Ronald Adrian Gordon was born on 24th January 1935, the eighth of 10 children born to Robert Alexander and Mary Genevieve Gordon (nee Cunningham). His birth was tinged with sadness, as his eldest sister, Moya, had died just three months before Ron was born after a prolonged illness.
During Ron’s childhood, his family variously lived at Chatsbury, Taralga, Rhyanna and Middle Arm. Ron started his schooling at Sacred Heart Primary School in Taralga and later attended Middle Arm School, which in later life he jokingly referred to as Middle Arm University. In such a large family there were no shortage of shenanigans and, no doubt in reference to his height, he earned the nickname “Stump” which stayed with him throughout his life. Despite wanting to become an architect, he left school at 14 to help his father on the family farm. He also built a good reputation as a shearer, travelling throughout southern NSW. And just as he had taken on the farm when he was called on to do so, during the 1950s he was called up for National Service.
Ron loved his sport. He played Rugby League for many seasons with the mighty Taralga Tigers, and was in the 1955 Premiership winning team in which he was voted most improved player for the season. His love of football carried on through his one-eyed support of his beloved Parramatta Eels. He was also a champion tennis player, and won many trophies in the Taralga and Goulburn competitions.
The Chatsbury Telephone Exchange was located on the Gordon’s property, operated by Ron’s mother Gena. Ron would frequently help his mother out operating the exchange and it was while working on the exchange that he got to know Nola Elliott, a telephonist with the PMG in Goulburn. They dated for a while, but eventually went their separate ways. Nola moved to Sydney to continue her employment with the PMG. On the night that she returned to Goulburn from Sydney, she caught a taxi from the railway station, which by chance was driven by Ron’s brother Bede. The stars must have been in alignment, because as fate would have it, Ron was at the station that night to speak to his brother, and saw Nola get into Bede’s taxi. He caught up with his brother later that night, to ask if Nola was back in Goulburn permanently, and where he had dropped her off. The next day, Ron went to see Nola, and the rest as they say was history. Ron and Nola were married on the 22 June 1963, at Our Lady of Fatima Church.
In the first few years following their marriage, Ron worked at Gulsons, Henness and Miller’s Bakery and Hope’s Cordials whilst still helping his father on the farm. After his father’s death in 1968, he took over the running of the family property at Chatsbury. Ron was a member of the Tarlo Bush Fire brigade for over 50 years, where for many years he was a deputy captain. He only finished up with the brigade in the 1990’s after the sale of the farm. His children, and nephews, Michael and Tony, remember fondly the times spent helping Ron on the farm, and the fun they had there with him.
During the drought years in the mid 1980s, Ron successfully gained employment at the newly opened RDM Distribution Centre, where he was variously employed as a gardener, handyman and forklift operator. He worked there for 15 years, while still working the farm at Chatsbury. Whilst at RDM, he also took on roles as Health and Safety Officer and Union Rep, roles which he took very seriously.
After the sale of the farm, previously hidden talents and interests came to the fore. Always a keen gardener, Ron took pride in his camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and roses. Ron started working with wood, and made many bowls, dishes fruit stands and pens on his lathe, which he gave to family and friends. He bought a converted minibus, and each year travelled to Mildura and Bungendore for the Country Music festivals.
Each year he got into the Christmas Spirit and his house at 106 Mary Street was one of the best in West Goulburn, decorated with lights and his own hand-made characters. When asked why he did it each year, his answer was that it was for the kids. He took great pleasure in watching their faces and hearing their joy when they came to see Santa, the nativity scene, Pokemons, Bob the Builder, penguins and other characters.
Ron was dedicated to his family and friends, and could be relied upon to be there whenever help was required. He never sought the limelight, but got on with what had to be done. He was a quiet, unassuming man, who was described as one of nature’s gentlemen. Family came first, and Ron and Nola readily made sacrifices and always put their children first, whether it was driving in Sydney (which he hated) to help Chris move house or driving Penny back to Canberra on Sunday nights for three years. Always a joker, family and friends were regularly on the receiving end of his practical jokes.
Ron’s death was most unexpected. He went into hospital for a hip replacement operation on 7th March. The surgery went well, unfortunately 4 days after the surgery something went wrong, and Ron ended up on life support. He was airlifted to Canberra Hospital on 12th March, and died there on 14th March, a week after his surgery. He was 72.
Ron is survived by his wife Nola, daughter Penny, and son and daughter-in-law Chris and Janet. His parents Bert and Gena Gordon predeceased him. Ron was a loved brother and brother-in-law of Moya (dec), Bob (dec) and Maude, Bede and Yvonne (dec), Kevin and Kath (both dec), Vince (dec) and Barbara, Geoff (dec), Nola (dec), Margaret and John Marshall, Robyn and George (dec) Cummins, Tom and Anne Elliott and Rhonda Thorpe, and a loved and cherished uncle to his many nieces and nephews.
His funeral was held at Sts Peter & Paul’s Cathedral on 21 March 2007 and was well attended, testament to the many friends he had made. The service featured involvement of many of his nieces and nephews. His son Chris wrote and delivered the eulogy and was a pall bearer along with Ron’s nephews Michael and Tony Gordon and his cousin Robert Bowerman. He was interred at St Patrick’s Cemetery Kenmore.