THE GORDON’S OF SCOTLAND
THE GORDON TARTAN
1870 Jan. 1 Gordon’s horse nowhere in Flemington Steeple. “Age” 3/1/70
1870 Jan 4 Letter to John Riddoch, thanking him for his help towards unravelling the Esslemont entail.
Higinbotham, who is a barrister, told him that a lawyer or solicitor must first put it in shape.
1870 Jan 6 Letter to John Riddoch saying that he wants to see the Australian expert in Scottish Law who lives in Ballarat,
and saying that no-one in Melbourne is worth paying for opinion so has taken no legal counsel.
1870 Receives news that Esslemont entail is not broken. – Sladen. Humphris xxx11.
1870 Jan “The Sick Stockrider” appears in Colonial Monthly- Colonial Monthly, 342-343-344.
1870 Jan The Colonial Monthly Closes
1870 Jan 15 “The Sick Stockrider” appears in “Australasian”- “Australasian” 15/1/70 Page 71
1870 Jan 17 Letter to John Riddoch saying he received Riddoch’s letter of the 10th and advice to see Ronald. about the entail .
Mentions “The Sick Stockrider” and how well it has been received although he, Gordon, doesn’t think much of it.
1870 Jan 24 Letter to John Riddoch. Says the he saw Ronald and was recommended to Stewart, a Scotchman of the firm Mallison, England and
Stewart. Asks John Riddoch to come over and help him out as he, Gordon, is not wise in these matters. Mentions “The Sick Stockrider”
again and how well it has been received.
1870 Jan 29 Viking won at Bairnsdale Steeplechase (Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 – 1954), Tuesday 1 February 1870, page 3)
1870 Feb 9 Letter to John Riddoch. Gordon has consulted with Stewart of Mallison, England & Stewart, by the advice of Ronald & MacPherson.
Stewart has sent off to Edinburgh for the best advice.Mrs Gordon has been very ill and Gordon is finding money matters very tight.
1870 Feb 11 “Willie” Power, of “Powerscourt,”(Maffra) brought the steeplechaser” Viking’ up from Melbourne, owned conjointly by Herbert “Power
and Adam Lindsay Gordon, to take the wind out of Pearson’s old Alick’s sails. Between these two owners there was great rivalry in
racing. However, in the race held on the Greenwattle , Sale Turf Club annual races, Friday 11th February 1870, Viking fell and broke his
neck but was not shot, but left to die. Died about 9pm that night.. The jockey (Green) was considerably hurt. (Gippsland Times Vic
Saturday 11 Feb 1870 Page 3) (Gippsland Times Tuesday 15th February 1870 Pge 3)
1870 Mar. 8 Maggie goes by steamer to Robe to sick father. Returns.
1870 Mar 9 Letter to John Riddoch. Mrs Gordon is rather better and has gone by the Pendas to Robe to see him. Gordon says “now of all times”
and is very much missing John Riddoch. Gordon is getting edgy about Esslemont.
1870 Mar 12 Badly thrown off “Prince Rupert” with head injuries at Flemington. VRC Steeplechase “Age” 14/3/70
1870 Mar 21 Letter to John Riddoch. Gordon has redirected the rent monies that he is receiving on his property in Mount Gambier & Port
McDonald to John Riddoch. Asks John Riddoch for money as he had to borrow some to pay for Mrs Gordon’s return trip. Talks in a
desperate way about his reckless spending, his fear of being named in court, but is naturally vain and his worries are getting the
better of him which inhibits his writing to make money. Says if he gets a little more desperate his wife will be better off without him.
1870 Apr 3 Letter to John Riddoch. Thanks John Riddoch and has “settled the matter which worried him most.” Encloses two letters from Kendall
for whom he has a high regard” (except when his-Gordon’s- work is praised by him.
1870 Apr 28 Letter to John Riddoch. A Surveyor has told Gordon that land properties have gone down in value in the west. Gordon thinks that his
land might be able to “clear itself.” A great wish to publish some poems, now ready, for fifteen to twenty pounds. Walks in and out
from Brighton every day. Wants a little more help from John Riddoch and is confident about Esslemont if he can last out two or three
1870 May 7 “Wolf and Hound” (Our Sergeant’s Yarn) appeared “Australasian” 7/5/70 Page 583
1870 May 9 Letter to John Riddoch. Riddoch asks Gordon what it would take to clear him off and Gordon replies that he can’t say yet, but the
amount is only small. Has had to put off a Hay and Corn Dealer. His book is almost ready, but he finds writing an effort with little
interest in it. He thinks that he can keep afloat.
