Canon David Garland

On this day in 2016 – Unveiling of memorial to Canon David Garland – the ‘Architect of Anzac Day’ 
Portrait of Canon Garland. (SLQ)

On the 22 April 2016 a memorial to Canon David Garland , Anglican priest and army chaplain,  was unveiled by Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey. The memorial is in Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park adjacent to the fence of St Mary’s Anglican Church.

The Canon Garland Memorial in 2018. (J.Gerard)

Canon Garland is recognised as the ‘architect’ of Anzac Day services as we know them.  After the horrors of the Gallipoli landing in 1915 he became passionate about honouring the fallen. As secretary of the ANZAC Day Commemorative Committee of Queensland founded in 1916 he lobbied and campaigned tirelessly to have the 25 April enshrined as a national day of commemoration of bravery and sacrifice. The Ode, the minute’s silence and the playing of the Last Post were his idea. The first Anzac Day Service was held on 25 April 1916 and every year since.

The Canon Garland Memorial with hundreds of poppies at the Celebration of the Centenary of Armistice, 11 November 2018.

The memorial contains a wreath on a stone base which is representative of the joint Australian (wattle flowers) and New Zealand (silver fern leaves) contributions to the enduring Anzac tradition with the blood red band symbolising the human sacrifice made. The rock represents strength and sustainability. The bronze plaques tell the story of the origins of the ANZAC Day commemoration and the influence Canon Garland had on its development.

Bronze plaque as tribute to Canon Garland. (C.Gerard)

The memorial is the result of the efforts and hard work of the Canon Garland Memorial Society which was formed in 2013 to seek public and government support to honour Canon Garland and commemorate the origins of Anzac Day.

Meet the Brisbane priest who created Anzac Day as we know it

                    by Tony Moore, The Brisbane Times 24 April 2017

Few Queenslanders, let alone Australians, know that the man recognised as “the architect of Anzac Day” is a former priest from Kangaroo Point and Red Hill.

Now there is interest in giving Anglican priest Canon David Garland – who received an Order of the British Empire in 1934 and died in 1939 – an Australian honour.

Canon Garland (left) in Cairo as senior chaplain for Queensland troops. Photo: Canon Garland Memorial Society

It was Canon Garland who 100 years ago in Brisbane laid out how Anzac Day should be observed throughout the world.

David John Garland came to Australia from Dublin by himself in 1886 and joined the Church of England in 1899 after meeting Canon Tommy Jones in Toowoomba. Canon Garland shifted west, building up bush parishes in West Australia before shifting to New South Wales and ultimately Queensland.

Canon Garland was the Anglican parish priest at Kangaroo Point and Red Hill.

He became a war chaplain – initially in West Australia for troops going to the Boer War (1899-1902) and then in Queensland where he served as chaplain to Queenslanders heading to WWI. He was senior chaplain to Queensland troops at the Enoggera Barracks in 1915 and served in the Middle East, setting up eight hostels for service men and women from 1917 to 1919.

Historian Peter Collins, who runs the Canon Garland Memorial Society, says Garland was both horrified by war and and yet part of the recruitment drive for young soldiers to defend the British Empire.

“He was ‘agin’ it, but he also understood the need for it,” Mr Collins said.

Historian Peter Collins at Canon Garland’s grave at Toowong Cemetery. Photo: Tony Moore

“He was a priest and his sworn duty is to uphold the Ten Commandments, one of which was ‘Thou shalt not kill’,” he said.

“But in his lifetime, he had to put that at an equal footing to loyalty to the country.

“So his spirituality allowed for both; both as the defender of the faith and the protector of the weak and those who had served and given of their all.”

Part of Canon Garland’s resolution to commemorate Anzac Da y on April 25, made in 1916. Photo: Canon Garland Memorial Committee

In 1916 on January 10 Canon Garland was appointed the inaugural secretary of the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee Queensland at a public meeting at the Exhibition Hall, known today as the Old Museum on Gregory Terrace.

