VICTORIA – LAST STAGE OF GORDON’S LIFE
GREAT WESTERN STEEPLECHASE-COLERAINE
The Fields of Coleraine
1862 May 20 Came third at Great Western Steeple- Coleraine (Vic) on Vanguard
1862 May 21 Unplaced Casterton (Vic) Hurdle on Ivanhoe
1863 May 14 Came third at Great Western Steeple-Coleraine (Vic) on Wilson’s “Modesty”
1864 Apr 21 Second on “Modesty”, Great Western Steeple- Coleraine. “Border Watch,” 29/4/64; Bells Life 30/4/64
1865 Apr 20 Came third on “Ballarat” at the Great Western Steeple Coleraine Vic
1866 Apr 19 Unplaced on “Cadger” Great Western Steeple- Coleraine (Vic) “Australasian” 28/4/66 Page 106; Turf Register Page 129.
1866 Apr 19 “The Fields of Coleraine” appeared in “Australasian” – Turf Register 19/4/66
GORDON’S MOVE TO BALLARAT IN VICTORIA
1867 Oct Letter to William Trainor negating Trainors mistaken offer to buy Cadger.
1867 Nov 5 Ballarat Troop of Light Horse re-formed. “Bell’s Life” 9/11/07
1867 Nov 22 Purchased Craig’s Livery Stables in Ballarat
Went into partnership with Harry Mount.- Lambton’s brother.
behind Craig’s Hotel in Lydiard Street Ballarat.
1867 Nov 27 L. L. Mount wins Best Imported fine wool Ram, to be shown in fleece £4.
at the Wellington, Nelson, Murray Agricultural Show, Western Australia
Adam Lindsay Gordon had been invited to judge the horses but had left the State in March 1867 (Trove Newspapers)
1867 Dec 20 Third on Cadger, Ballarat Steeplechase. “Australasian” 21/12/67 Page 778.
1868 Rowing Course on Lake Wendouree created. ALG rowed on the Lake
John William McPhail was a companion of Gordon, and coxswain
1868 Jan 4 Joined Ballarat Troop of Light Horse.
Among st members were CW Sherrard. Kelly. EC Moore.
Harry Mount. Dr. Nicholson.
1868 Jan 4 Last Issue of Bell’s Life. “Bell’s Life” 4/1/68
1868 Jan 18 “Bell’s Life” incorporated with “Australasian” “Australasian” 18/1/68 Page 73
1868 Mar 3 Letter to John Riddoch about the Princes visit to Ballarat.
1868 Mar 9 Gordon promoted to rank of Senior Sergeant in Ballarat Light Horse. “Ballarat Star” 11/3/68.
1868 Mar 10 Tuesday Evening about 8.30pm Fire destroyed his Livery Stables business at Craig’s Hotel Ballarat “The Ballarat Star Wednesday 11 March 1868 P2”
1868 Mar 21 Accident with “Necromancer” trod on Gordon’s face. (Fire was a fortnight before his accident)
1868 Mar 26 Gordon gave prize for Military Hurdle Race at Dowling Forest. “Ballarat Star” 27/3/68
1868 Apr 14 Daughter Annie died. Aged 10 months. “Entered in Cemetery Records” Headstone was designed by Gordon
1868 Apr 15 Daughter Annie Lindsay Gordon, Anglican, who resided at Swamp, Ballarat. Buried
Grave 374. Section 9 No CN/4 Parish Ballarat. Age 10 months Fee £4/10/- (Moir Collection)
1868 Apr 18 “Racing Ethics” by Gordon under nom de plume of “The Turf Cutter,: appeared. “Australasian” 18/4/68 Page 489
1868 Apr 22 ”Babbler” bought by Major Baker at Melbourne Auction for 120 Guineas. “Ballarat Star” 25/4/68
1868 Apr 25 “Racing Ethics’ by Gordon appeared concluded.. “Australasian” 25/4/68 Page 522
1868 May 1 First meeting of the Yorick Club in the Punch office 74 Collins St. The Argus office was next door and Meuller’s Tavin below.
1868 May 15 Nowhere on “Viking” in Autumn Steeple, Ballarat. “Australasian” 16/5/68 Page 618
1868 June 19 First run at Ballarat Hunt Club. “Ballarat Star” 20/4/68
1868 June 20 Took part in Melbourne Hunt Club meet. Gordon rode Phantom. “Australasian” 27/6/68 Page 810
1868 July 4 Wrote letter re above in “Australasian.” “Australasian” 4/7/68 Page 11.
1868 July 7 Letters (2) to John Riddoch about broken finger bone in right hand ( from a kick). Talks about grey hounds.
1868 Jul/Aug Further Injuries from horses.
1868 Sep 18 Third on “Maude,” Hunt Club Steeple, Ballarat. Won Selling Steeplechase on “Cadger” “Australasian” 19/9/68 Page 362 Page 62;
Turf Register 6.This was the inaugural Ballarat Hunt Club Steeplechase Portland Guardian Vic Thurs 24 September 1868, page 3
1868 Sep 25 Mrs Gordon left Ballarat for Robe S.A. “Letter to Riddoch” 6/10/68
1868 Sep Possibility of Scottish Esslemont Estate inheritance arises. Received favourable news about Esslemont entitlement from Uncle
