James Darcy Freeman was born in Sydney 19 November 1907 to Robert Freeman and Margaret Smith.
He was educated at the Sisters of Charity, Elizabeth Bay, and Christian Brothers' School, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. He attended Seminary at St Columba's, Springwood and St Patrick's, Manly.
He was ordained on 13 July 1930 by Archbishop Bartolomeo Cattaneo. He served as an Assistant Priest at Grafton & Murwillumbah (Lismore Diocese); Strathfield, Mosman and St Mary's Cathedral.
He was the Private Secretary to the Cardinal Archbishop, and Chaplain to the Christian Brothers', Strathfield. He also served as Administrator of Haymarket Parish, and Parish Priest of Stanmore.
Elected Bishop of Hermopolis In Partibus Infidelium and auxiliary of Sydney on 9 December 1956. He was consecrated on 24 January 1957 at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney by Cardinal Gilroy. Translated to Armidale as Bishop 18 October 1969. He was promoted to Archbishop of Sydney on 9 July 1971.
He was made Cardinal Priest of the Title of Our Lady Queen of Peace of Ostia on 5 March 1973.
Created Knight Commander of the British Empire 1977.
Resigned on 12 February 1983.
Cardinal Freeman died on 16 March 1991.