At Dingley Dell, Gordon found inspiration for many of his well-known poems in ‘Sea Spray and Smoke Drift’ and ‘Bush Ballads’ including ‘The Swimmer’, ‘Visions in the Smoke’ and ‘Song of the Surf’.
He also attended the local steeplechase races, where his horse Cadger became well known. When he was elected to the South Australian Parliament on 6 March 1865, Dingley Dell became his summer residence. Gordon was one of the more colourful members of the House of Assembly, spending much of his time sketching.
His electorate of Victoria covered the whole of South Australia between the Murray River and the Victorian border. During his time as a politician, Gordon was instrumental in partitioning for the first radio transmitter in Mount Gambier and the town’s first hospital.