James William Garnar owned several businesses in Dandenong at the turn of the 20th century, including Garnars Undertakers, a business that involved all of his family. After James’ death in 1913, the business was run by his wife, Margaret, and was eventually run by James’ and Margaret’s eldest son, who along with his own son, changed the name of the business to W.J. Garnar & Son, who were well known for leading funeral processions down Lonsdale Street.
Mr. James Garnar was killed in the evening of Easter Sunday,March 1913, through a ferocious attack by a bull, from the particulars to hand it seems that the animal "broke out," as the saying goes and rushed, knocked down, and finally accounted for his death. The funeral took placeon the 26th March, when the remains were interred in the Dandenong cemetery.
In the 1930s, a severe flood hit the streets of Dandenong – and when Garnar opened his flood effected mortuary he discovered that two coffins, one empty and one occupied, had been swept away. They were later recovered from the creek in Mordialloc.
Although the family name was spelled ‘Garner’, James altered it to ‘Garnar’ in order to distinguish himself from other people associated with the ‘Garner’ spelling. The W.J. Garnar & Son business was sold to Le Pine Funerals in 1950. Garnar Lane in Dandenong is named after the family