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Gardiner, Alexander Murray (1820–1889)

The following reference to the late Mr. Alexander Murray Gardiner, J.P., was made by the Rev. C. S. Ross, Skipton, in closing his sermon on Sunday:—"The late Mr. Gardiner, whose impressively sudden death was recently announced, has left a good record behind him as a colonist and magistrate, and elder of the church. About a month previously he had suffered dislocation of the left shoulder by a buggy accident, from which, under medical treatment, he seemed to be making a safe recovery; and the announcement of his sudden death from apoplexy fell as a painful surprise upon his friends and the general community.

The son of a Gallowegian grazier in good circumstances, Mr. Gardiner came to Victoria with his brother and sister and brother's son in December, 1851, and, with the exception of some seven years he spent in Queensland, he remained in this colony till the day of his death. After fulfilling a short engagement with Mr. Muirhead, in the neighbourhood of the Grampians, he occupied positions of trust at Borriyalloak and at Yallum Park; and the high estimation in which he was held by the late Hon. Francis Ormond, for the fidelity and diligence which be displayed in his service is testified to by the generous bequest of £1000 which he left him. In 1872, on his return from Queensland, he rented the Baangal station from Mr. Ormond, and recently purchased a part of the estate and for the last 17 years he was closely associated with the Skipton district, and intelligently identified himself with all its interests.

For many years he served the colony as a justice of the peace, and sometimes at great personal inconvenience to himself and to the disadvantage of his own private affairs, he discharged, and always with credit and efficiency, the duties of that public office. As general treasurer of the local Presbyterian Church he never grudged the time and energy which he devoted to its interests, and when, about four years ago, he was elected by unanimous vote to the office of elder, he took cheerfully in hand the additional duties which were then imposed upon him. He was a good husband, a loving father, a kind and thoughtful and generous-hearted friend. He was a man of good principle and incorruptible honesty, of modest nature and simple habits; one who was very widely respected and esteemed.

The kindliness of his nature receives an illustration from an interesting passage in his Queensland experience, which is, perhaps, not generally known. He and his party consisting of his sister, now deceased, and his brother and nephew, now of Whittlesea—spent some time in proximity to the Expedition Ranges, which were then the haunts of a troublesome and dangerous tribe of blacks, who had not only carried off the sheep and cattle of other European pioneers, but had also committed frequent murders of a peculiarly atrocious kind. Mr. Gardiner's party, however—to their honour and credit, be it said—always maintained the kindliest and most friendly relations with them. The blacks never once molested them or disturbed their flocks; they even brought back to their camp the sheep which had gone astray and gathered for them from lagoon and swamp the eggs of the wildfowl, for which they received certain stores in exchange".

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'Gardiner, Alexander Murray (1820–1889)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/gardiner-alexander-murray-13819/text24673, accessed 22 November 2017.

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