Joseph McMullen Dargaville was born in Cork, Ireland, the son of Anderson Dargaville, a physician, and his wife, Eliza McMullen. He was descended from Huguenots, who had fled to Ireland to escape persecution. He was baptised on 27 June 1837 and presumed to have been born earlier that same year. He attended Fermoy College.
Dargaville emigrated with his brothers to Victoria. In early 1859 he relocated again, this time to Sydney, where he obtained a clerking job with Union Bank of Australia at a salary of £100 per annum. From 1860-66 he worked in several branches of the bank in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.
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He contested the Bay of Islands electorate again in the 1893 election against two others (Houston and Trownson) and again came last. He founded the Northland town of Dargaville, named for him. He was a prominent businessman and timber merchant there.
- Mogford, Janice C. (22 June 2007). "Dargaville, Joseph McMullen". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington, NZ: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 192. OCLC 154283103.
- "The General Election, 1887". National Library. 1887. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "The General Election, 1893". National Library. 1894. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 25 February 2012.