About Gordon



Gordon Heywood

Photo of Gordon Heywood published by kind permission of West Coast Heritage Centre, Zeehan, Tasmania

The words of the 16-year-old Gordon Heywood in his diary give us a snapshot of his life as a schoolboy in St Ives, Cornwall, England.  But he had been born in South Australia and the first eight years of his life were spent there.  In 1886 he had sailed to England with his mother and stepfather, only two days after their marriage.  Exactly how long he spent living in England is yet to be discovered.  By 1899 he was achieving success in mining examinations at the South Australian School of Mines in Adelaide.  In 1904 he was living in Zeehan, Tasmania and he died there in 1950.

Gordon had a sad start to life.  He was born Edmund Eardley Gordon Heywood on 27 November 1877 in North Adelaide, South Australia.  His father, Eardley Thomas Louis Heywood died 19 days later ‘following on a fit’ at Barton Terrace, North Adelaide.  This was very likely the family home, where Gordon was born.

Gordon’s father had started out his life in Hampshire, England and came from a wealthy family.  Eardley Heywood moved to South Australia when he was 20, in the year 1842.  By 1844 he was the owner of 1,500 ewes, 200 wethers and 900 lambs in the Stanley district.  He lived at different times in Gawler, North Adelaide, Goolwa and Port Elliot and had his own steam launch on the River Murray.  Eardley married his first wife, Margaret Fleming, in 1851.  They had five children and, tragically, three of them died of diphtheria in 1859 within ten days of each other.  Margaret herself died on 7 August 1867, aged 38.  The two surviving children were Annie Maria Heywood (1851-1924) and Eardley Culling Heywood (1862-1939).

B-22878 (1)

Photo of Eardley T L Heywood (Gordon’s father) from State Library of South Australia

Gordon’s mother was Jane Louisa Heywood (nee Hill), who had been born in Keig, Aberdeenshire, Scotland on 27 October 1847.  In 1851, Jane sailed to Australia with her parents and younger sister.  They appear to have settled near Gawler, South Australia.  Jane’s father died there in 1864, at the age of 37 and her sister died the following year, at the age of 16.

Jane (referred to in some sources as Jeannie) married Eardley Heywood at Gawler Presbyterian Church on 16 December 1868.  She gave birth to a son, Gloucester Rivett Heywood on 7 December 1874 at Portee Station, River Murray, South Australia.  Jane was aged 30 when she gave birth to Gordon in North Adelaide.  His father was 55.

So, after Gordon’s father died unexpectedly, his mother had a new-born baby, and his brother, Gloucester, who had just turned three.  Eardley Heywood’s surviving daughter from his first marriage was married by this time.  His surviving son, Eardley Culling Heywood, was 15 years of age.

‘The Bunyip’ newspaper for Gawler published a glowing tribute to the memory of Eardley Heywood:  ‘Alas! That the kind heart of a warmhearted and true English gentleman has ceased to beat.  One of birth and breeding, second to few, an early colonist who has battled many long years with sunshine and with storm, who has passed over the heights and depths of colonial prosperity and adversity, has been suddenly called to go hence.  Few can ever leave behind them more kindly remembrances.’

An auction sale of Eardley Heywood’s property took place on 19 September 1879.  Gordon mentions in his diary, 8th March 1894: ‘I copied out the paper on my father’s estate’.  This is the only reference Gordon makes to his father in the diary.

On 8 March 1882, Gordon’s brother, Gloucester, died in South Terrace, Adelaide.  He was seven years old.

On 12 February 1886, Gordon’s mother re-married at The Semaphore, Adelaide, South Australia.  Her new husband was Captain Thomas Row Harry.  He was 51 and she was 38.

Captain Harry was born in St Ives, Cornwall and became a Master Mariner in 1858.  For many years he was Captain of the ‘Hesperus’.  Two days after their wedding, Captain Harry, the new Mrs Harry and eight-year-old Gordon left Australia on board the ‘Hesperus’ and set sail for England.

Gordon’s half-sister, Morwenna Margaret Eardley Harry, was born in St Ives, Cornwall on 14 October, 1886.  The household at 10 Barnoon Terrace, St Ives consisted of Captain Harry (when he was not away on his ship), Gordon’s mother, Gordon, Morwenna, Cissy and Charlotte (Captain Harry’s daughters from his first marriage), and Mamie Heywood who was born in 1883 in Australia and who may have been an illegitimate daughter of Captain Harry.  There would also have been at least one domestic servant.

Gordon became a weekly boarder at Hayle Grammar School, about seven miles from St Ives.  Information about his academic successes comes to us from The Cornishman newspaper.

