Gordon Family - Belfast to Chatsbury

Our Gordon family came to Australia from Northern Ireland. Whilst they probably originated in Scotland, I have not yet traced them back that far.


William Gordon (1810 - 1891)

The first Gordon I have found in our line is William Gordon. William was born on the 4th July 1810, in Belfast Co Antrim, the son of David and Mary Gordon . William married Jane McGill in Belfast in 1834. Jane was the daughter of James McGill and Jane Lawson, and was born about 1814 in Belfast. The children of this marriage were:

  • Alexander Gordon (1834-1900) married Sarah Young
  • Jane Gordon (1836 - 1895) married Henry Fredericks
  • William Gordon (1842-1864) n.m
  • Samuel Gordon (1845 - 1875) n.m
  • Robert Gordon (1847-1911) married Agnes Fredericks
  • Elizabeth Gordon (1850 - 1926) married Hugh Robb
  • James Gordon (1853-?)

It appears that there may have been other children born in Ireland, but if so they died before the family came out to Australia. Both Alexander and Jane were baptised at St Anne's Church, Shankill Belfast, Alexander on 9 November 1834 and Jane on 21 September 1836.

William's shipping papers give his occupation as a Farm Labourer, while Jane's shipping papers give her occupation as a House Servant.

William and Jane, together with their children Alexander and Jane, came to Australia on the "Wilson", which left Greenock on 3 September 1841, and arrived in Sydney 126 days later on 7 January 1842. The ship stopped at Cape Goodhew on 16 November 1841, and spent 2 days there. John Miller brought out the family. There were also two girls under William's protection on the ship, Jane MacNimee (aged 16 - housemaid), the daughter of Martha MacNimee (a widow) and Ann Quin (aged 22, House Servant), the daughter of James and Jane Quin. Jane MacNimee was engaged by Mr Horton of Wollongong for a term of 30 months. She was apparently related to the Gordons, though exactly how has not yet been discovered. Nothing further is known about these girls.

William and his family lived in Sydney for about 4 years, before they moved to the Kiama/Jamberoo area. A son, William, was baptised at St Lawrence's in Sydney in 1842, and another son, Samuel, was baptised there in 1845. A son, Robert, was baptised in Wollongong in 1847, and a son, James, was born 14th February 1853. His Baptism Certificate states that William and Jane were living at "Fountaindale" Kiama. A daughter, Elizabeth, was born about 1850.

When the family first moved to the Kiama district, William ran the dairy farm portion of "Riversdale Estate", a large property in the Kiama area. Later, he purchased a property called "Summer Hill". The 1872 Greville's Post Office Directory lists William as a farmer at Jamberoo, and his sons, Alexander and Robert as farmers at Broughton's Creek. William sold "Summer Hill" on the death of his wife in 1879 and retired from active business and moved into Kiama.

William and Jane's son, Samuel, died of rheumatic fever, which according to his obituary, was caused by an accident whilst riding to Wollongong on Christmas Day. He apparently was dislodged from his horse, and fell into a creek. He continued his journey in wet clothes. His older brother, William, apparently also died from rheumatic fever. Samuel was a prime marksman, and a good cricketer.

Alexander Gordon (1834-1900)

Alexander Gordon was baptised on 9 November 1834, at St Anne's Church, Shankill Belfast. He came to Australia on the "Wilson" in 1842, with his parents and sister, Jane.

On the 15th May, 1861, Alexander married Sarah Young at the Schoolhouse at Jamberoo, N.S.W. Sarah was the daughter of Robert Young and Elizabeth Howard. The witnesses to the wedding were Robert and Henry Young. Alexander's occupation is listed as farmer. The children of this marriage were:

  • Jane Elizabeth Gordon (1861 - 1908) married Anthony Perry White
  • William James Gordon (1863 - 1946) married Emily Hayes
  • Margaret Ann Gordon (1864 - 1943) n.m
  • Robert Alexander Gordon (1866 - 1949) married Kate Agnes Louise Mooney
  • Henry Hamilton Gordon (1868 - 1940) married Ellen Margaret Croke
  • Sarah Priscilla Gordon (1870 - 1952) married William Spackman
  • Frances Louisa Gordon (1872 - 1965) married William Williams
  • John Samuel Gordon (1874 - 1876) n.m
  • Elizabeth Augusta Gordon (1876 - 1934) n.m
  • Ethel Maude Gordon (1879 - 1954) married William James

All ten of Alexander and Sarah's children were born in the Kiama/Jamberoo area, and nine of the children lived to adulthood. Their son, John Samuel, died of convulsions brought on by scarlet fever, when he was two years old.

Alexander was apparently a keen cricketer; he played in Kiama district teams against touring English teams, and frequently umpired matches in Goulburn. He was also the Vice-President of the Wallaroo Football Club (which according to Wyatt's "History of Goulburn" was a Rugby Union team). The pallbearers at Alexander's funeral were from the club.

