James Davies

James Davies (1865-1931)


Location: CofE*T*78

Born at Daylesford, Victoria on 25 April 1865, the son of David Davies of Treforest, Wales and his wife Maria née Thomas. In 1881 he joined the Commercial Travellers’ Association of Victoria as a junior clerk to the first secretary G Griffiths; four years later he was appointed secretary, a position he occupied for over forty-five years until his death on 14 May 1931. 

Regarded as “the builder of the Association”, in 1914 Davies oversaw the construction of the Edwardian Baroque-style building at 318-28 Flinders Street Melbourne at a cost of £142,000; at the time of his death the CTA had some 6,000 members with assets of £500,000. He also took a leading part in uniting the various state associations by forming the United Commercial Travellers’ Association of Australia Ltd serving as first general secretary. During the First World War, Davies oversaw the CTA’s contribution to charitable work and was awarded an OBE (1921) in recognition of his patriotic efforts. As first secretary of the Amateur Billiards’ Association of Victoria, the champion Walter Lindrum (Melbourne General Cemetery) acknowledged Davies as an influence during his early days. 

A keen golfer and director of the Victoria Golf Club, Davies suffered a riding mishap at Warburton some years before his death which he never fully recovered from the injuries. He died at 3:00 am at this home after a long illness. Over 500 persons attended his gravesite funeral, among the mourners who paid tribute to Davies’s organising ability and business acumen were (Sir) Wiliam Angliss (Box Hill Cemetery), Robert Blackwood (Melbourne General Cemetery) and William McLelland (q.v.).

The Herald 14 May 1931.
The Sun News-Pictorial 15 May 1931.
The Age 15 & 16 May 1931.
The Argus 15 May 1931.