Shadrach James, the eldest son of Thomas Shadrach James and Ada Cooper (one of William Cooper’s sisters), was born on Cumeroogunga. He was taught by his father in the school there, and later became an assistant teacher in the school on the reserve but an attack on his work by a government official and the local committee of the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board prompted him to resign.

Sometime after his father retired as the school’s principal teacher in 1922, the two men and their families moved to the inner Melbourne working-class suburb of Fitzroy for several years, where a small number of their kith and kin would gather sometimes to talk politics.

In 1929-30 James raised his voice on behalf of Aboriginal people by speaking to missionary organisations, writing to a federal minister, and making appeals to the labour movement. There were marked similarities between his political work and that of his uncle a few years later. Most of his protest, like in Cooper’s case, was informed by his own experience, or that of his family and kin, at Maloga and Cumeroogunga, and his connections to the union movement.

James was also influenced by his father’s ongoing connections to India, Mauritius and the Indian diaspora and thus to the anti-colonial struggle in India and the campaigns against indentured labour in other British colonies, such as Fiji.

For more biographical information, see George E. Nelson, ‘James, Thomas Shadrach (1859–1946)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996