According to Alexander's obituary, he was engaged in agriculture and dairying in the Kiama/Jamberoo area, before moving to the Goulburn district about 1890. He settled in the Bannister district in November 1890, and is recorded on the 1891 Census as living there, there were six males and eight females recorded in the household. He remained at Bannister until at least 1893 He then worked for a time at the Richlands Estate, before moving into Goulburn and taking over the licence of the Argyle Inn in 1895. According to Stephen Tazewell's "Grand Goulburn", the Argyle Inn was in Montague Street, and was originally opened in 1845. It was demolished in 1966 and is now the site of Newo House. Alexander was licencee for about 12 months, the licence was transferred from Mrs Flora McDonnell to him on 27 June 1895.

Alexander died at his residence "Argyle Cottage" in Sloane Street in 1900. "Argyle Cottage" was located near the Argyle Flour Mills (owned by William Connolly), which was located on the corner of Sloane and Clinton Streets. His wife, Sarah, and two of his daughters, Margaret and Edith (Elizabeth Augusta) later ran "Argyle Cottage" as a boarding house. Sarah is recorded on the 1901 Census as living in Sloane Street Goulburn, there were eight males and six females recorded in the household. Margaret was declared bankrupt in July 1916 with liabilities of 72 13/, and assets of 4, and her mother took over the business. Sarah, Margaret and Edith had moved to Sydney by July 1917, when Sarah died.

Argyle Cottage

Argyle Cottage (showing members of the previous owners, the Connolly family). Photo was taken sometime after 1854. With thanks to Imelda Wallace, a descendant of the Connolly family, for allowing me to use the photo on my site.

One of Alexander and Sarah's sons, Henry, was Manager of the Richlands Butter Factory, and also held the licence of the Royal Hotel in Taralga. He was not the Henry Gordon who was at one time the licensee of the Clifford Hotel (later called the Terminus Hotel).

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Robert Alexander Gordon (1866-1949)

Robert Alexander Gordon was born on the 29th January 1866 in Jamberoo, N.S.W. He married Kate Mooney on 27 November 1900 at St Ignatius Church, Taralga. Kate was given away by her cousin, Michael Croke, and was attended by Mary Mooney and Miss E Bartlett as bridesmaids. William McKenzie of Laggan was best man, and the priest was Peter McAlroy. Children of the marriage were:

  • Robert Tierney Alexander Gordon (1901 - 1968) married Mary Genevieve Rose Cunningham
  • Vincent Austin Kevin Gordon (1904 - 1974) married Dulcie Mabel Kelly
  • Mary Sarah Eileen Gordon (1908 - 1952) married Thomas Cabot
  • Lillian Mercia Gordon (1910 - 1971) n.m
  • Alma Jean Gordon (1912 - 1993) married Elwyn William Bowerman
  • Mavis Maria Gordon (1916 - 1916) n.m
  • Sheila Joan Gordon (1919 - 1921) n.m
Bert, Scottie and Mary Gordon

Robert (Bert), Kevin (Scottie) and Mary Gordon. Photo was taken sometime about 1908.

According to the 1901 Census (taken in March 1901), Robert and Kate lived in Bourke Street (in the general vicinity of Mundy Street). When their first child, Robert, was born in August 1901, their address given on his birth certificate was Mundy Street. Whilst I have not been able to prove this, it is possible they lived on the corner of Mundy and Bourke Streets. Robert worked as a railway labourer prior to taking over the licence of the Chatsbury Inn about 1907. The Chatsbury Post Office and Chatsbury Telephone Exchange (when phones were introduced) were located at the Chatsbury Inn, and operated by members of the Gordon Family.

Chatsbury circa 1901

Photo of Chatsbury Inn, taken about 1900. The people in the picture are members of the Martin family. The original photo is owned by Mrs Rita Tyrrell, a descendant of the Martin family.

In his early days, Robert's interests were in dairy farming and horse breeding and racing. He was apparently a good all-round sportsman, and a splendid cricketer. In his later years, football was his main sporting interest, following his team, no matter where they played or how cold it was. He also loved his garden. In his obituary, he was described as one of "Nature's gentleman".

Robert and Kate lost two daughters in infancy. Mavis died when she was two months old. She suffered from Spina Bifida. Sheila died when she was fourteen months old. Her death certificate gives her cause of death, as being from burns accidentally received through treading and falling on hot ashes. The remaining children all attended Chatsbury Public School, as did most of Bert Gordon's children. Bert and Scottie followed the family tradition of working on the land, while Lil and Jean continued the family tradition as hotelkeepers. Mary worked as a nurse.

In 1928, Robert Gordon transferred the licence of the Chatsbury Hotel to the Prince of Wales Hotel in Goulburn, and renamed it the Hotel Gordon. Prior to the Prince of Wales being built, there was a wine shop on the site. The Prince of Wales had several licencees, before being delicensed around 1910. After considerable rebuilding it eventually regained its licence around 1919, only to lose it again in 1924. It was then purchased by the Gordons in 1927, and reopened in 1928 as the Gordon Hotel. The Gordon Hotel stayed in the Gordon family until about 1993. Members of the Gordon family continued to live at the Chatsbury property and run the Post Office and Telephone Exchange there until 1966. Whilst no-one lived at the property from 1966, it was still farmed by members of the Gordon family until 1996.