The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Gordon, Adam Lindsay

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Gordon, Adam Lindsay, the favourite Australian poet, was the son of Captain Adam Gordon, and was born in 1833 at Fayal, in the Azores. He was educated at Cheltenham College, where his father was for some time Professor of Hindustani, and after passing on to another school was for a time at Woolwich, and, it is stated, kept some terms at Merton College, Oxford. After a somewhat stormy youth, he left England on August 7th, 1853, for South Australia, where he joined the mounted police as a trooper. Leaving the police, he became a horse-breaker, and married a Miss Park. In 1864 he received some £7,000 on his father's death, and on March 1st, 1865, was elected to the South Australian Legislative Assembly for the Victoria district. He was an occasional speaker in the House until his resignation on Nov. 10th, 1866. In 1867 he migrated to Victoria, and opened a livery stable at Ballarat. At this time he acquired a wide reputation as a daring steeplechase rider. In 1869 he removed to Melbourne, and settled in the suburban district of New Brighton. Prior to this he had published a collection of his poems at Mount Gambier, in South Australia. His second volume, "Sea Spray and Smoke Drift," published in 1867, gave him a reputation throughout Australia, and he was cordially welcomed in literary circles in Melbourne. But this bright outlook was only temporary, owing to the depression induced by the failure of his attempt to secure the reversion of the estate of Esselmont in Scotland. His "Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes," published in 1870, enhanced his fame, but he yielded to feelings of morbid discouragement and committed suicide by shooting himself on June 24th in that year. Another of his productions was "Ashtaroth, a Dramatic Lyric." A collected edition of his poems was published in 1880, edited by his friend Marcus Clarke, the novelist, who was associated with him as one of the early members of the Melbourne Yorick Club. Some additional poems, prose sketches, and his political speeches are printed in a memoir, by Mr. J. Howlett Ross, entitled "The Laureate of the Centaurs," issued in 1888.