1870 May 26 Letter to John Riddoch asking him to keep the rents from his properties and send him the balance and he will try to square up all he
can here. Fears that his property will sell badly but it must go at once. Had a good review of “Seaspray” from England. Has made a
mess of his next book publication and he won’t lose by it but will come out of it with nothing but praise. Hopes for good news from
Esslemont by an early mail now.
1870 May 27 Publisher George Robertson declines to publish Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes
1870 June 4 “A Song of Autumn” appeared.-“Australasian” 4/6/70 Page 711.
1870 June 4 Receives news Esslemont claim had collapsed.
1870 June 18 Sketch by Gordon “The Cattle Station.” appeared- “Australasian”- 18.6.70 Page 774
1870 June 23 Thursday- Received the Account from publishers for his third book “Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes” Copyright No 27.
1870 June 23 Thursday-Broadly accepted that Gordon went to the Adam & Eve with Henry Kendall. between 109-117 Little Collins Street,
Melbourne. Demolished in 1923 for the City Boys News Club
1870 June 23 Thursday-Book Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes published. Publishers Clarson Massina and Co General Printers. Little Collins
Street East, Melbourne Gordon met with Marcus Clarke
1870 June 24 Friday-At Day Break. Shot himself in the head at dawn on Brighton Beach.- Death Certificate.
(Of Interest. St. John The Baptist Day June 24th)
1870 June 25 Saturday-Leading Article on Gordon and review of Bush Ballads.- “Age” 25/6/70
1870 June 25 Saturday-Bush Ballads reviewed in “Australasian”- “Australasian” 25/6/70 Page 808
1870 June 25 Saturday- Inquest and Burial – “Age” 27/6/70 Only one mourning coach. Principal mourners, Major Baker, Messrs Robert and Herbert Power and other intimate friends (Argus Monday 27/6/70)
1870 June 28 Movement started for erecting a monument over Gordon’s grave. Subscriptions will be received by the newspaper editors,
Major Baker, the Messrs Power and Messrs Gordon and Gotch. (The Argus Tuesday 28/6/70)
1870 July 2 Kendall’s “In Memoriam” appeared, and also article on Gordon- “Australasian” 2/7/70 Page 9.
1870 July 2 Bush Sketch by Gordon appeared “Australasian” 2/7/70 Page 5
1870 July 23 Unpublished “Fragment,” published in “Australasian” wrongly credited to Gordon. See W.E. Aytoum’s “Bothwell” Part 2, Stanza 18
“Australasian” 23/7/70 Page 103
1870 Sept 11 Section of Gordon’s Estate east of Mount Gambier sold to Messrs. Donald and James McArthur for £1002. Three other sections nearer
the seaboard and part of the same estate did not get buyers. (The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), Tuesday 21 September 1920,
1870 Oct 12 Margaret Gordon paid for Adam Lindsay Gordon’s grave. (Brighton Cemetery staff research (May 2014)
1870 Oct. Stone erected over grave by admirers. “Australasian” 15/10/70 Page 490.Due to efforts of Major Baker, Riddoch Bros. Frank Madden
Marcus Clarke, J.J. Shillinglaw, G.G. McCrae, A.H. Massina, and the Power Bros.
1871 Apr 26 “Under the Trees” appeared. Included in some editions of Gordon’s poems as “A Voice from the Bush” “S.A. Register” 26/4/71 Page 5.
Since proved to be not Gordon’s work.
1871 May 27 Above appeared in “Australasian.” “Australasian” 27/5/71 Page 647.
1872 Dec. “Willie” Power, of “Powerscourt,” brought the steeplechaser” Viking’ up from Melbourne, owned conjointly by Herbert “Power and
Adam Lindsay Gordon, to take the wind out of Pearson’s old Alick’s sails. Between these two owners there was great rivalry in racing.
