THE LATE REV. JOHN GARDNER
News was received in Adelaide on Wed nesday morning of the death of the Rev. John Gardner, which had just occurred at Toorak. Victoria. The intelligence was re
ceived with profound regret by all who could look back to the time when the colo- ny was much younger than it is, and es- pecially by those connected with the Pres- byterian Church in the colony. His upright figure, sturdy gait, and hale and hearty ap- pearance made him conspicuous among the citizens of Adelaide in the fifties and sixties. Mr. Gardner, who had reached the ripe age of ninety years, spent a useful career as a minister of the Gospel, and he assisted materially in building up the Presbyterian Church in the colonies. Before coming to South Australia, in 1850, Mr. Gardner was a student in the Univer sity at Glasgow, after which he went to Edinburgh, where be studied under the care of the celebrated Dr. Chalmers. Subsequent- ly he was given the oversight of a Church at Birkenhead, which position he left to come to Australia. At the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in May, 1880, the Moderator, tke Rev. R. Mitchell, in review ing the history of the Church— a history then extending over fifty years— stated:— 'In 1849 several gentlemen holding Free Church principles sent a memorial to the Colonial Committee of the Free Church of Scotland asking that a minister might be sent out. The position was offered to and ac- cepted by the Rev. John Gardner, of Bir- kenhcad, a licentiate of the Presbytery of Glasgow. He arrived in Adelaide in the month of March, 1850. For the first three Sabbaths his services were conducted by the consent of the Trustees of the building in the schoolroom adjoining St. Paul's Church, Pulteney-street. A room, at the rear of lhe Freemasons' Tavern was then obtained, and occupied until about July, when the Exchange-room in King William street was rented from the late Mr. J. B. Neales, and the con gregation met there until Chal- mers Church was erected, and opened on the first Sabbath in 1851.' After preach
ing for the congregation of Chalmers Church for about eighteen years, he accep ed a call to Launceston, Tasmania; thence he proceeded to Victoria, and laboured with the Church at Queenscliffe. He continued his ministerial career until about ten or twelve years ago, when, owing to his in- creasing years, he practically retired from the pulpit. Having been trained in the early part of the century, Mr. Gardner may be described as having been a disciple of the old school of theology, and was not par- ticularly attracted by the more recent de- velopment of thought. He always had the courage of his opinions, and did not mince matters in dealing with controversial op- ponents. However, although often severe in his criticisms he was not a man to cherish malice. While in Adelaide he took great interest in educational matters; and he was intimately connected with the move- ment for the establishment of 'Competi- tive Examinations,' which may be regarded as the forerunner of the University tests of the efficiency of pupils in the prin- cipal Sunday-schools of the province. He was one of the. examiners, and afterwards published a pamphlet entitled 'Glimpses into the Unseen and Unknown,' which took the form of a satirical commentary upon the numerous papers which had passed through his hands, which, of course, contained a good many mistakes of a humorous character. He had a good voice with a strong Scotch 'burr,' was no mean elocutionist, and at times when aroused his speech was characterized by burning elo- quence. An incident is related by his friend, the Rev. J. Lyall, who states that on one occasion, when a party was becalmed on Lake Alexandrina, the time was made to pass most pleasantly bv a re- cital by Mr. Gardner of Sir Walter Scott's 'Lady of the Lake.' The late Dr. Gardner, of Adelaide, was a son of the deceased cler gyman, and Messrs. Gavin Gardner, of Ade laide, and George Gardner, of Melbourne, are also sons. The deceased also has a daughter living in Victoria.