The story of Peter Garrow
THE funeral cortege was one of the largest, if not the largest seen in Dalby as it proceeded along Cunningham Street. The Town Band proceeded it playing the “Dead March of Saul.” The aldermen of the Council marched behind the hearse. The coffin was draped with the Scottish Standard and Australian flags and every business house along the street closed its doors. It was a fitting tribute to one of the best known and best loved members of the community.
At the age of 54 the little Scott, Peter Garrow, former alderman, mayor, and business man of Dalby was gone. His deep interest of the community drove him to be involved in almost every organisation, club and association of the town. He had come to Dalby in 1909 when it was just emerging from a primitive pioneer village to a developing progressive town
He was born.in Ballandallock. Scotland, in 1879. Although his family were farmers at the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a tailoring business. This was too quiet for the little scotch lad and he went to sea. On a windjammer he went around the Horn and worked in America between stints on trading vessels.
Eventually he returned to England and entered the services of Hill Brothers, the famous Bond Street tailors. Among his personal customers were prominent personalities and even Royalty. He had become a polished craftsman and had travelled the world and so the young man was off again. He had been to Sydney so he returned there and entered the tailoring firm of Cavanaghs. He took time off to return to England for the coronation of King Edward who in former days had been one of his personal clients.
He returned to Australia and married Helena Herbert and the couple moved to Queensland and then to Dalby. It was a chance to open his own business. He set a standard rarely seen in county towns which was to last for twenty-five years and his own staff led the celebrations at the end of that time
Peter Garrow was elected to the Council in 1919 and two years later became Mayor for a year however in 1924 he held the position of mayor for another three years and was responsible for many reforms. He took up the charge of the electric light authority and after a time it was placed in a sound position. He became involved in the many organisation s that gave the townsfolk entertainment and protection.
Though he always promoted Dalby in every way he could, he realised visitors needed variety and not far from the town was a unique attraction. It was the Bunya Mountains with which he became enthralled. He became part of the push to develop access roads. W A Russell recognised this when he donated Russell Park to the people. He had a small allotment at Munro’s camp and gave it to the hard working Garrow, who wanted to build a weekender on it. As this was before the road reached the location, he organised a vehicle to bring building material to the end of the road and then used his faithful staff to manually carry it on to the building site. He also set up opposition to the timber industry who he believed was ruining the Bunyas.
In the Spring of 1934, Peter Garrow a became seriously ill. Though he improved, he relapsed, and passed away in hospital on October 18th. He left behind his widow, Helena, three sons Alex, Donald and James and two daughters Jean and Jessie. There was also his business which carried the name for a number of decades.
He never lived to see his adopted town develop in to the progressive community he envisaged.