James Boag II was the son of James Boag I, a brewer, and his wife Janet Swan (1823-1880). He was born in Launceston in 1854, the year after his parents and four older siblings migrated from Paisley, Scotland. He married Elizabeth Edwards on 24 Nov 1880 at the Holy Trinity Church, Launceston. They had nine children between 1881 and 1897.
James was a brewer at Glenwright & Boag. In 1887, after his father retired, James II became the sole operator of the well-known Boag's Brewery business. He was president of the Newnham Racing Club, ABC Bowling Club, North Esk Rowing Club and North Launceston Football Club. He was also warden of the Launceston Marine Board and involved in the Launceston Artillery, Caledonian Society and Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps. He died on 5 Feb 1919 at a private hospital in Melbourne. His funeral left his late residence 'Strathesk', York Street, Launceston, for interment in the Scotch Cemetery. His wife and five of his children and sister Maria Maltman are also pictured in the Family Album. See The Examiner 14 Jan 2006, p. 27.