Janet Isabel “Jean” Gordon was born in Newcastle in April 2013, and lived and was educated there until she came to Sydney to enlist in Women’s Australian National Service. She was commissioned in the Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force and served as a cipher officer at the RAAF navigation and flying school in Melbourne. During her war service, she got a special thrill one day when she deciphered a message others had found too hard to read. She found it was a personal message from Winston Churchill to General Douglas Macarthur, thanking him for his support in recent campaigns.
Post World War II, and having had responsibilities during the war she was more ambitious when she demobilised, so decided to study accountancy. She qualified in accountancy in 1959, becoming an associate of the Australian Society of Accountants. Jean also joined the Women’s Accountants Group and served as its chairperson.
She became more orientated towards research investments analysis, and worked for a number of stockbroking firms, later becoming office manager for John Tonkin. After working in office management, she transferred to research, working in the research department of Neil & Patridge.
In 1967 she became associated with John Sweeney when he opened his stockbroking firm. She was then Sydney’s only female stockbroker. She attended an Investment in Australia Symposium in Melbourne as the only female delegate. She had to fight to get her partnership, which she achieved in 1973. In 1975 she bought a seat on the Sydney Stock Exchange, first in partnership with Sweeney and later as in individual member. She was the first female stockbroker in the Sydney Stock Exchange.
Within the Zonta Club of Sydney Jean held a number of offices, including President in 1973 as well as being Treasurer from 1968 – 1973 when she took over the presidency. She also served as Secretary. She was a member of the Zonta Club of Sydney for over 25 years.
In retirement from stockbroking, Jean attended Art School and took up painting, exhibiting and selling works as well as winning prizes.
Reference – Malcolm Brown, ‘Gordon, Janet Isabel (Jean) (1913–2011)’, Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://womenaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/gordon-janet-isabel-jean-16822/text28716, accessed 10 October 2020