Puisne Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 27/04/1910 - 22/01/1929
Judge in Divorce, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 02/05/1910 - 04/12/1923
Sir Alexander Gordon was born on 22 May 1858 at Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Alexander Gordon, a barrister, and his wife Annie nee Chambers. His parents had arrived in Sydney on board the 'Maid of Judah' on 17 July 1857, along with three children. Alexander Senior was called to the New South Wales Bar on 1 August 1857. Sir Alexander was educated privately and at Repton School, Derbyshire, England. The family returned to England circa 1874 for his education but came back to Sydney on 31 April 1878 on board the 'Garome'. (1)
Sir Alexander Gordon was called to the New South Wales Bar on 31 July 1882, like his father before him. He read for the Bar with Gateward Coleridge Davis and Cecil Bedford Stephen. From 1 July 1880 to 30 June 1881, he was an Associate to Justice John Fletcher Hargrave, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Gordon practised in all jurisdictions and on the Northern Circuit, but specialised in equity and probate. His offices were at 128 Elizabeth Street, Sydney (1885), 89 Elizabeth Street (1887-1889), 67 Elizabeth Street (1890-1897) and 143 Phillip Street (1898-1910). His appointment as a King's Counsel was approved by the Executive Council on 23 February 1904. (2)
Gordon was appointed a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 27 April 1910. From 2 May 1910 he was Judge to exercise the Matrimonial Causes Jurisdiction, also known as Judge in Divorce. He continued this role until Justice Langer Meade Loftus Owen became Judge in Divorce on 5 December 1923. By 1924 Gordon was Senior Puisne Judge. On 16 April 1928 he went on leave prior to retiring from the Supreme Court on 22 January 1929. (3)
Gordon was made a Knight Bachelor on 3 June 1931 for his services as a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. (4)
On 26 September 1906 Gordon married Margaret Jane Thomas at her home town of New Quay, Cardiganshire, Wales. They had met in Sydney in December 1905 when Margaret, a mezzo-soprano, toured Australia with JC Williamson. (5)
Gordon and his wife were active in the community, especially in musicals and theatricals. Margaret Gordon used her talents to raise money for the Red Cross Society during World War I. She was a vice-president of the Australian Red Cross from 1940 to 1947. Between the wars she supported the Women's Hospital and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Sir Alexander Gordon was a vice-president of the Sydney Madrigal and Chamber Music Society and the Royal Philharmonic Society of Sydney, a Council member of Cranbrook School and St Luke's Hospital, and chairman of the Hospital Saturday Fund. Both husband and wife assisted the St John's Ambulance Association and the Karitane mothercraft training centre. He was also president of the Sydney Law Tennis Club and a vice-president of the New South Wales Cricket Association. (6)
Sir Alexander Gordon died in Sydney on 7 January 1942, survived by his wife and their son and daughter. (7)
1. Fred Johns, Johns's Notable Australians and Who's Who in Australasia, various, 1906, p.78; 1908, p.147; Fred Johns, Fred Johns's Annual, various, 1912, p.13; 1913, p.53; 1914, p.81; Fred Johns, Who's Who in the Commonwealth of Australia, various, 1922, p.108; 1927-8, p.103; Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, Herald and Weekly Press Ltd, 1933-4, p.142; 1935, p.204; 1938, p.216; 1941, p.296; Sydney Morning Herald 9 January 1942, p.5; Martha Rutledge, 'Gordon, Sir Alexander (1858-1942)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090681b.htm (cited 24 March 2009); KJ Cable, 'Gordon, Alexander (1815-1903)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A040303b.htm (cited 24 March 2009); 'Mariners and Ships in Australian Water', Maid of Judah, http://mariners.records.nsw.gov.au/1857/07/scan.asp?filename=032mai.gif (cited 25 March 2009); Supreme Court; NRS 13664, Roll of Barristers and Solicitors, 1824-1876; Fiche 852, p.6A; 'Mariners and Ships in Australian Water', Garome, http://mariners.records.nsw.gov.au/1878/04/media/095gar.jpg (cited 25 March 2009).
2. Barristers Admission Board; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 15 June 1876 - 1 December 1926; Reel 2147, p.2; Martha Rutledge, op.cit.; New South Wales Blue Book, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1880, p.64; 1881, p.65; Fred Johns, Johns's Annual, op.cit., 1912, p.13; New South Wales Law Almanac, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1883, p.25; 1885, p.26; 1887, p.23; 1890, p.34; 1898, p.37; 1910, p.49; Attorney General's Department [III]; NRS 333, Letters received - Special Bundles, 1874-1984; [10/42918] Correspondence re appointment of King's Counsels, 1898-1941; New South Wales Government Gazette, No.139, 8 March 1904, p.2073.
3. New South Wales Government Gazette, No.58, 27 April 1910, p.2270; No.63, 4 May 1910, p.2385; No.151, 7 December 1923, p.5698; State Reports New South Wales, Sydney, Law Book Company of Australasia Ltd, Vol.10, 1910, Memoranda; Vol.23, 1923; Vol.28, 1928, Memoranda; New South Wales Law Almanac for 1932, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1932, p.28.
4. It's an honour website http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au (cited 23 January 2008).
5. Martha Rutledge, op.cit.
7. ibid.; Australian Law Journal, Vol.15, p.300 (16 January 1942); Sydney Morning Herald 9 January 1942, p.5.