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Instruments Among Saddler's Memorabilia



A concertina in the basement of Waikato Museum reveals the owner was a man of many interests, writes Mary Anne Gill

A concertina seems to be an odd thing for a saddler to have in his possession, but the musical instrument at Waikato Museum is not the only sign David Gardiner didn't just make saddles.

Mr Gardiner was Hamilton's first saddler. He had a shop in Grey St in Hamilton East, about where the Book Inn now is.

He started business in 1871 and had an advertisement in the Waikato Times' first issue published on May 2, 1872. From July 1877 to February 1878, he was a member of the Hamilton East Town Board.

Later in 1878, he was elected a member of the first Hamilton Borough Council and represented Hamilton East interests on a controversial works' committee which attempted to fairly represent east and west interests on the council. He stood down from council in 1879.

The museum knows very little about Mr Gardiner. His family donated 26 objects to the museum in 1972 including early Hamilton photos and a lot of saddlery-related objects including knives, badges, pliers, brace and a punch. In addition to the concertina, the family also donated violins belonging to Mr Gardiner.