The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Garner, Arthur
Garner, Arthur, was born on Feb. 8th, 1851, at Bath, England, where his father, Dr. Jonathan Garner (M.D. of Edinburgh) practised his profession, his mother being a Miss Cobden. Arthur Garner was articled to Mr. C. J. Phipps, the architect, whose connection was largely theatrical, he having erected no less than forty English theatres; from which circumstance may perhaps be traced the young pupil's gravitation to the stage, where he became a protégé of Mr. George Gordon, the scenic artist. From the paint-room Mr. Garner soon found his way to the footlights, and for some time appeared in various provincial companies. In 1873 he arrived in Melbourne, returning to London in 1876. In 1879 Mr. Garner began his career as an Australian entrepreneur by taking out "The London Comedy Company" (1879), of which the late Fred Marshall was the bright particular comic star and Mr. George Gordon the hardly less indispensable scenic artist. In 1881 he joined Mr. J. C. Williamson, the eminent Australian-American actor, and Mr. Musgrove in establishing the leading firm of Australasian managers, generally known as the "Trio," which has controlled a greater number of theatres and entered into engagements, dramatic and operatic, on a larger scale than has ever been attempted south of the Line. Their operations practically commenced at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, on July 1st, 1882, with the production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience. Many eminent London artistes were introduced to the colonies under their régime; but the most substantial undertaking of Messrs. Williamson, Garner & Musgrove was the building of the new Princess's Theatre, Melbourne, in 1886, by universal consensus one of the finest dramatic temples in the world. Mr. Garner has been twice married: first, to the excellent English actress, Miss Blanche Stammers, who died in Melbourne in 1883; and, secondly, to Miss Letitia Hill Martin, sister of Mr. Patchett Martin, herself an accomplished littérateur, and formerly a contributor to the Australian press.