1. Henry Meldrum Gordon was born on 6 Mar 1820 2 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia and died aged 90 years on 16 Aug 1910 in Maitland, NSW, buried East Maitland Cemetery. He married (1) on 30 Jan 1843 2 in the Presbyterian Church at Morpeth, NSW, Maria Battley, born 11 Apr 1823 2 in Gateshead, England, died 1901, NSW, a daughter of Robert Battley. He married (2) on 10 Oct 1903 2, Frances Eliza Atkinson, born ca. 1865, East Maitland, NSW.
From 1832 until 1836 Henry Gordon attended The Kings School at Parramatta - Australia's oldest still operating independent school. When the school commenced on 13 Feb. 1832 then eleven-year-old Henry was one of three boys waiting on the doorstep for the doors to open. When he died he was its oldest old boy - the last survivor of the 1832 first term intake. It was said that throughout his life he maintained an association with the school, and even in his last year when just shy of his 90th birthday came down from Maitland to attend its annual 13th Feb. foundation Commemoration Day first instigated in 1880. In respect of the 1832 first year student intake a history of the school published by the School Council in 1981 commented - "Taking a few random examples of the boys educated from the 1832 intake ... Antill became a Police Magistrate (for over 29 years) as did Gordon and Andrew McDougall. McDougall's brother John became President of the Queensland Legislative Council, whilst Forbes became Speaker of the Lower House in Queensland. Campbell became a M.L.C. and Hugh Taylor the M.L.A. for Parramatta and also its Mayor. Hassell and Macarthur became clergymen, as did Thomas Cox ... John Watsford, became the ..." 1.
Henry Gordon began an over 53 years duration legal career of in the Justice Department of the New South Wales civil service with the appointment on 1 Dec 1841 as Assistant Bailiff at Maitland 10. From 1843 to 1846 he was Bailiff of the Maitland Court of Requests and by 1857 the Chief Constable at Dungog and in 1859 Clerk of Petty Sessions there and agent for the sale of Crown lands. On 9 Sept. 1863 at the age of 43 years he was appointed Police Magistrate at Maitland and on 3 Sep 1875 Police Magistrate and Clerk of Petty Sessions at Wollombi and the Secretary for Lands. The positions at Wollombi respectively carried annual salaries of £300 and £50. He was appointed to Gundagai and Jugiong on 25 April 1885 and in March 1887 to Albury as Stipendary Magistrate and Commissioner of the Supreme Court 2. In August 1887 he was appointed Police Magistrate at Gosford.
The circumstances of the change of appointment from Albury to Gosford are interesting. In respect of him leaving Albury his unmarried daughter Ada wrote in a 21 Dec 1887 letter from Gosford - "I was not sorry to leave but I did not like my father being sent here to make way for the brother-in-law of the Chief Justice". The "brother-in-law" of NSW Chief Justice Frederick Matthew Darley, who was to remain the Police Magistrate at Albury for the next eight years until his retirement in June 1895, was Thomas Alexander Browne (1826-1915) who under the pseudonym of "Rolf Boldrewood" wrote the 1888 published novel "Robbery Under Arms" that in its day became a household name in Australia and made its author one of the best-known Australian novelists of the nineteenth-century.
A 16 April 1889 Ada Gordon letter had Henry still the Police Magistrate at Gosford but expecting a change of appointment. However a August 1892 newspaper report of proceedings of Swansea Police Court indicated his substantive position was still at Gosford. During the last two months of 1894 he was noted presiding on the bench of Police Courts at Swansea, West Maitland and at Greta, and again at West Maitland in late January 1895 18. It seems likely he retired in March that year when he reached 75 years of age after having served over 31 years as a NSW Police Magistrate. In 1900 he was living at Huntley in Fairfowl Street, Dulwich Hill 9. Writing of him in May 1889 when he was aged 69 his daughter Ada commented - "He looks absurdly young for his age. He never drank or smoked. Never had an illness or any trouble in his life. He has had an easy time"
Henry and his first wife Maria Battley had eight children. Two years after Maria's 1901 death, at the age of 83 years Henry remarried 38 year old spinster Frances Eliza Atkinson, and when he was aged 85 they had a son born whilst living at 123 New Canterbury Road, Petersham. He was residing at Nerang Street, East Maitland when he died in 1910 in his 91st year.