However, in the race held on the Greenwattle, Xmas. time, 1872, Viking fell and broke his neck. (Gippsland Times Vic Monday 4
September 1922 Page 3)
1873 Dingley Dell, Port MacDonnell property given to local council by Maggie.
1873 Mar 19 Mrs. Gordon married Peter Low at Robe. “Low Family Bible” at residence of Mr Bradshaw Young Rev Mr. Hillman officiated
1874 Bankrupt Marcus Clarke sold his library including Gordon’s volumes.
The Gordon tartan is the regimental tartan of the famous Gordon Highlanders and was selected by the Alexander, the 4th Duke from a choice of three submitted by William Forsyth, a weaver and outfitter from the town of Huntly. Forsyth wrote on 15th April 1793
‘When I had the honour of communing with His Grace the Duke of Gordon, he was desirous to have patterns of the 42nd Regiment
plaid with a small yellow stripe properly placed. I imagine the yellow stripes will appear very lively.’
The Victorian Scottish Regiment was affiliated with the Gordon Highlanders. the Gordon is now the Victorian military tartan.
In the YouTube, below, the Victorian Scotch College Cadets, Pipes and Drums are seen wearing the Gordon tartan.
Most school pipe bands that were formed in the post war years wear the military tartan of their state.
Article by Dr. Helen Dehn:
Just after Gordon left Ballarat he got word that he was, or might be, the lawful heir to the estate of Esslemont in Aberdeenshire Scotland. The estate had been left to the daughter of a previous owner, Huntley-Gordon. The Gordon family in England had always passed family property to male heirs after making inquiries Lindsay was encouraged to believe that his case was strong. In fact, he borrowed money on the strength of it with the desire to secure his wife, as the property was then returning approximately £2,000 a year.
Legal expenses were accruing though, and Maggie had gone to Adelaide to see her dying father. Gordon borrowed money from Riddoch but expenses continued to mount and in desperation he accepted an offer to ride in one last race on Major Baker’s big black horse named Prince Rupert on 12 March 1870 at Flemington. Gordon was thrown in the race and shortly afterwards he was seen to reel in his seat. At the third and last fence Prince Rupert fell and Gordon was thrown again. He was taken to see a doctor the following Monday suffering internal injuries, and Gordon is said to have felt he’d been “done for”.
Gordon’s hopes of inheriting Esslemont were finally dashed in June 1870. A recent decision of the Scottish law courts, sustained on appeal to the Privy Council, stated that the class of entail to which Esslemont belonged had been abolished in 1848 and this made Gordon’s claim null and void. Gordon’s debts were pressing and he could see no avenue open to him by which he might discharge them. Even the assured success of his last volume of verse was not enough to dissuade him from taking his own life and he ended it alone after a solitary walk from his home to the beach.
This is only a brief account of events that governed Lindsay Gordon’s most consequential decisions, but an underlying pattern is evident nonetheless: a pattern of restless search and solitary reflection interspersed with episodes of careless audacity and marked by feelings of despondency, in the author’s view, due to the circumstances under which he was obliged to leave England and the feeling of having let his father down, and perhaps also his wife and daughter.
In a tribute to her husband published in the Australasian in 1892, Maggie Gordon wrote the following poem:
If I had known when far and wide
We loitered through the summer land,
What presence wandered by our side,
And o’er you stretched its awful hand;
I should have hushed my careless speech,
To listen, dear, to every tone
That from your lips fell low and sweet,
If I had known.
If I had known to what strange place
What mystic, distant, silent shore,
You calmly turned your steadfast face
What time your footsteps left my door,
I should have forged a golden link
To bind the heart so constant grown,
And keep it constant ever there,
If I had known.
1932 Dec 27 The Dean of Westminster The Very Reverend William Foxley Norris writes a letter of recommendation to the Archbishop of
Canterbury re memorial in Westminster Abbey. (Letter destroyed in ww2 by German bombing on the Deanery of the Abbey in 1944)
1932 Dec 28 The Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang, wrote a letter to the Dean of Westminster William Foxley Norris saying that as the Dean thought Gordon had fine elements of character, the fact of suicide should not get in the way. This letter was in response to
a letter from the Dean which did not survive WW2 bombs
1933 July 29 Petition granted praying that bust of Gordon be allowed to be placed in Westminster Abbey “Official Programme of Unveiling
1933 E.J Martell (Former Principal Ballarat School of Mines) began moves to have Gordon’s Bath Street Cottage moved to the Botanical
Gardens. Mr R.A. Crouch advanced the money for the project.
