Career overview

Canon Garland: A brief biography

  • 4 October 1864: David John Garland was born at Dublin, Ireland.
  • In 1886, at the age of 22, he emigrated to Australia aboard the Royal Mail Ship Jumna, disembarking at Brisbane on 17 November that year.
  • On 6 October 1889, at the age of 25, the Reverend Garland was ordained a Church of England deacon at Grafton’s Christ Church Cathedral by the Diocesan Bishop, the Very Reverend James Francis Turner (1829-1893).
  • He served at Grafton, Quirindi and Narrandera parishes in rural New South Wales.
  • On 29 October 1892 at Christ Church St Laurence, Railway Square, Sydney, Fr Garland married widow, Mrs Mary Hawkins (neé Hadfield).
  • His ordination as a priest took place at Perth’s St George’s Cathedral and was appointed chaplain to the Bishop of Perth. Became a Canon of the Cathedral of Perth in 1900.
  • Fr Garland was chaplain to Boer War volunteers in Western Australia from 1896. He also was missioner in regional Western Australia, based for a time in Northam Parish.
  • 1902-1907: Appointed the Administrator of the Diocese of North Queensland, as a Canon of Townsville’s St James’ Cathedral. Appointed Rector at Charters Towers Parish and collated Archdeacon of North Queensland.
  • 1907-1913: Appointed Rector of South Brisbane Parish, centred on Holy Trinity Church, Woolloongabba. Appointed secretary of the Queensland Bible-in-Schools League and the New Zealand equivalent, and received great pubic acclaim for successful leadership of same on both sides of the Tasman.
  • 1913-1939: Appointed Rector of Ithaca-Bardon Parish, centred on St Barnabas’ Church, Waterworks Road, Red Hill.
  • 1915: Appointed senior chaplain to the Queensland expeditionary forces, with the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, at the training camps at Enoggera Army Base, by Archbishop of Brisbane, St Clair George Alfred Donaldson. He served in this capacity for three years. Appointed director of The Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society. Was co-founder of The Compulsory Service League. Appointed honorary organising secretary for the Queensland Recruiting Committee (also known as the “Parliamentary Recruiting Committee”, answerable to the State War Council) on which also served Thomas Augustine Ryan, the person who nominated the 25th day of April to be fixed as “ANZAC Day”.
  • 10 January 1916: Became inaugural honorary secretary to ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee (Queensland) Incorporated (the “ADCC”) at a public meeting which endorsed the 25th day of April to be the date promoted as “ANZAC Day” in 1916 and ever after. From this base, alongside his parish work and his devotion to amicably working across all denominational divides, Fr Garland devised the framework for ANZAC Day commemorative services and agitated tirelessly to gain military, religious, political, governmental, business and general community acceptance.
  • 1918-1919: Served as armed forces chaplain throughout the Middle Eastern Campaigns, founding eight respite hostels for Australian troops, and becoming the first chaplain to celebrate an Anglican Eucharist in Jerusalem’s Eastern Orthodox Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
  • 1920: Appointed Rector of Ithaca-Bardon Parish, centred on St Barnabas’ Church, Red Hill, Fr Garland began agitating for public war memorials to be built. Had silk blue badges embossed with gold leaf, depicting the lion of St Mark, and bearing the motto “Their Name Liveth for Evermore” ready for each ANZAC Day. The proceeds of the sale of these distinct and popular ANZAC Day motifs helped fund several of Brisbane’s memorials and paid for the upkeep of the graves of soldiers killed in action, as well as of returned servicemen. The initiative helped Brisbane City Council raise funds for the construction of The Shrine of Remembrance (“The Cenotaph”) and Eternal Flame in what was to became ANZAC Square, opposite Central Station. This monument started as a memorial to The Fallen of World War I when it was unveiled on Armistice Day, 11 November 1930, honours all Australian and New Zealand service personnel killed in action in all conflicts.
  • Through his relentless efforts within the ADCC framework, Fr Garland rallied public support for the establishment of a day of solemn recognition. Subsequently the State Parliament introduced legislation in 1921 for the 25th day of April to be a “close” public holiday. By 1930, all States and Commonwealth had legislated an ANZAC Day public holiday.
  • 1926: Appointed Queensland president of The New Settlers’ League and director of The Church of England Immigration Council. In this capacity Fr Garland acted as a mentor for the building of Australia’s first Russian Orthodox parish church at South Brisbane, having let the congregation hold its religious services at inner-city St Luke’s Church, Charlotte Street, Brisbane.
  • 1927-1939: Broadcast on Queensland Government Radio (“4QG”) and other stations, Holy Communion services (featuring his own sermons) and other entertainments – state-wide and “live” – from St Barnabas’ Church. The first “live” public radio broadcast in Queensland of any kind took place at Clayfield, Brisbane, in 1922. Building on his fledgling experience in radio, Fr Garland was instrumental in the first “live” broadcast of the evening ANZAC Day service from Brisbane’s Exhibition Hall on 25 April 1927.
  • 1924: Described by Acting Queensland Premier, William Neal Gillies, as the “life and soul” of ADCC. Skilfully applied knowledge of liturgies and denominational doctrines to carefully select hymns, odes and poems that were least likely to offend people. Devised the “minute’s silence” allowing people to pray – or not to pray – depending on their own conscience or denominational sensitivity. Fr Garland conducted and designed special services of commemoration at cemeteries where Diggers were laid to rest. The focus of these ceremonies was paying respect for the Supreme Sacrifice made by the men and women of the First AIF. This framework was pivotal to the success of a public campaign to have “The Cross of Sacrifice” and “The Stone of Remembrance” erected at Toowong Cemetery. These monuments were officially unveiled by His Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Sir Henry William Forster, on ANZAC Day 1924.
  • Fr Garland supported the development of more secular or civil services of public commemoration observances every 25th day of April. One of his often-used quotes was “nothing is too good for our soldiers”. He energetically lobbied for the Queensland-wide (then nationwide) take-up of the Brisbane form of a whole day of solemn commemoration – adopted in New Zealand and then in England. The use of dawn for services – initiated by returned soldiers – has evolved over time and upon ANZAC Day chaplains of all denominations officiate.
  • April 1932: Canon Garland was appointed Rural Dean of Brisbane by Archbishop Gerald Sharp, becoming the official chairman of communications between the Archbishop and the clergy of some 49 parishes.
  • 3 October 1934: Bestowed – at Government House, Paddington, Brisbane, by the Governor of Queensland, His Excellency, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson – the insignia of an Officer in the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (the “O.B.E.”) in recognition of his services as Director of The Church of England Immigration Council, and President of the New Settlers’ League of Queensland.
  • At about nine o’clock on the morning of Monday, 9 October 1939, Fr Garland died, aged 75 years and four days old, at the parish Rectory on Waterworks Road, Red Hill.


Image of Stone of Remembrance ceremony.

ABOVE: Canon David Garland (at far left) in his chaplain Lieutenant-Colonel’s uniform takes a lead role in the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland-organised unveiling and dedication service for Toowong Cemetery’s “The Cross of Sacrifice” and “The Stone of Remembrance”, by His Excellency the Governor General, Lord Forster, on ANZAC Day 1924. Photo courtesy of Picture Queensland, State Library of Queensland. This image was found in a presentation album dedicated to Canon Garland and presented to him by the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland in honour of the day.