James Gormly, his parents and five children arrived at Sydney, in 1840, as bounty immigrants. James had little education but helped to tend his father's stock and became expert in bushcraft. In the 1852 flood at Gundagai all the Gormlys were drowned except James and his brother Thomas.
In 1875 he was foundation president of the Wagga Wagga Free Selectors' Association. In 1883-86 he served on the Wagga Wagga City Council and was twice mayor in 1884-85. In the Legislative Assembly he represented the Murrumbidgee in 1885-94 and Wagga Wagga in 1894-1904 and was a member of the Legislative Council in 1904 until his death in 22.
More information can be found in the Gormly Family papers. See the online Finding Aid for the family prepared by the Staff of Charles Sturt University Archives.