The Cornishman, 7 August 1890: ‘Hayle Grammar School . . . Latin: class 3 Heywood (St Ives)’

The Cornishman, 28 January 1892:  ‘Hayle Grammar School – At the Christmas examination of the College-of-preceptors the following pupils of this school have been successful:- S W L Richards, 3rd class, 1st division; E G Heywood, 3rd class 1st division . . . ’

The Cornishman, 9 March 1893:  ‘Hayle Grammar School – Among the students under 16 who satisfied the examiners at the Christmas Cambridge local examination are Sydney Richards and Gordon Heywood, of this school.’

The Cornishman, 10 August 1893:  ‘Hayle Grammar School – Prize – Arithmetic – Class I, E E G Heywood’

The Cornishman, 9 August 1894:  ‘Hayle Grammar School – At the annual distribution of prizes and certificates at Hayle Grammar School on Friday, the Principal, Mr Wagner, expressed his pleasure at the continued prosperity of the school, as shown by the number of pupils on the roll and by the very satisfactory number of successes (there being no failure for the year) gained by pupils at various examinations.  These included honors at the Cambridge local, good results at the College-of-preceptors and Pharmaceutical preliminary, and speed-certificates in shorthand, very few being obtained by either public or private schools in the county.  It was also proved by the excellent papers turned out by the majority of the boys in each class at the yearly examination just concluded, on the result of which the following prizes (handsome books) were handed to the winners:  . . . Drawing, class 1, E E G Heywood; . . .  Shorthand speed certificates, E E G Heywood . . .

The Cornishman, 27 December 1894:  ‘Hayle Grammar School – Success in Shorthand – Gordon Heywood, of St Ives, and Stephen H Michell, of Hayle, both pupils of this school, have just obtained speed certificates for 80 words per minute from Sir Isaac Pitman.  The test consisted of 800 words and the accurate transcription of the shorthand notes into longhand in a given time.  The chairman of the local committee was the Rev A G Stallard, MA.  The teacher is Mr G T Cock, Honours’ man, FNPS.’

The Cornishman, 23 May 1895:  ‘Hayle Grammar School – Gratifying Success – Mr E E Gordon Heywood (son of Mrs Harry, St Ives) who has been a pupil of this school several years, has just passed the preliminary examination of the Incorporated law society.  Mr Heywood is all the more to be congratulated, as the present standard of the examination, embracing classics, mathematics and English subjects, is very high, and the percentage of passes usually very small.’

The Cornishman, 8 August 1895  ‘Hayle Grammar School – At the annual distribution of prizes at Hayle Grammar School, the head master, Mr Wagner, in his address to the pupils, said he felt quite gratified at being able to announce that the year’s successes were the highest and best recorded in the history of the school.  (Applause)  The splendid achievement of the two brothers, James and Sydney Richards, in passing the London University matriculation, the one in the 1st, the other in the 2nd division, both on the first trial, and one at the youngest possible age, would alone attest the efficiency of the teaching and reflect honour on the school and also on the locality, for Hayle was their home.  (Prolonged applause)  They mastered two successes at the Cambridge local examination.  One deserved special mention – Stephen H Michell, another Hayle lad.  (applause) – who was placed in the second class honours’ list with two distinctions.  The second also included passes in preliminary law and pharmaceutical, College-of-preceptors, and speed, proficiency and elementary certificates from Sir Isaac Pitman.  It was altogether a list which any school might feel justly proud of.  (Loud applause)  It was also gratifying to be able to state that the pupils had been perfectly free from illness during the term.  (Hear, hear)  . . . Preliminary Law – Gordon Heywood (St Ives) . . . Shorthand – Speed: Stephen H Mitchell, Gordon Heywood.’

Some time after his successes in 1895, Gordon travelled to South Australia where he was a student at The South Australian School of Mines in Adelaide.

The Advertiser, Adelaide, 16 December 1899 reported that Gordon had achieved the following examination successes:  2nd Prize for Carpentry Class – homework and terminal exam; Chemistry, 1st year – First Class; Mathematics, 1st year – Second Class; Physics, Elementary – Third Class; Drawing, Freehand, First Grade – Third Class; Geometry, First Grade – Second Class.

The following year, The Advertiser, Adelaide, 15 December 1900 reported that Gordon continued to be successful at The South Australian School of Mines: 2nd year Science Classes: Assaying – Third Class; Preliminary Metallurgy and Assaying – Second Class.  Chemistry, First Year (metals only) – Third Class.  Geology – Third Class.  Machine Design, Elementary – First Class.  Mineralogy – Second Class.

The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia, 14 December 1901:



‘Department of Mining – *Edmund Eardley Gordon Heywood.

‘*Has passed all the necessary examinations for the associate diploma in mining but is required further to supply satisfactory evidence to the council of having worked in a mine or mines for six months not necessarily continuously.  The presentation of his diploma is therefore deferred.


