152 years since death of Australia’s national poet

Today, 24 June 2022, marks 152 years since Australia’s national poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon, died by his own hand in tea-tree scrub near his home in Brighton, Victoria, aged just 36.

Lindsay Gordon, as he preferred to be known, arrived in South Australia on 14 November 1853, aged 20. Just 10 days later he enlisted as a Mounted Trooper and shortly after was sent to the south-east of South Australia where he was to spend 14 of his 17 years in Australia.

He was initially stationed at Gambierton (now Mount Gambier) on 14 February 1854, and six months later was transferred to Penola until he resigned from the South Australian Mounted Police in October 1855, to pursue an occupation in horse-breaking, as well as continuing to ride in steeplechase races in South Australia and over the border into Victoria’s Western District.

Prior to entering Parliament, Lindsay Gordon and his young wife Maggie had lived at Dingley Dell, Port MacDonnell, but they then rented a house on a large block of land in New Glenelg, where a plaque exists in Penzance Street to mark the site. Dingley Dell then became the couple’s summer residence and home during breaks in parliamentary sittings.

On 30 August 1864 Adam Lindsay Gordon had his first published work, a ballad titled The Feud, a pamphlet printed by Mount Gambier’s Border Watch, at a cost of At the end of 1864 he was encouraged to stand for, and won a seat in, the fourth South Australian Legislative Assembly, as the Member for Victoria, an electorate which covered the whole portion of South Australia from the River Murray to the SA/Victorian border.

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