Cornelius C Gorton was born in 1850 in Wolverhampton, England to japanner or varnisher, John Gorton, and his wife Eliza. He married Mary Ann Williams at Wednesfield, Wolverhampton on 11 September 1870. The 1881 census listed Gorton as married with three children living at 20 Worcester Street. It is unclear what happened to his wife Mary Ann, or to his children, as Gorton migrated to Sydney in about 1881. A marriage certificate from Victoria notes Gorton married Marion (May) Paterson in 1905, however, the couple had two children before that time, Ella May and Charles Creswell Gorton.
Gorton lived at Temple Street, Petersham in 1888, 16 Wilson Street, Redfern in 1890 and 56 Pitt Street, Redfern from 1903 until 1904. He owned the heritage-listed Victorian Gothic Villa at 95-101 Cambridge Street, Stanmore from 1892 until 1900, subdividing it over his eight year ownership. He lived at a double-fronted brick cottage named ‘Moton’ on Moseley Street, Strathfield near the railway station from about 1912 until he died there, on 10 September 1915, his estate valued at £13,307.
Occupation & interests
Gorton worked as an apprentice for a confectioner and also chandelier manufacturer in Wolverhampton, England before being listed as a ‘bicycle maker employing 40 hands’ by 1881. He worked as a builder and contractor shortly after his arrival in Sydney. The Cyclopedia of New South Wales described Gorton as a keen fisherman who followed all the works of the English writer, Izaak Walton, and spent his spare time ‘in the delightful surroundings of Port Hacking, from whose waters he has drawn many good hauls’. He was also a member of the Redfern Bowling Club. According to The Cyclopedia of New South Wales, Gorton built more than 400 houses and shops in the city and suburbs, and 12 years ‘of constant work had established his reputation and the ratepayers then made manifest their confidence by electing him to a seat at the municipal council’.
Cornelius Gorton was appointed a Justice of the Peace (JP) in 1902 and was involved in charity work.
Local government service
Gorton was nominated in November 1891. One advertisement in The Sydney Morning Herald requested ratepayers’ vote for a ‘practical man, and one who not only knows the wants of the Borough, but also how the works should be carried our, and will serve you well’. He was elected an alderman of Redfern by a majority of 11 votes on 14 November 1891 and served until 1910. He was elected Mayor of Redfern on 15 February 1893, serving until 1894 and then again in February 1905 to 1906.
The Cyclopedia of New South Wales. 1907. Sydney: McCarron, Stewart and Co, p 478
‘Late Mr. C. Gorton’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 October 1915, p. 12, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15618777