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Jardine, John (1807–1874)

The sudden death of Mr. Commissioner Jardine yesterday afternoon was a painful topic of conversation during the evening. Mr. Jardine was at his office during the morning, and remained in town until after midday. He appeared to be in his usual health, though persons who conversed with him fancied he was scarcely in his usual spirits. Early in the afternoon he rode home (Stoneleigh), and on reaching there made no complaint of indisposition. He partook of a plate of soup, and then read the day's paper in the verandah for a time. He afterwards went into the garden, and the next heard of him was from a Chinaman, who came to the house and said that Mr. Jardine was very sick in the garden. The report was found to be too true, for Mr. Jardine lay insensible at a short distance from the house. Dr. Callaghan was at once sent for, and on his arrival at five o'clock, found the patient insensible and evidently at the point of death. The eyes were fixed and glassy, the pulse beat very slowly, and life ceased a few minutes afterwards. There was no external indication of violence on the body, and, from its appearance, Dr. Callaghan believes disease of the heart to be the cause of death. Various intimates with Mr. Jardine state that they have frequently noticed him involuntary place his hand on the left breast as though attacked by sudden pain. It is unlikely that a post-mortem examination or magisterial inquiry will he held on the remains, it being the medical opinion the death resulted from natural causes. Mr Jardine was just sixty years of age, and in his time had undergone some rather severe privations. When a young man, we are informed he was in the British army. On disposing of his commission he came to Australia, bringing a considerable amount of capital with him. He invested in pastoral property in the Bathurst district, and during the hard times of '42 to '46 was obliged to succumb to the pressure chiefly, however, in consequence of his runs being wrongfully taken away by the Government and given to another squatter. He then entered the Civil Service of New South Wales, and in the early part of 1850 was sent to Rockhampton, where in the capacity of Police Magistrate he remained until 1864, when he obtained the appointment of Police Magistrate and Government resident at Somerset, Cape York. Remaining there about three years, he returned to Rockhampton to occupy the post of District Gold Commissioner, which he held until his death. Mr. Jardine was a man of more than common talent, and had the advantage of a good education. He always evinced great interest in the progress of the district, and during his commissionership sought in every possible way to foster and stimulate the gold-mining interest. Long experience had given him a general acquaintance with life in all its phases, and he was a man of habitually sound judgment. As a member of the Acclimatization Society he attained some distinction, partly by reading a valuable paper on "Forest Conservation" and partly by his taste for botany and natural history. It may here be added that he was the brother of Sir William Jardine, the well-known botanist. Mr. Jardine leaves a widow in Rockhampton, two daughters now on a visit to England, and four sons, the eldest and youngest of whom are residing at Cape York, one is on the station (Messrs. Milman and Jardine's) at Marlborough, and the fourth is engaged in superintending the erection of the Dawson Bridge. Mr. Jardine was one of the very few remaining residents of Rockhampton who were identified with its previous separation from New South Wales, and his removal will be regretted as though involving the loss of one of the institutions of the town. His remains, to be interred in the Rockhampton Cemetery this afternoon, will no doubt be followed to the grave by many sorrowing friends.

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'Jardine, John (1807–1874)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/jardine-john-3850/text25578, accessed 25 November 2017.

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