Children of Henry Meldrum Gordon and Maria Battley were:
+ 2. i Meldrum Henry Gordon
3. ii William Francis Robert Gordon
4. iii Ada Fanny Gordon
+ 5. iv Lovell Gordon
6. v. Ida Annie Maria Gordon
7. vi Forrest Gordon
8. vii Nina Forence Gordon
9. viii James Deane Gordon
Children of Henry Meldrum Gordon and Frances Eliza Atkinson were:
10. i Cedric Clarence Gordon
2. Meldrum Henry Gordon was born on 4 Oct 1844 2 in Maitland, NSW, Australia and died on 4 Jul 1911 2 in Edwardstown, Adelaide, SA, Australia, at age 66. He married Annie Berry, daughter of Robert Berry and Mary Hutchinson, on 25 Aug 1871 2 in the Presbyterian Church. Annie was born on 5 Jun 1847 in Patterson, NSW, Australia and died on 1 Jan 1918 2, at age 70.
Meldrum Henry was this compiler's great grandfather. He was known as "Henry". It is not known precisely when he first arrived at the Bellinger River on the mid-north coast of NSW. His father wanted him to study law but preferring an outdoor life he opted instead for station work 8. His name and that of younger brother Lovell appeared as signatories on a petition dated 24 June 1870 seeking the establishment of a Post Office at Boat Harbour - the original name of Bellingen 4. Henry's property Camena at Gordonville on the upper Bellinger River was taken up as a conditional purchase in the name of his sister Ada who never married.
Children of Meldrum Henry Gordon and Annie Berry were:
11. i Meldrum Henry Gordon
12. ii Lovell Henry "Harry" Gordon
13. iii Arthur William "Bill" Gordon
14. iv Wilfred Ernest Augustus "Ancy" Gordon
14. v Alfred Walter Gordon
16. vi Nina Annie Mercia Gordon
17. vii Meldrum Guy "Jack" Gordon
18. viii Lillian May Gordon
19. ix Rachel Gordon
20. x Archie Gordon
3. William Francis Robert Gordon was born on 11 Aug 1846 11, 12 in Maitland, NSW, Australia, and christened on 1 Jan 1848 13 in NSW, Australia. He died on 4 May 1936 14 in New Plymouth, New Zealand, at age 89, and was buried in Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, NZ. He married, Mary Hall Hine 15 in New Zealand, born in 1848 and died on 18 May 1940. They had no issue.
William F. R. Gordon (1846-1936)
In December 1867 William F. R. Gordon moved to the North Island of New Zealand where his father's sisters Sarah Ann Moir and Leititia Garmonsway resided. He spent in excess of the last half century of his life in New Plymouth where he was employed for the 32 years preceding his retirement as a draftsman with the Land & Survey Department. Possessed of talents in the areas of drawing and sketching, and music, he composed and was a bandsman in ten bands over the years. In 1880 he surreptitiously made a drawing of the Maori prophet Te Whiti, who prohibited photographs or any other likenesses of himself, which became well known in N.Z. being one of only a few likenesses of Te Whiti known to exist.
William exhibited drawings etc. at art exhibitions and received awards at the 1879 Sydney and 1880 Melbourne International Exhibitions. His work is represented in the collections of several N.Z. Museums and Art Galleries. Two such works, from the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery and the Wanganui Museum, were included in an exhibition of New Zealand and Australian colonial works of the trompe-l'œil genre held at the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand in the first half of 2001. His Stray Leaves is considered by authorities to be the most outstanding early Australasian work of this genre (which encompasses works in which ambiguities of the depiction of objects, such as documents on a flat surface, is deceiving of the eye). Stray Leaves was exhibited at the above mentioned Sydney and Melbourne International Exhibitions, and received a bronze medal in 1878 at the Sydney Agricultural Exhibition, and a Gold Medal at a 1881 N.Z. exhibition. It is featured on the cover of a 32 page book written about the genre and the works comprising the 2001 Wellington exhibition 5.
William had no children and bequeathed the residue of his estate to create a perpetual charitable trust for the benefit of charitable organisations in City of New Plymouth. The trust is administered by the District Public Trustee, New Plymouth, and under the terms of the will the allocation of the half yearly funds distribution is approved by the Mayor of New Plymouth. Following the death of his wife Mary née Hine in May 1940 the "W. F. Gordon Bequest Fund", as it is known, made the first such half yearly distribution in December 1940 with then city Mayor Mr. Gilmour directing recipient charities use the monies to provide Christmas cheer for hospital patients and others. Over the ensuing 60 plus years a large number of New Plymouth and district charitable organisations have benefited from the tens of thousands of dollars distributed. The Annual Balance Sheet for the year 1985-86 gave NZ $2140 as the distribution for that year 6.
