A recent acquisition to the John Oxley Library is the personal papers and photographs of three generations of the Garland Family of Tarragindi who were a prominent Brisbane family. The treasures were unearthed when the last surviving member of the family relocated to a nursing home. Fortunately those clearing out the house recognized the significance of the material being uncovered and contacted State Library.
The collection includes the correspondence, papers and photographs of Canon David Garland (1864-1939). Canon Garland was born in Ireland in 1864 before migrating with his family to New South Wales. In 1889 he joined the Church of England ministry serving in Grafton and Perth. In 1902 he became rector of Charters Towers before becoming rector of Ithaca in Brisbane. He served in 1918-19 as a chaplain in the Middle East where he founded eight clubs for Australian troops. He has also been described as the architect of Anzac Day, initiating many important aspects of the ceremony including the Anzac Day march, wreath- laying and the two minutes silence.
Canon Garland and his wife Mary had one child, a son named David James Garland, born in Perth in 1896. David James was educated at Wellington College, New Zealand, and graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1922. In that same year he married Beatrice Florence Monteath and built the family home “Ripponlea” at 50 Tarragindi Road, Tarragindi. The collection includes the original plans and specifications for the house as well as a real estate map of the original subdivision of the land. During World War I David James Garland served with the Australian Wireless squadron in Mesopotamia and during WWII served with the Royal Australian Engineers at Australian Headquarters in Melbourne.
David James Garland during WWI
After World War I he joined the Main Roads Department of Queensland as an engineer rising steadily through the ranks until he reached the position of Chief Engineer in 1953 until his retirement in 1961. From 1945-49 he was Foundation and Sub-Structure Engineer for the Burdekin River Bridge, visiting India in 1946 to investigate the problems associated with the erection of bridges over wide sandy river beds. The collection includes his reports and correspondence from this time as well as photographs of bridge projects with which he was involved. In 1962 he was awarded the M.B.E. for outstanding service to the State. David James Garland died in 1970 after many years of ill health.
David James Garland and his wife Beatrice had one child, David Kelvin Garland, who was born in Brisbane in 1927. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Queensland in 1951 and worked for the Queensland Electricity Commission until his retirement in 1987. David Kelvin never married, a fact lamented by his parents in several letters in the collection.
All of the family were great correspondents and their letters provide a rich picture of the social and political life of the times. The Garland collection also includes photographs, certificates, reports, house plans and medals spanning the period 1893 to 1980 and vividly depicting the life of a Brisbane family over three generations.
Lynn Meyers – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland