SS "Wilcannia" 1888
Fawcett coat of arms

Gordon Alexander Fawcett 1935

Gordon Alexander Fawcett was born in Grafton, NSW in 1935. The son of Walter Robert Fawcett Jr. (1907 – 1968) and Martha Elizabeth Mackay (1912–1992).Gordon as a baby with his mother at Joe Host‘s place, Central Bucca His name has Scottish roots – his second name is that of his maternal (Mackay) Grandfather.
The family‘s first home was in Central Bucca, where Mat lived and his parents were in close proximity to WRD Fawcett and Cora Fawcett (nee Diacono) (his paternal Grandparent‘s farm). The communities of that era were spread far and wide in the bushland of the country, but they were also close knit. It was the “Depression” years and folk were poor.Gordon at 3 yrs at Joe Host‘s Central Bucca The War years that followed found the family living in Lane Cove, on the river in Sydney New South Wales, and Walter Robert Jr worked in Balmain. He can be found on the 1943 Electoral Rolls for Parramatta. By this time, Gordon had a brother Geoffrey Richard (Geoff) (1938 – ) and a sister, Walda Lillian (1940 – ) After 1943, the family moved back to Coffs Harbour and lived in Moore Street at what was then called Coffs Harbour Jetty. They lived in this house for a year later moving because his father had bought a house on the Bellingen Road, leading South out of Coff‘s Harbour.
One of the great things the Bellingen Road home had, was exotic fruit trees. Gordon, Geoff and Walda, spent much of their time in their branches. Indeed, the continuous intake of Vitamin C laden fruit made it virtually impossible for the children to get the Flu or Common Colds.Gordon with his father and brother, Geoff at Lane Cove River, car Morris 10/4
In 1949, his father broke his back in a “snigging” accident in the bush. Walter Jr was hauling a log behind a tractor when the log caught on a stump, stood upright and came crashing down on the tractor striking his head and driving the force downward through his spine. At that time there were no safety/roll bars on tractors. Walter spent over a year in a full torso plaster cast. He was never the same after the accident.Gordon with bother Geoff and siter, Walda Bellingen Road wasn‘t a “normal” suburban used to be a Service Station for motor cars...not that there were many on the roads in those early years. There was plenty of space for Walter to indulge in the repair of trucks and cars. and, after his accident, a source of money in spare parts.
A large shed on the property was laden with truck, and car spares. Spanning its rafters were several boards that the children turned into a cubby house...why it didn‘t fall and do an injury is anyone‘s guess. Gordon and his brother, Geoff were great mates and would mess with the old cars and trucks that their father would have in the front yard of their home. Many, stripped of their accoutrements but still possessing worthwhile spare parts.Gordon in Syndey at his mother‘s home unit
All three children had pushbikes and would sell mulberries and loquats from the orchard in their back yard to nearby residents for the ladies to stew, make jam and preserves. A small billycan–full was 6d, and larger ones 9d or a shilling. (5 cents, 9 cents or 10 cents before decimal currency). This money was saved and often channeled into fireworks for “Empire Day” night also for the Saturday afternoon matinee at the "flicks" in the "Tasma" theatre. The brothers would haul logs, and dead branches to pile high for a bonfire, then add some old tyres and sump oil for good measure. Cracker night was great fun.Gordon and new wife Dorothea Becker, Alice Springs 1969 Gordon was a tall child and grew rapidly, almost outstripping his father by the time he was 13 years old. His mother was a seamstress but when rationing was on during the War years and later, when money was short, she found it difficult to keep him in clothing that would fit.
Far from being financial comfortable, the family struggled after Walter‘s accident. Christmases were usually lean, but Gordon and his brother and sister made the most of it, most often spending Christmas Day with cousins at Moonee Beach, north of Coffs Harbour. Gordon , Geoff and a cousin Les, would roam the headlands, looking for Lily–pillies and go fishing and swimming . Les owned a Canadian Canoe, which was great sport. There is one memory which harkened back to the days of putting silver coins into Christmas Puddings. The cook of the day would know where they were placed in a portion, and the pudding was served. Everyone found a silver coin Gordon‘s case, one Christmas pudding was different.Gordon and daughter, Nicoletta 1975 His Uncle Les had told him there was a one pound note in the pudding. A lot of money if one could find it, and with left over pudding and no note found, Gordon determined he would find it...alas, no note – Gordon suffered tummy trouble either thinking he had eaten it or from the sheer gastronomic feat of devouring pudding in the search. Like his siblings, Gordon was educated at St. Augustine‘s Convent School in Coff‘s Harbour. To earn extra money he would help deliver bread from a horse drawn bread–cart. Gordon aged 70, Hervey Bay
His father, who never fully recovered from his accident, still managed to “do a load“ of logs from Pine Creek early some mornings. Getting up (as he always did) at 3 a.m. Walter would get Gordon out of bed and the two of them would set off – returning with the logs around 8:00 a.m. in time for Gordon to get ready for school and for himself to start work at the mill. These trips were not every morning as his father would not have been able to do that. The logs were pulled by a horse, so at best about two loads per week was the lot, and only in fine weather. When Gordon was about 16 he worked in the Earl Street (Coffs Harbour) case mill for a year. During this time he sustained an injury to his back. – very reminiscent of his father‘s accident. The injury happened while helping his father load short length case logs onto his little green Ford Blitz (truck) at Pine Creek. He attempted to roll a log that was too heavy for him and strained something. The injury later required surgery and pain dogged his life thereafter.Gordon and Dorothea at Sharon‘s wedding Manly Queensland, 2006 Gordon left Coff‘s in the winter of 1952 to care for his ailing Grandfather at Hurstville, in Sydney. He never returned. Geoff was away at cadet camp in Singleton at the time and returned home to find his brother gone. Although no–one realised it at the time, Gordon‘s departure was a major blow to Geoff.
With Gordon gone, Geoff took over helping his father on these log trips and did so for quite a long time. Walter later bought a truck and jinker trailer and with a tractor, pulled the logs in long lengths. Gordon continued to live in Sydney, helping his step–grandmother, Mabel Bongers, with her Boarding House. During this time, he became a driving instructor and was also studying Accountancy. Mabel had a son living in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. After her husband‘s death, she sold up the Boarding House in Hurstville, and moved to Alice Springs. Gordon followed.
Working in Accountancy, he eventually married Dorothea Becker, a German nurse, working at the hospital in Alice Springs. It was 1969. Sadly, their first child, Mary Louise, died at birth. Gordon then moved to Germany where he spent 10 years working for the American Army. In 1975, their daughter, Nicoletta Elizabeth was born. Gordon and Dorothea returned to Australia and again, settled down in Alice Springs. In time, retirement was to be considered. Plagued by ill–health, he and Dorothea made their final move to Hervey Bay in Queensland in 2009.
Page last updated ~ December 3, 2010