1933 Aug 3 Gordon Lovers’ Society meets in Chartres House Collins Street to form a Social Group to aid the Gordon Memorial Committee
1933 Aug 4 Article in The London Times. The Dean of Westminster announces that the petition made by Gordon’s admirers had been granted. Douglas Sladen Chairman The London Gordon Memorial Committee
1933 Aug 5 Article in the Manchester Guardian appeared listing the qualities which gained Gordon the outstanding honour of The Poets’ Corner.
1933 Aug 3 Gordon Lovers’ Society formed to help Gordon Memorial Committee with forth coming centenary celebrations (Argus 4th Aug.1933)
1933 Aug 19 Miss Kay’s Biography of Gordon began in “Australasian” “Australasian” 19/8/33 Page 7
1933 Sep The Gordon Lovers’ Society was formed (Argus 27.9.1933)
1933 Sep. Viscount Bruce ex-prime minister of Australia 1923-1929. Australia’s High Commissioner to London 1933-1945
1933 Sep 22 Pilgrimage to Brighton Cemetery. “Age” 22/9/33. Page 12
1933 Oct 14 Opening lead story appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald towards the unveiling of a tablet in honour of Gordon in The
1933 Oct 18 Pilgrimage to Dingley Dell. “Border Watch” 19/10/33
1933 Oct 18 First social evening of Gordon Lovers’ Society “Age” 19/10/33
1933 Oct 19 100TH Birthday
1933 Oct 19 Gordon Centenary celebrated at Craig’s Hotel Ballarat.
1933 Oct 19 Unveiling of a Tablet to the memory of Adam Lindsay Gordon in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.
1933 Oct 19 Centenary of birth celebrated in many centres. Wreaths placed on statue in Spring Street, Melbourne, during ceremony. “Age”
1933 Oct 19 Letter from F.C. Kendall re Gordon and Kendall, appeared. “Age” 19/10/33
1933 Oct 19 Unveiling of tablet outside Gordon’s Cheltenham home Court House 28 Priory Street.
1933 Oct 22 Centenary Pilgrimage to Gordon’s grave at Brighton Cemetery. Stone Model of Dingley Dell shown (The Argus 21/10/1933)
1933 Nov Gold mounted whip will be given by Wirth’s Circus to the winning jockey of the Melbourne Cup
A volume of Gordons’ poems was given by the Adam Lindsay Gordon Memorial committee
1933 Nov Arrangements made by the Dean of Westminster Rev W. F. Norris for the bust unveiling in early May 1934 (The Argus) 3.11.1933)
1933 Dec 19 Miss Kay’s Biography concludes. “Australasian” 23/12/33. Page 4
1934 April Steam jets used as a successful experiment on Spring Street statue of ALG by Melbourne City Council.
1934 May 11 Bust of Gordon unveiled in Poets Corner Westminster Abbey by the then H.R.H. Duke of York (King George V1). “Official
Programme” (Friday) Cosmo Gordon Lang. Archbishop of Canterbury officiated.
1934 May 14 Gordon Memorial Committee held a Luncheon at the Victoria Palace to celebrate the London unveiling and the Spring Street Statue.
1934 Aug 15 Gordon’s Ballarat cottage transferred to Botanic Gardens Ballarat and opened by Victoria’s State Governor. Lord Huntingfield
“Ballarat Courier” 16/8/34 Memorial Plaque unveiled by Governor –Book Adam Lindsay Gordon by Douglas Sladen Donated by
Melbourne Gordon Lovers’ Society
SPEECH BY TRAVIS M SELLERS AT THE WREATH LAYING SERVICE ON TUESDAY 27TH OCTOBER 2009 – IT BEING THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNVEILING BY THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF YORK WHO BECAME KING GEORGE THE SIXTH AND QUEEN ELIZABETH