Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Poet Gordon

Adam Lindsay Gordon is an important person in the history of Australian literature. I hold Andrew (Banjo) Patterson and Henry Lawson very highly in my esteem of dead Aussie poets/writers, Adam Lindsay Gordon somewhat lower, because I have no idea of any of his work.

But I know his name, so he worth a post.

Worth a post really that is because outside the Marine Hotel where we et last Saturday with the Brighton Antique Dealer, is a hitching post where he used to tie his horse while he popped in for a Stella or two. It seems to preserved in its original location. The hotel is very old, but you would not know it as it thoroughly modern and posh now. We dined in the public bar, looking down on the suits who were paying considerably more. Ok, while the proper dining area had meals for under $30, there were acutally people there in suits.

The pic above is the hitching post. Perhaps you can remind me of something important he wrote? The text on the plaque reads,

Adam Lindsay Gordon
Poet and Horseman
Tethered his horse to this hitching post
During his residence in Brighton 1869 - 1870
A shining soul with syllables of fire
who sang the first great songs
these lands can claim (Kendall)
Preserved and dedicated to his memory by
The United Licensed Victuallers Association
20th October 1945


  1. You see, that's the thing about not having a lot of history, what you have you treat with respect. Over here they rip it up, flog it off to the Yanks, build motorways on it...basically they couldn't give a stuff. Shakespeare's house? Does anyone care! Tear it down and build a block of flats on it. Chaucer's bed? It makes the place look untidy. Chop it up for firewood. Over in Oz, a lump of wood that some poet the rest of the world's never heard of (and even the residents have never actually read perhaps) allegedly used to tie his horse to and you surround it by railings and give it a plaque. I really wish the authorities over here would be that considerate.

  2. Oh, Andrew! Wash your mouth out!
    ALG was one of the talented sort who shone at everything (including his famous leap at Blue Lake, Mt Gambier) but then everything began turning to shyte and he topped himself on Brighton Beach just as his second (successful) book of poetry was published.
    He's the only Aussie poet with a dedication in the Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey in the Old Dart.

  3. No idea, but I do plan on going to the links Jayne gave us to learn of him.

  4. Appreciate your point Brian, but it not quite as bad as that there. We too have lost plenty.

    Jayne, I had heard the bit about Westminster Abbey. I, like Cazzie, will follow your links.

  5. I remember standing out front of Beethoven's house in Bonn, and wondering which window his chamber pot was emptied out of.

    Actually, it also puts me in mind of a small park in Zeehan, which is endearingly titled the "Eileen Joyce Memorial Reserve". Not sure whether our Eileen was born on that spot, tethered a horse there, or habitually emptied her chamber pot in the bushes behind the bench, but it always struck me as kind of sad considering she always claimed to have hated Zeehan (if she even bothered to mention it). But at least the local council embraced her as the town's only famous birth. It's important that we cherish these sometimes tenuous links...even if we don't know who the hell it's all about.

    Great post, by the way - and a blog I should definitely find more time to read...

  6. 50 years ago I idolised ALG, as all pre-Saddle Club horsey-girls did.
    and that was before I found out he stayed with some ancestors of mine at their western district homestead.
    I used to drink at The Marine after work on Friday nights, and I've drunk a fair bit at Craig's in Ballarat, where, as we speak, they are ripping the guts out of the Livery Stables where he lived, to make some trendoid bar.
    His cottage is in Ballarat Botanical Gardens too.
    he was probably gay.
    bless his memory.
    and the horse he rode in on.
    mwah mwah

  7. Me, hopefully his chamber pot was poured onto the roof, to run down the downpipes before it hit the streets.

    Eileen Joyce is so famous, I don't know who she is. Google tells me Zeehan is in Tassie. And, ah, a pianist. A very famous one. How come I have only heard the name but know nothing of her? North Islander ignorance methinks. Get on to it Jayne.

    Oh, and Me, my blog is very varied. It may not consistently be of interest.

    You are another horsey type then Ann, along with LiD? I don't like them at all. I bet the Marine was very different to what it is now. I used to have two beautiful prints, one of the Shamrock in Bendigo, the other of Craig's Hotel in the Rat. A for the stable conversion, well it can be done and history preserved. Btw, ALG was married, so he could not possibly gay. You have been around Ann, you must know that.

  8. Dear Hot A,
    I have been around.
    I know gays with wives and children.
    one's a blogger.
    he says so.

    mwah mwah

  9. O Lucky Man! (1973) Malcolm McDowell, Lindsay Anderson -

    MICK: Adam Lindsay Gordon. He was a poet.
    MRS. RICHARDS: More of a fool, ..... I think, came from the fact that he was a homosexual who couldn't show it, ...

    And in the April 2000 issue of The Uranian Soc magazine, Ian Purcell wrote on 'Was ALG Gay?'

    Just sayin, in a "In And Out' (movie) sort of way

  10. All very interesting Ann. Thanks.

  11. I am a descendant of William Robertson's son James and here is a cut n paste from the web:
    William & John ROBERTSON - purchased Wando Vale Station 1854, and held it until May 1867.
    They had come from "ROBERTSON's Station" near Navarre, holding that run from February 1845 to March 1848. They next held "Kinkell" and "Woodford" both near Dartmoor, from May 1853 to to August 1866. They held "Ellengowan" near Narrawong from November 1849 to February 1852, "Struan", north-east of Merino from January 1841 to April 1867. William ROBERTSON had six children, five sons and one daughter, the youngest being twin sons. The big stone stables at Wando Vale were built by William ROBERTSON in 1863. Adam Lindsay GORDON was a frequent visitor to Wando Vale, both being great lovers of horses.

  12. Ann, you are now tainted with the smell of squatocracy.

  13. not at all - the rich family disinherited James Robertson when he married my grandmother's grandmother in 1865.

    Tonight I was guugling "Jean Shrimpton" and got a Melb blog www.middlemiss.something, with a post on ALG and the statue of him -
    "Spring Street, Melbourne, near the corner of Collins Street, in Gordon Reserve. It was erected in 1932 and funded by public subscription."

  14. Now RH mentioned one up there too Ann, but I don't think it was ALG. RH's slipped my mind.

  15. ... but wait!
    That's not all -
    "He was Vietnamese born and although he had been married and had a teenage son, he was very gay when we met him"
    "BTW, ALG was married, so he could not possibly gay. You have been around Ann, you must know that"

    = Gotcha!

    I hope the apartment tonight is crummy (so R won't want one)
    but I hope the party is absolutely fabulous.
    mwah mwah

  16. Dear Ann, it would hardly be the first time I have contradicted myself.

    Apt was ok, I will write about it later.