It was at this meeting that April 25 would be fixed as Anzac Day.

From that committee, Canon Garland gradually set out the format of Anzac Day observances, including the one-minute silence, which was subsequently adopted with two minutes’ silence on Remembrance Day on November 11, 1919.

“The minute’s silence was marked at Anzac Day first, absolutely,” Mr Collins said.

Canon Garland then lobbied Queensland Parliament for a public holiday for Anzac Day, which was granted in 1921. Eventual Queensland Labor premier “Red Ned” Hanlon was his local MP and a regular visitor to his church.

“For him it was a very solemn day, not overly religious, but about mourning and devotion to duty,” Mr Collins said.

“It was on a par with Good Friday and Christmas Day,” he said.

“He expected it to be celebrated in the same solemn way.

According to Mr Collins, who previously was a church warden at Canon Garland’s St Barnabas church at Red Hill, it was Garland who set out how Anzac Day observances would be held.

“Garland created the format for the whole event,” he said.

“That included the Last Post, the reading of the ode, the national anthem, the minute’s silence and the two resolutions.”

He forcefully wrote to all mayors in Queensland and New Zealand urging them to take up the Queensland model of celebrating Anzac Day and used live radio broadcasts to promote Anzac Day.

Mr Collins said Canon Garland enthusiastically used the media of the day, even writing “media releases” after committee meetings to give to reporters.

“I’ve no doubt that had had the internet, he would be using it and I wouldn’t have my job today,” he said.

“He was real force of nature who used the ‘theatre of the mind’.”

Canon Garland was buried in Toowong Cemetery in 1939 looking over a section called the “Soldiers Portion”. “He is looking over his boys as he was in life,” Mr Collins said in the cemetery on Monday as rain fell.

Of the 393 veterans of WWI and WWII buried in the Soldiers Portion, 270 are WWI veterans, according to the Australian War Graves researchers.

At that time Canon Garland was the parish priest of St Barnabas Church at Ithaca (now Red Hill) and would conduct their funerals until his death.

Mr Collins believes it is time for Australia to honour him for his role in setting the Anzac Day format.

“It is a very attractive thought, but I think it will take a much better awareness of where he fits in the whole (Anzac Day) story before there is an upswell of interest to that point.

Amendment: Made on May 2, 2017 showing Canon Garland arrived in Australia by himself from Dublin, not with his parents.

The little church that gave us Anzac Day

Canon David Garland was rector of St Barnabas Anglican Church in Red Hill for 18 years. This article from  Anglican Focus, April-May 2012 discusses the impact he had on the community and his work as ‘architect of Anzac Day’ 

Canon Garland Memorial – ANZAC Day Origins  

On 22 April 2016 a memorial in honour of Canon Garland was officially opened in Kangaroo Point Park, adjacent to St Mary’s Anglican Church.

The Canon Garland Memorial commemorates Canon David Garland who is known as the "architect of ANZAC Day."

The memorial contains a wreath on a stone base which is representative of the joint Australian (wattle flowers) and New Zealand (silver fern leaves) contributions to the enduring Anzac tradition with the blood red band symbolising the human sacrifice made. The rock represents strength and sustainability. A bronze plaque will tell the story of the origins of the ANZAC Day commemoration and the influence Canon Garland had on its development. An additional plaque on the memorial is dedicated to Canon Garland OBE.

Canon David Garland worked as a chaplain at the Enoggera Army Barracks during World War One and in the wake of climbing casualties from the war; Garland proposed a national day to honour the sacrifice of fallen soldiers in the Gallipoli landings. Garland rallied the local community and in 1916, the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland was established, with Garland serving as its secretary. Garland created the framework for ANZAC Day commemorative services and worked tirelessly to gain military, religious, political, governmental, business and general community acceptance.

In 1916, ANZAC Day was commemorated on 25 April for the first time and was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services in Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt.