had been blown to pieces when his load of blasting powder exploded. For most of his working life William was stationed in the Bathurst – Forbes area. At the time of his death, at Woolwich on 12 August 1909, he was living on a police pension.
James, born on 9 February 1862, was educated privately at Wellington by J W Turner and a local doctor who taught him Modern Greek, at All Saints’ Bathurst, and at Sydney University where, a bursar, he graduated BA in 1881. He then taught at Frederick Jackson’s school in Glebe and, with A B Piddington, was one of the first masters at Sydney High School. After admission to the Bar in 1892 he built up a large legal practice and chaired several industrial arbitration boards. In 1903 he returned briefly to teaching, as Mathematics Master at Scots College, Bellevue Hill.
In university football James was a talented forward and captained the team; he went on to be president of the NSW Rugby Union. (After his death the Great Public Schools competed for the McManamey Shield.) James was also a keen member of the University Regiment, served for 20 years in the 1st Volunteer Australian Infantry Regiment and the 21st Infantry and commanded the 38th (Kogarah). After enlisting on 12 April 1915, he embarked for Egypt on the Ceramic on 25 June, and landed at Anzac Cove on 21 August, one of a close-knit rugby and legal fraternity. Other prominent footballers in his battalion were Glebe-born Sydney Albert Middleton, lawyer Francis Coen (killed in action in 1916), Leo Barclay Heath who graduated in Medicine after the war, Clarence Wallach who died of wounds in 1918, and Alick Buckley. McManamey was posthumously awarded the three standard World War 1 medals, and a memorial plaque and scroll, sent to his widow (Rose née Rurrock whom he had married in Glebe in 1895) in 1922. From 1916 Rose received a war pension of £157 pa. for herself and her two sons; John, born in 1899, and James (1902-57). The former became senior medical officer at Lidcombe Hospital.
*Frederick Jackson MA, an Oxford graduate and a friend of Professor Charles Badham, drifted into insanity and suicided in 1883 at the age of 44. He was found with his throat slit in his bedroom in Glenmore House on Glebe Point Road by his housekeeper Mrs Mary McGaughren.