Alex Gory – he lived to 107
Mr Alex (Alick) Gory was a ”former Russian Cossack, cane cutter, tin miner, gold prospector, railway construction worker and peanut grower” and he has done everything that Northern Territory offered to its citizens.
Alex Gory was born in 1894 (per Alien registration papers) or on 15 May 1881 (per his admission) in a big 15-kid Cossack family from Southern Russia. We will probably never find out about his life in Russia or his full and true Russian name. Alex could stand for Alexander or Aleksey. Gory is short for something and is not Russian either.
In 1904 Alex went fighting in Russo-Japanese war 1904-1905 and was wounded in a leg when Japanese soldier bayoneted him.
In 1906 Alex decided to leave Russia and went wandering to Burma, India, Africa, Japan and Manila in Philippines. Then he decided to travel to Australia where he arrived to Cairns in Queensland in 1913 (with his brother?) and did cane cutting for couple of years.
When World War 1 broke out and Australian men were called up for service he decided to dodge the conscription and went to Northern Territory. ”War was cruel. I had enough of fighting”, Mr Gory said.
In 1915 he moved to Pine Creek and joined the miners at Yam Creek. Back then there were no cars, people travelled on horses or camels which were used for postal delivery in outback. Hard work at Pine Creek-Katherine railway line construction in 1917 and prospecting for tin the following years followed.
Mr Gory started a new life when he bought Claravale Station and tried growing peanuts. At one time he also had 600 goats. There was no shortage of food – milk, meat and vegetables home-grown at the station. When peanut farming stopped bringing money, he went back to work at railway construction or went droving livestock along Murranji Track. However, the work was hard and pay was low.
He decided to retire by growing vegetables and sold Claravale station in 1972.
Mr Gory celebrated his 100th birthday in 1981. As any other centenarian in Australia he received congratulations from the Queen and Prime Minister.
Alex lead a healthy life- he smoked but never drank, ate fresh homegrown veggies. Had ”a hard active life and bully beef and damper”. Never lost love for horses or telling stories.
According to everyone who knew him, Alex was a happy jovial person who ”fits in with everything”. Strange enough but after living in Australia most of his life and it was over 76 years, he retained the accent.
It was a big celebration in NT when Alex hit 100 years mark. Then newspapers reported his 104th. Alex surprised everyone by living past his 107th birthday. If we accept his given birthday as correct, he died on 18.2.1989 at the age of 107, three months short of reaching 108. He had no wife or kids.
”A bit of rum, a lot of hard work and a drop of good old Russian longevity” concluded Australian newspaper, ”helped Alex Gory get an extra big slice of everyone’s favorite cake -life.”
Alex Gory Park and Gory road in NT are named after him.
”A happy 100th for Cossack Alex”, 19.5.1981, Northern Territory News
”At 104, it’s Pine Creek for Alex” dated 21.5.1985 , Northern Territory News
”Rum, Russia and home grown vegies”, 26.2.1989, Sunday Territorian
© Tsvetana Spasova 2017