August is poetry month … why not dip into the works of Adam Lindsay Gordon?

This is a great opportunity to become acquainted, or re-acquainted, with Australia’s national poet – Adam Lindsay Gordon – who, according to fellow poet Henry Kendall, ‘… sang the first great songs these lands can claim to be their own.’

This year, on 19 October 2023, will be the 190th anniversary of the birth of Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Check out Gordon of Dingley Dell or Remembering Adam Lindsay Gordon (see in our ‘Shop’) to learn about the man, his life and some of his verses, many well-known, many still to be enjoyed. These words are probably the most-quoted lines of any of Gordon’s work:

Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand like stone,

Kindness in another’s trouble,

Courage in your own.

Adam Lindsay Gordon had a significant impact on the history of South Australia. He lived almost half his short life in Australia, spending 14 years in the south-east, where he was a trooper, horse breaker, politician, poet and steeplechase rider. An extraordinary horseman, his famous daredevil ‘leap’ alongside the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier has never been emulated. His former home, Dingley Dell Cottage at Port MacDonnell, is today a museum and a living memory to the man and his works – a place where the spirit of Adam Lindsay Gordon lives on. However, this beautiful cottage is awaiting a new lessee, following the retirement of its former caretakers and passionate Gordon devotees.

Lindsay, as he preferred to be called, arrived in Adelaide from England in 1853 at the age of 20, to start a new life in a new land, having been rejected by the girl he loved. Despite letters of introduction to influential people, with a love of horses and riding, Lindsay joined the South Australian Mounted Police as a trooper, initially based at the North Terrace barracks until transferred to Mount Gambier, and then to Penola, before he resigned to take on horse-breaking at various properties in the south-east. He was encouraged by Father Julian Tenison Woods and pioneer landholder John Riddoch to stand for Parliament. He won the election and represented the electorate of Victoria which comprised the whole of the area of South Australia between the River Murray and the Victorian border.

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