John Robert Marsden was born in Lismore, the eldest son of Guy and Tibby Marsden who became very prominent citizens of the Campbelltown Community. After attending the Catholic Parish School in Cabramatta, and the St Johns Preparatory Boarding School in Campbelltown, he received his secondary education at St. Josephs College, Hunters Hill and De La Salle College Armidale.
John graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Sydney in 1966 and in February 1967 he was admitted as a Solicitor. He graduated with a Master of Law degree from the University of Sydney in 1974.
John commenced his career as a law clerk with Sillar and Madison Solicitors in Bond Street Sydney in 1965. After a short stint as a solicitor with Harold E. Morgan and Sons, John opened his own practice in Campbelltown in 1966, and through unrelenting entrepreneurship he grew his business to be the largest suburban practice in Metropolitan Sydney. At the time of John’s death the Marsden’s Law Group had 11 partners, and employed over 130 people in offices at Campbelltown, Ingleburn, Sydney, Liverpool, Camden and Parramatta.
In 1972, John stood for Parliament for the State seat of Campbelltown. John held many positions in the legal profession, including the President of the Law Society of New South Wales between 1991-1993. He was also instrumental in establishing the Macarthur Division of Law Society.
John was a strong advocate of civil rights and was elected the State President of the Council for Civil Liberties from 1984-1986 and from 1993-1997. John was heavily involved in community work in his beloved City of Campbelltown and contributed significantly towards arts and sports in the Macarthur region. He was instrumental in the formation of the Campbelltown Swimming Club, he was Chairman of the Art Gallery Management Committee for the Campbelltown Bicentennial Art Centre and then Chairman of the Cultural Precinct Committee following the completion of the Campbelltown Arts Centre.
John was instrumental in lobbying strongly for Government funding for the Arts Centre, which is now regarded as the best regional facility for the celebration of the Arts and Culture in NSW.
John was appointed to a number of Government bodies, including the NSW Anti Discrimination Board and the Police Board of New South Wales.
He was awarded AM in the Queens Birthday Honours List in 1994 for services to law and the community. In 2002 he received a Gold Medal Award for services to the RSL Movement. John was a strong advocate for many causes particularly for the City of Campbelltown, the Macarthur Region and members of its Community.