4. Ada Fanny Gordon
5. Lovell Gordon
Lovell Gordon (1851-1919) &
Charlotte Maria née Neckles (1858-1916)
6. Ida Annie Maria Gordon
7. Forrest Gordon
8. Nina Forence Gordon
9. James Deane Gordon
10. Cedric Clarence Gordon
1 Lloyd Waddy, The Kings School 1831-1981, (1981) pp. 41-2. Note - this 1981 published sesquicentennial school history has it that three boys attended the school on its opening day in 1832 - erroneously naming them as James Staff and the brothers James and Ebenezer Orr. However two of the opening day attendees were definitely Henry Gordon and John Watsford. For the reasons see the "oldest old boy" link in first paragraph above.
2 NSW Birth Indexes V1820 6173 1B (Henry was batch baptised with his sisters Maria b. 1817 and Sarah b. 1822 at Newcastle. His 1910 newspaper obituary gave Newcastle as his place of birth - when born his father's regiment detachment was stationed there). Genealogy extracted from a Gordon Family Genealogy dated 2000 and an undated paper on the family history, both compiled by Russell Gordon of Sydney. In the main source references were not cited.
3 Originals of the photos of Henry M. Gordon & wife Maria Battley & their children Ada F. Gordon, William F.R. Gordon, Lovell Gordon & his wife Charlotte M. Neckles provided courtesy of Russell Gordon of Sydney.
4 N. Braithwaite & H. Beard, Pioneering in the Bellinger Valley, (BVHS) p.79
5 Roger Blackley, Stray Leaves (Victoria University Press, N.Z., 2001), 32 p. - includes several pages re W.F.R.G. and his drawings and has high quality full page images of his two exhibition works. The book was available for purchase as at June 2001 from the Victoria University Book Center, Wellington, N.Z. (a copy is held by the Queensland State Library).
6 Letter to compiler dated 10 Jul 2001 from New Plymouth District Council. Also see - Kate McGahey's The Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Artists Printmakers Sculptors (Gilt Edge Publishing, Wellington, 2000), p. 98.
7 Extracted from a printout of Gordon family names and vitals dated 10 Feb 1997, and an undated paper on Gordon family history & genealogy, both compiled by Russell Gordon of Sydney - source references in the main not cited.
8 Letter dated 5 Sep. 1889 from Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway - quote "My brother Henry’s children are fine strong boys, but he is in a bad state of health, he used to be very much on stations. I think the rough life broke up his health. My father wished him to study for the law but he preferred to go on a friend’s station."
9 Sands Directory of Sydney for 1900 listed "Henry Gordon, J.P.". He remained until 1908 listed in the Sands at this address with a second address also being listed from 1905 in Petersham and then in Marrickville. In the Commonwealth Electoral Roll for 1903 (Lang Elect., Dulwich Hill subdiv.) he was listed as "Henry Gordon, Justice of the Peace" together with daughter Ada at Huntley in Fairfowl St. A fellow first day attendee at The King's School John Watsford in 1907 recalled having met him in Dulwich Hill in 1904. In the roll for 1906 (Parkes Elect. & Lewisham subdiv.) Henry and 2nd wife Frances Eliza were listed at 47 Frazer Road with unmarried daughter Ada listed at the Fairfowl Street address in the Lang Electorate.
10 Elizabeth Guildford, Hunter Vallet Directory : 1841, Hunter Valley Publications, Newcastle, 1987, p. 105.
11 NSW BDM Indexes, V1848-2570-33A.
12 Anglican Diocese of Newcastle Baptisms reel #4, 11 Aug 1846.
13 Ibid, 1 Jan 1848.
14 NZ BDM Indexes, #1936-1382.
15 NZ BDM Indexes, #1883-2827.
16 Image of original visiting card photo courtesy of Maurice Norton of New Zealand.
17 The Te Whiti drawing (3 later versions by WFR Gordon also exist) with an article on its history was published in The Taranaki Daily News of 20 June 1927.
18 Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate, 5 Aug 1992 p. 3, col. 6 (Swansea), 10 Nov 1894 p. 3, col. 7 (Swansea), 14 Dec 1994 p. 8, col. 6 (West Maitland), 29 Dec 1894 p. 8, col. 5 (Greta), 22 Jan 1895 p. 8, col. 6 (West Maitland). Note - Henry Gordon's 1910 The King's School Magazine obituary was in error in stating he retired from the civil service after 45 years service - in fact his service exceeded 53 years.
Compiled by J. Raymond, Brisbane, Australia
Created March 2000 - last updated 27 Dec 2006