‘Special prizes, surveying plans and notebooks – second prize (10 6), Edmund Eardley Gordon Heywood.

‘SCIENCE CLASSES – Advanced Assaying – Mining Course.  Second class – Edmund Eardley Gordon Heywood.  Mining – Second class – Edmund Eardley Gordon Heywood.  Ore dressing – Second class – Edmund Eardley Gordon Heywood.  Surveying – First class – Edmund Eardley Gordon Heywood’

A searchable database from the National Library of Australia gives some information about Gordon’s life which was based in Zeehan, Tasmania.

The Hobart Gazette and Tasmanian Government Gazette from 1904 to 1911 records Gordon having a ‘Hut’ at Zeehan Mine, Dodds Street.  From 1912 to 1919 this is recorded as a ‘Hut & Reduction Works’.

The Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania), 9 November 1911: 


‘Mr Gordon Heywood intends sampling several tons of slimes tomorrow at the smelters.  A parcel has been won from the tailings taken from a creek running through the Zeehan company’s sections.’

The Advocate (Burnie, Tasmania), 21 December 1923:


‘John Cornish and Gordon Heywood, who are developing the Tasman and Crown Lyell mine, have just produced the first ore, a sample of 811 bags, weighing about 40 tons.  The metal assays about 40 per cent lead and 25 ounces of silver per ton.  This is the first ore won at the mine for several years.’

Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania) – 26 March 1928

‘HORSESHOE SYNDICATE – Elated at Find – Old Crown Developments

‘The Examiner’s Zeehan correspondent writes:

‘The Horseshoe Syndicate’s latest developments at the Old Crown (Lyell Comstock, Mount Lyell), have created great interest in mining circles.

‘For the past five years, a Zeehan syndicate comprising Messrs J Reynolds, John Cornish (mine manager for the syndicate), and Gordon Heywood has developed the Old Crown Lyell sections.  This company in the early days expended quite a small fortune in developing the property.  They opened up a large ore body going east and west.  The mineral which in this company’s day proved a bugbear – zinc – entitled the company to a penalty for the zinc being a portion of the product from the mine.

‘To-day zinc, next to tin, is the most important metal, and for what the original company suffered from, this, the Zeehan syndicate of three, is going to reap the benefit.

‘As mine manager, Mr John Cornish informed the Zeehan representative of “The Examiner” that the big development could be claimed to be the most important development that had been unearthed in the mining industry in Tasmania to date.  Developmental work had been in progress for only five years and the results had been proved enormous, there being bodies of high grade ore, containing silver, lead, zinc, and gold. . . .

‘The syndicate has for some time past been negotiating with Victorian investors for the sale of the property.  Fortunately for the syndicate, negotiations “hung fire”, and unfortunately for those Victorian investors, they are now out of the hunt, as the negotiations fell through.  The syndicate of three are naturally elated, and their numerous friends wish them the best of luck.’

Gordon made visits back to his family in England from time to time.  The one in 1926/7 was particularly lengthy:

Advocate (Burnie, Tasmania), 5 June 1926 – ‘Zeehan – Mr Gordon Heywood left on Tuesday for Melbourne en route for England, where he will spend a holiday with relatives.’

12 July 1926Passenger List – arrived London, England – Edmund Heywood, occupation miner coal, age 49, address in England – 5 Park Avenue, St Ives, Cornwall.  This was the address of his mother.  He stayed in England for a long time, leaving on the ‘Jervis Bay’ on 29 March 1927.  The Advocate newspaper (Burnie, Tasmania) for 14 May 1927 reported that, ‘Mr Gordon Heywood has returned to Zeehan after a lengthy holiday visiting relatives in England.’  Was this the last time he saw his mother?  She died on 30 June 1928.

In 1943, Gordon was quoted in the Adelaide Chronicle:  ‘I am 65 now and am fond of the bike and motorbike.’  In fact, Gordon had been a founding member and patron of the Zeehan Motor Cycle Club in April 1937.

Gordon died suddenly, on 27 May 1950 at the Zeehan District Hospital, aged 73.  His funeral was in the Methodist Church, Smithton on Wednesday, 31 May at 2 pm, after which his remains were buried at Stanley Cemetery.


Gordon headstone

Photo of Gordon Heywood’s Headstone from Australian Cemeteries Index

After the funeral the following was printed in The Advocate (Burnie, Tasmania) on 14 June 1950:

‘Mr Ern and Miss Edith Coleman wish sincerely to thank all kind friends for letters, cards, telegrams and floral tributes; also Matron, Dr and all kind friends, in the sudden bereavement of a dear and lifelong friend, Mr Gordon Heywood.’

