Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bill Jordan - New Zealnad

William "Bill" Jordan - New Zealand Labour Party

Born: Ramsgate, Kent
Founder of the New Zealand Labour Party

Bill Jordan was born at Ramsgate, Kent on 19th May 1879. His father was William Jordan Jordan a sea captain as was his grandfather, Jordan's mother was Elizabeth Ann Catt.

His father had been a member of the local Lifeboat crew who earned fame for exploits on the notorious Goodwin Sands.

The decline of the local fishing industry forced the Jordan family to move to London, where he attended St Luke's Parochial School (Old Street). His school career was satisfactory but brief, and having passed through the 7th Standard at the age of twelve, he left and was apprenticed to coach painting from which he resigned due to the exposure to lead poisoning.

Bill Jordan the entered the postal service in 1896 and reached a "responsible position" at the postal headquarters at Mount Pleasant, London's main post sorting centre.

It was while at Mount Pleasant that Jordan joined the progressive organisation the Fawcett Association, which had close links with the post office trade unions.

Jordan then joined the Metropolitan Police and was trained at Scotland Yard, before being stationed at Limehouse in the East End of London and later Forest Gate.

He emigrated to New Zealand in 1904 and undertook labouring, bush-farming, painting before opening a business as a trader in Waihi, moving on to Ngaruawahia.

Bill Jordan became first secretary of Wellington branch of Labour Party, becoming the first Secretary of the original Labour Party in 1907.
The Labour Party was formally established on 7 July 1916 in Wellington (Jordan became National President in 1932)

In February 1917, at the age of 37, he enlisted in the army. He had been married 17 days earlier, on 30 January, at Ngaruawahia, to Winifred Amy Bycroft, a draper's assistant. He joined the New Zealand Forces serving as a Sergent and saw active service in March 1918 being seriously wounded just two weeks later and was transferred to the Educational Staff of the New Zealand Extraordinary Force.

He returned to New Zealand in 1919 and stood unsuccessful for Labour at Raglan at the 1919 General election.

His election to the New Zealand parliament was the surprise of the at the 1922 election, defeating long term incumbent Sir Fredeick Lang for Manukau. Jordan remaining a Labour Member of Parliament until 1936, when he became New Zealand High Commissioner in London in September 1936.

He remained in London during World War Two and won great respect from New Zealand servicemen and women stationed in Britain during the War, for his tireless championing of their concerns.

William Joseph died Auckland, New Zealand on 8th April 1959

He left an estate valued at £28,040 and directed that the "Jordan Fruit Panel Bowl" originally presented to him by the London Fruit Panel, should be a trophy for cricket matches between England and New Zealand teams, on the lines of the England v Australia " Ashes"