1868 Sep 25 Gordon saw Maggie off to visit her sick father in S.A.
1868 Sep 26 Gordon rode in Melbourne Hunt Club Meet on “Cadet”-Last Meet for Season.(The Australasian Saturday 3 October 1868 P11)
1868 Oct 1/2 Gordon lived in a house on Wendouree Parade close to the Lady of the Lake Gold Mine. This can be confirmed by advertisements
for the sale of his goods and chattels as appeared in local newspapers (Ballarat Star) on 1 and 2 October 1868. (Dr Helen
1868 Oct 1/5 Gordon left Ballarat for Melbourne to stay with Robert Power for 2 months. Poem A Song of Autumn written there for Miss
Power. “Letter to Riddoch” 6/10/68 Maud Mc Laren nee Power to whom as a child Gordon wrote “A Song of Autumn” Looked
after “Viking” of which he now had a half share with his host.
SITE OF GORDON’S BALLARAT HOME
SITUATED ON THE NORTHERN SHORES OF LAKE WENDOUREE
GORDON RODE DAILY TO HIS BUSINESS COTTAGE AT THE REAR OF CRAIG’S HOTEL
THE FOLLOWING TAKEN FROM “ADAM LINDSAY GORDON Horseman and Poet by Dr. Helen W Kinloch (Dehn)
By this time, Gordon’s bold riding style had become well-known to the racing public in Ballarat, and the opportunity of buying a livery stable business persuaded him to relocate there. On his way to Ballarat with his family, Lindsay stopped at the Criterion Hotel in Hamilton: an occasion fondly remembered by an old man who was then a young boy.
“I met Adam Lindsay Gordon in Hamilton, a rather important town in the Western District of Victoria. Gordon and his wife and baby were on their way to Ballarat to take over a livery stable which the poet had secured there. Before going on to Ballarat Gordon, Just down from the South-East, decided to spend a few days with his old mate, W. Trainor, who was then staying at the Criterion Hotel, in Gray street, Hamilton, earning an honest crust as a horse breaker, using the stockyard at the back of the Criterion for the purpose. I was only seven at that time, but my meeting with the poet is fresher in my memory than many instances of later years. A week or so before the Gordons arrived at Hamilton, I got mixed up in an argument with a poodle dog owned by the landlady of the Criterion Hotel, and nearly lost my nose. Before that disturbance I was sitting on a doorstep of the hotel one day nursing the dog in quite a friendly sort of way, when I happened to hurt one of his feet, which had already been injured. With an angry snarl he gripped my nose and tried his hardest to pull it off. I remember fighting the dog with my little fists, but still he hung on and pulled. My yells brought the landlady’s son to the rescue and he choked the dog off. My nose was torn, all around, and a doctor had to be called in by the landlady. The doctor stitched the wounds and left the rest to sticking plaster, a universal remedy in those days for wounds of any description. The landlady insisted that I should pay her a daily visit so that she could see how the wounded ‘boko’ was progressing. At each of these visits I was always given a large piece of bread and jam, a sufficient inducement to guarantee regular attendance for a personal inspection. One morning, when I called for my daily bread and Jam, I was brought into the private parlour of the hotel and exhibited to a rather short and plump woman, whose baby was resting alongside her in old-fashioned English cradle. I was invited to rock the cradle, and while I was filling that job a long, sparely-built man came into the room. I was pointed out to him as the youngster who had nearly lost his nose a few days previously, and he was interested sufficiently to lift me up to a window so that he could make an inspection. I forget what his report was, but I later learned that the reason for the lifting up was due to the lanky young man’s shortsightedness. I remember that he gave me sixpence to spend on lollies.
Before purchasing the livery business in Ballarat, it is most likely that Lindsay had been introduced to Walter Craig who was one of the trustees of the Dowling Forest race course. (16 Raccecourse) Craig owned several horses, as well as one of Ballarat’s best-known hotels, (17. Craig’s) which served as the Turf Club’s headquarters.
It would have seemed to Gordon that a livery stable business attached to Craig’s that was up for sale might prove a timely answer to his need for regular income. His partner in Western Australia, Lambton Mount, who was the son of a Ballarat doctor, had a brother named Harry, who, according to Robb’s biography, was one of the best amateur horsemen in the colony, and who could jump over a hurdle “perhaps better than any other man living in Australia”. Gordon chose Harry Mount to partner him in the livery stable business he bought from Craig, which was only one of several mistakes that saw his fortunes continue to decline. A cottage at the rear of Craig’s went with the business and was used as an office. This cottage was removed to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens in 1934 and a commemorative bust was erected next to it. (18. ALG Cottage) Lindsay rented a residence on Wendouree Parade close to the corner of Dowling Street. In the rate books of 1887/1888 a Mary Hassell is recorded as being the owner of two cottages on the same land but one home (un-numbered) was relocated around the corner some years after his death to number 3 Dowling Street. This is believed to be Gordon’s old home. The move was due to redevelopment of the site, now number (19. 412 Wendouree Parade.)