Who were Ern and Edith Coleman?  I thought this would be one mystery I would never solve but I then found the following report of a funeral, in which Gordon was mentioned:

Advocate (Burnie, Tasmania) – 14 October 1949

‘MRS EDITH COLEMAN – Mrs Edith Coleman, who died at “Islington”, Smithton, at the age of 83, was a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Robert Mulley Pollard and was born at Islington (Eng). . . . Her late husband, Mr Henry William Coleman, was the discoverer of the first lode at North Lyell.  The late Mrs Coleman spent 48 years with her husband at Zeehan. . . .

‘. . . chief mourners Miss Edith Coleman (daughter), Mr Ernest Coleman (son) and Mr G E Heywood (formerly of Zeehan), who has resided with the family for more than 30 years.’

I was surprised to be able to obtain a copy of Gordon’s will.  Miss Edith Coleman again featured, being left a legacy.  Another friend in Tasmania, Miss Beatrice Olive Handley, also received a legacy.  Gordon’s will states that she was the sister of Everard William Handley, Chief Assayer.  The following reveals the link between Gordon and Everard.

RECOLLECTIONS OF MURIEL HANDLEY by Muriel and John Handley, 1996 in Baha’I Library Online

‘Everard Handley, who later became my husband, was forced through circumstances to leave school when he was only eleven years of age.  The family then lived in Zeehan . . . It was fortunate for Everard that his family became involved with a Mr Gordon Heywood who was a Cornish man then living in Zeehan, and who was interested and occupied in various mining ventures.  It seems that Gordon took Everard under his wing, encouraged him to attend the School of Mines and began to educate himself.’

Here are Gordon and Everard Handley in 1911:


Heywood and Handley

Photograph of Gordon Heywood and Everard Handley in 1911 reproduced by kind permission of West Coast Heritage Centre, Zeehan

Gordon’s address in Zeehan for many years was 1 Shaw Street; this land is currently for sale:

1Shaw Street Zeehan

Photo of 1 Shaw Street, Zeehan with permission of Harcourts


©Kathryn Baird, 2016


  1. You’ve done a great job of bringing Gordon to life Kathryn. There’s some excellent research there. I was delighted to see the mention of Ern and Edith Coleman.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Edith (“Ede”) back in January 1976 when my husband and I were on a road trip on the west coast of Tasmania. We had only been married just before Christmas.

    When we arrived at Trial Harbour in our Kombi van we were enthusiastically greeted by Ede, who was extremely excited to see visitors. At that stage, she and Ern were the only permanent residents there. Ern had built a “house” for his sister Ede, who came down from Smithton to “look after him” every 3 months. She would live 3 months at Trial and 3 months back in civilisation at Smithton. Ede’s “house” was an assortment of cobbled-together timber and fibro (from memory), with a corrugated iron chimney. Ern himself lived in a tiny slab hut, again with a corrugated iron chimney.

    We did meet Ern, but only briefly. He preferred to live on his own, and was something of a hermit I think. Ede, on the other hand, was delighted to have someone to talk to, and invited us to stay with her for the night. Given that the road from Zeehan, at that stage, was really horrendous, and it had taken us over an hour to travel the 10 miles, we gratefully accepted the offer! Despite the primitive accommodation (with outback dunny and kerosene lamplight), Ede was a delightful and entertaining hostess!

    Trial Harbour is an absolutely magnificent place. The scenery is breathtaking. However the closest facilities are 10 miles away at Zeehan. Ede had a little garden plot out towards the point where the museum is today, and that helped provide them with fresh vegies.Ede was in her garden when we first met her. Ern used to walk into town (Zeehan) once a fortnight for meat, bread and other supplies.

    There is a street in Trial Harbour today called “Ernies Drive”. Fortunately, the road in from Zeehan is much improved since 1976!


    1. Thank you very much for sharing; I really appreciate this picture of Ede and Ern and their way of life. It’s a wonderful addition to this blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Yes, this was ‘my birthday’.  Gordon was born in 1877 in North Adelaide, Australia.  For more about him, read About Gordon  […]


  3. […] Read more of the transcript of Gordon Heywood’s 1894 shorthand diary here and about Gordon here. […]


  4. Abigail · · Reply

    Catherine was my great great grandmother. Her daughter, Mary, remained at 10 Barnoon Terrace until 1990. It would be my assumption that this would be the house clearance the diary came from. Thank you for making this diary available so I can read about my family

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for getting in touch. I can imagine that Gordon’s diary was tucked away somewhere at 10 Barnoon Terrace. It’s remarkable that the family lived in the same house for so long. While I was transcribing the diary I had to do a lot of research into his family in order to understand his relationship to the people he mentioned. It was a fascinating project and I am very pleased that you have ‘discovered’ Gordon’s diary.


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