James McManus II (1794-1839)

James McManus II was the son of First Fleeters James McManus I, a marine and member of the New South Wales Corp, and Jane Poole, a convict transported per Charlotte (1788). In adulthood, James became a decorated ‘Chief Constable,’ but during a period of mental illness and reputed alcoholism, James gruesomely murdered the St. John’s Church bell-ringer, an elderly man named Edward ‘Neddy’ Vallace. James McManus II committed suicide at the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum a decade after he committed his crime.


  • Son of James McManus I
  • Son of Jane McManus
  • Brother / Half-brother of Margaret Poole
  • Brother of Sarah McManus
  • Brother of John McManus
  • Half-brother of Martha Poole
  • Murderer of Edward Vallace

James McManus II: The Wrath of a Madman (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: At first glance, it would seem this child of two First Fleeters had taken after the right parent: the father, also named James McManus, who came to the colony as a free marine as opposed to the mother, Jane Poole, who came to New South Wales as a convict. However, James McManus the younger inherited more from James McManus the elder than his name and a predilection for positions of authority. Like his father, whose life seemed to be respectable only to take a turn for the worst and featured a suicide attempt, James McManus II went from being a decorated ‘Chief Constable’ and family man to a deranged axe-murderer and long-term resident of multiple ‘lunatic asylums’ whose erratic life came to a violent end. more>>


# Born in the colony

# Constable

# Murderer

# Suicide

# Burial year: 1839

# Grave: unmarked