When he arrived in Ballarat Adam Lindsay Gordon had just turned 34 years old. He had squandered most of his inheritance on ill judged ventures and, in a bid to secure his wife and daughter he entered into the business of hiring out, training and racing horses for a living. Gordon seems to have put his writing aside at this point, possibly viewing it as an indulgence he could no longer afford, and according to Turner and Sutherland the business arrangements with Craig had already been made before his arrival in Ballarat with his family in November 1867. In January 1868, probably having been invited by the Mount brothers, Lindsay joined the Ballarat Troop of Light Horse.
According to the 1862 Ballarat Street Directory, the office of the Volunteer Rifle Rangers was located at the Police Camp, an area then bounded by Sturt, Lydiard and Mair Streets, and divided from public land to the east by a track which became known as Camp Street.
The Ballarat Troop of Light Horse does not seem to have existed at that time, but it came into being on 29 January 1863 under the command of Lt. Colonel Ross.” The Light Horse was viewed as an adjunct to the Volunteer Rifle Rangers and by 1867 the Troop of Light Horse had its own parade ground in Peel Street.
By April 1868 the Volunteer Rifle Rangers had changed their name and were known as the Ballarat Rifle Rangers, but the Troop of Light Horse was unaffected by this change. In fact a meeting of the Troop was held at the Camp Hotel on 29 April where it was resolved to invite troop members from surrounding districts to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday.
Shortly after joining the troop, Lindsay, together with Harry Mount, his partner in the livery stable business, were called upon to fight a fire which threatened their business premises as well as the horses housed therein. According to the Star’s report, the fire broke out in Cobb’s old stable which adjoined the stables at the rear of Craig’s Hotel. The Star reported that Mr. Mount and some friends ran to the stables – which suggested they had been close by – possibly having a drink at Craig’s. “They endeavoured to shut out the crowd and get the horses out quietly but … the gates were forced open and some score of willing men set to work to get the horses out of the stalls and to remove the buggies … some few of the horses were led out of the stables but nearly all of them became terrified by the noise and the glare, and broke away from their conductors … nearly forty horses were turned loose and most of them started off at a great pace … several started along Lydiard Street down Dana Street into Albert Street and up Sturt Street, and about half a dozen ran down the way right at the side of the police court with the foremost slipping on the flagging in Sturt Street and the whole of them fell down one over the other. By degrees they were caught and brought back to the stables, but one small mob got out to the back of Soldiers’ Hill and bolted at full gallop with two horsemen in pursuit. [They] then made for Ballarat but turned along Lake Wendouree and into the ground of the Inkerman and Durham Company where three got into a dam. They then made a start down Sturt Street and broke in the gate leading to Mr. W. C. Smith’s residence. They then seemed to learn that they were near their stables and bolted down Sturt Street as hard as they could go and reached the stables at about 2-o-clock in the morning. We are happy to state that all of the horses have been recovered and nearly all the harnesses and saddles etc. The sight of the horses rushing from the stables in the utmost terror, and dashing headlong along the streets will not be easily forgotten by those who witnessed it.
DOWLING FOREST BALLARAT
Prior to living in Ballarat Lindsay had come into contact with architect, William Brazenor, who was also a member of the Ballarat Turf Club and the Ballarat Hunt Club. Upon Lindsay’s arrival, he and Brazenor became friends and riding companions although Brazenor was a more socially active man than Lindsay. Prior to 1864, Brazenor had designed and built for himself the Cattleyards Inn across from the Ballarat cattle yards and remained there as its resident publican for over 50 years while also maintaining an active architect-tural practice in Ballarat and the Western District of Victoria. He hosted private receptions at the Inn one of which was said to have been attended by Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited Ballarat in December 1867
The Cattleyards Inn, became Lindsay favourite ‘watering hole’ and it still stands today, although in altered form, the original building having been destroyed by fire in the 1920s.
Published recollections from Brazenor alleged that Gordon was a reckless rider and Brazenor recalled one occasion when the mare Lindsay was riding landed him on the road breaking some of Lindsay’s fingers, “but that did not stop him from riding.”
Gordon’s partner, Harry Mount, was no better at managing a livery stable business than Gordon proved to be and several serious accidents on horseback, one of which left Gordon with a permanent and deep depression in his skull, and another where a horse trod on his face, contributed to his financial woes and gave him bouts of prolonged physical discomfort. The most shattering loss, however, was that of his daughter who died on 3 April 1868 of an infection. Gordon was recovering from an accident at the time and there is little doubt that such a loss would have made that recovery very difficult. Annie was buried in Ballarat Old Cemetery but in 1919 she was reinterred with him in Brighton.
It seems though, to have been claims for unpaid rent from Walter Craig that sealed the fate of Lindsay’s business and after selling all he had to cover his debts he left for Melbourne at the end of September 1868.
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