Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Garran, Andrew

GARRAN (formerly Gamman), ANDREW (1825–1901), Australian journalist and politician, born at Bethnal Green, London, on 19 Nov. 1825, was third of the thirteen children of Robert Gamman, merchant, of London, by his wife Mary Ann, daughter of Henry Matthews, architect and engineer of the home department of the East India Company. Educated at Hackney grammar school, London, and at Spring Hill College, Birmingham, he matriculated in 1843 at London University, where he graduated B.A. in 1845 and M.A. in 1848. On the conclusion of his university career he visited Madeira for his health, and on the same ground finally emigrated to Australia.

On Garran's arrival at Adelaide in Jan, 1851 the controversy repecting state aid to religion was at its height, and of a paper called the 'Austral Examiner,' which was started to oppose the grant of state aid, Garran acted as editor for two years. The discovery of gold in Victoria, however, nearly depopulated Adelaide for the time, and brought the career of the paper to an abrupt conclusion. After serving as private tutor for a year in the family of Mr. C. E. Labillière on a station near Ballan, Victoria, he returned to Adelaide, and in 1854^5 edited the 'South AustraHan Register.' In 1856 he became assistant editor under John West of the 'Sydney Morning Herald,' and his association with that newspaper lasted nearly thirty years. On West's death in 1873 he became editor-in-chief, and he held the post till the end of 1885, when his health compelled him to resign.

At the advanced age of sixty-two, Garran entered the political arena. In 1887 he was made a member of the legislative council of New South Wales by Sir Henry Parkes, and in that capacity his wide knowledge of affairs was always placed at the disposal of the house. In 1890 he suggested, and was made president of, a royal commission on strikes, and the report which he submitted resulted in the passing of the Trades Disputes Conciliation and Arbitration Act in 1892. Of the council of arbitration which this Act established Garran was made president (1 Oct. 1892), and he thereupon resigned his seat in the legislative council to avoid all suspicion of political bias. In his 'Fifty Years of Austrahan History' (ii. 294) Sir Henry Parkes bears testimony to Garran's 'care, patient labour and abihty in conducting the inquiry.'

In December 1894 Garran withdrew from the arbitration council, and on 19 March 1895 was appointed vice-president of the executive council and representative of Mr. (now Sir George) Reid's government in the legislative council. Owing to failing health he resigned the vice-presidency in Nov. 1898, but remained a member until death. He was a member of the parliamentary standing committee on public works, a commissioner of the Sydney International Exhibition (1879), a member of the royal commission on noxious trades (1888), and of the Bay View lunatic inquiry commission (1894).

Garran took much interest in the University of Sydney, where in earher years he attended the law lectures and took the degree of LL.D. in 1870. He was twice president of the Australian Economic Association. He edited in 1886 the 'Picturesque Atlas of Australasia,' the most comprehensive descriptive work on Australia hitherto published.

He died on 6 June 1901 at his residence, Elizabeth Bay, Sydney, and was buried in Rookwood cemetery. He married at Adelaide in 1854 Mary Isham, daughter of John Sabine, formerly of Bury St. Edmunds, and had one son and seven daughters. His son, Robert Randolph Garran, C.M.G. (b. 10 Feb. 1867), has made a reputation in the commonwealth as a constitutional lawyer.

A full-length panel portrait in oils, by Tom Roberts, an Australian artist, is in the possession of his widow.

[The Times, Melbourne Argus, and Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 1901; Sydney Mail, 15 June 1901; Who's Who, 1901; University of London General Register, 1901; Johns's Notable Australians, 1908; Year Book of Australia, 1894–1902; Colonial Office Records.]

C. A.