We know about John from the following sources:
1. Entries copied from the Bible of Rev George Augustus Eliott Marsh.
2. His diaries and letters; 1838 1840, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1847, 1847b 1848, 1851, 1859, 1873, 1884-85, 1888, 1889, 1889b. Lady Meek's diary and letters.
Various other family documents including Betty Harrison archive.
3. A mention in the book 'Rememberance of Times Past 1843-1850' by David Forbes.
4. A mention in the book 'Travellers in a Landscape' by Maurice French.
John and his sister Francis Marsh were orphaned at an early age and went to live with their maternal Aunt, Lady Meek in England. John Marsh, having been raised and educated by Lady Meek, went to Australia in 1840, and bought a property on the Darling Downs, near Warwick, which he named Clifton. It is now the "Land of the Leslies" and he then took up large holdings at Demondril in New South Wales. In 1847 he returned to England and married his first cousin Grace Pinnock. On there way back to Australia in 1848, their only child was born on board the ship "Walmar Castle" just north of Herd Island. This was George Augustus Milbourne Marsh (known as Millie). John Marsh and his wife settled in Demondril. His wife was an accomplished artist. Later they left the land and he became a Magistrate at Wellington, Bathurst and Sydney.
David Forbes's book 'In Rememberance of Times Past 1843-1850' mentions John Milbourne Marsh as having accompanied him to the Darling Downs Queensland where Forbes purchased Clifton run from one of the first settlers. And later after a trip to Sydney he writes 'On my arrival at Clifton I found my cousin Milbourne Marsh who had been left in charge by my brother (Francis Forbes).'
John is also mentioned in Maurice French's book 'Travellers in a Landscape', as being the young West Indian cousin of David Forbes. James Milbourne Marsh was manager for the Forbes at Clifton Station for a time. Probaly 1843 - post 1853 when a visiting English cleric remarked that on Mr Marsh's station one black was kept soley to track lost sheep.
Later on James Milbourne Marsh is noted as Police Magistrate for Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia, 1869-74, after which he took a post in Sydney. [Mitchell Library, Sydney, item no. ML MSS.1177]. He seems to be referred to as Milbourne rather than James.
He was known to the Miss Marsh Caldwells as his photograph was in their photo album, and dated 1883.
The following information has been given to me by Jill Morrison:
There is a very interesting story about John Augustus Milbourne Marsh and his brother in law George Foster Wise and Sir Henry Parkes who was the Premier of NSW. These 3 men all recieved 'The Order Of The Iron Cross Of Italy' by King Victor the 2nd of Italy in 1879. 2 yrs later Italy became a republic so no more medals were issued. They recieved this honour for their involvement in The Marquis de Ray [spelling??] failed expedition to re settle Italian families in lands of paradise in islands off Papua New Guinea, New Ireland. Unfortunately it was a disaster and many people died from starvation and disease. The survivors were eventually rescued and when in Sydney they were given temporary shelter in The Exhibition Building [which burnt down the following year] in Sydney. Eventually the families were given land to start again, up on the North Coast of NSW to an area which became known as New Italy. The re settlement was very successful and the families thrived and prospered. I am not sure of the exact role these men played [certainly it involved re establishing them and perhaps being involved in rescue organisation], but it must have been very major in order for them to recieve such an honour from the Italian King.
John Augustus Milbourne Marsh was also connected with Edward William Byrne. Milbourne sent him a portrait photo of himself (1888 with kind regards to Mr Byrne, J Milbourne Marsh). Edward William Byrne (born Ireland 1832 died Sydney 1919) was appointed as a Magistrate in NSW and married a girl from Bathurst by the name of Eliza Bulger/Bolger. She was the daughter of Jane Flanagan and niece of Roderick Flanagan ( author, poet and journalist ) and Edward Flanagan ( book publisher ) and both Roderick and Edward were associates of Henry Parkes.