Australian Dictionary of Biography

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John Lardner (1839–1931)

by D. F. Bishop

This article was published:

John Lardner (1839-1931), surveyor, was born in April 1839 in Galway, Ireland, son of Thomas Lardner, farmer, and his wife Maria, née Cavanagh. Privately educated, he was for some years engaged in surveying in Ireland. In 1863 he went to New Zealand where he worked with the Government Survey Department in Auckland and Otago Provinces until his departure in 1866 for Victoria where he joined the Surveyor-General's Department on 26 November. In 1867-78 he worked under J. T. Harding in the Melbourne district, Otway Ranges and Mornington Peninsula, continuing in the first two areas in 1868-70 under M. Callanan who later became surveyor-general. On 4 January 1869 Lardner received his certificate as a contract surveyor from the Land Surveyors Board. Succeeding Callanan as head of the party in 1870, Lardner was engaged in laying out streets and blocks in Parkville, Albert Park, St Kilda Road and Queen's Road until 1873 when he went to Brandy Creek and Warragul, surveying 10,000 acres (4047 ha) of scrub land. In 1874 Lardner cut up 11,000 acres (4452 ha) in the Koo Wee Rup swamp and later surveyed the Moe swamp for drainage. After two years in Melbourne he was transferred to Gippsland in 1877 where he laid out new townships between Pakenham and Morwell along the Gippsland railway then being built, and connecting roads to the coast. In 1880 Lardner started surveying roads and improving gradients in the South Gippsland Hills from Poowong to Foster, including a survey of Whitelaw's Track cut in 1874-75. In 1881 he worked in the Drouin area and in 1883-84 in the Mirboo district. With the building of the Great Southern Line, Lardner was called upon to survey the town sites along it, including those now at Leongatha, Korumburra, Meeniyan and Tarwin. On completion of this work Lardner was appointed land officer to the Bairnsdale district and in 1896 the Sale district. In 1899 he became district surveyor of Gippsland with Bairnsdale as headquarters until he retired on 30 September 1903. He then lived in Leongatha, where he died on 25 October 1931. Predeceased by his wife Annie, née Cosgrove, a son and a daughter, he was survived by two sons and three daughters.

In Bairnsdale Lardner had been a member of the rowing and football clubs and the hospital committee. A founder and first president of the Leongatha bowling club, he was also a member of the Victorian Institute of Surveyors, a commissioner for taking affidavits and declarations, chairman of the land classification board and classifier under the Land Tax Act. Lardner's Track, the township and school of Lardner and the township of Nyora, named by him after the native cherry, serve as his memorials.

Select Bibliography

  • South Gippsland Pioneers' Assn, The Land of the Lyrebird (Melb, 1920)
  • H. Copeland, The Path of Progress (Warragul, 1934)
  • C. Daley, The Story of Gippsland (Melb, 1960)
  • Bairnsdale Advertiser, 1 Oct 1903
  • Great Southern Star, 27 Oct 1931
  • Lands Department records (Public Record Office Victoria)
  • private information.

Citation details

D. F. Bishop, 'Lardner, John (1839–1931)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 15 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne University Press), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


April, 1839
Galway, Ireland


25 October, 1931 (aged 92)
Leongatha, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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