John Gorton was born in Melbourne in 1911 and lived most of his childhood in Sydney. He joined the RAAF on the outbreak of World War II, serving in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Darwin and Milne Bay (Papua New Guinea).

He was discharged with the rank of Flight Lieutenant in 1944 after being severely wounded during air operations.

John Gorton was elected to the Senate in 1949 as a senator for the state of Victoria. He entered the Menzies ministry in 1958 as Minister for the Navy, a position he held until 1963. He was subsequently Minister for Works (1963–67), Minister for the Interior (1963–64) and Minister for Education and Science (1966–68) in the governments of Menzies and Holt.

After Harold Holt disappeared in late 1967, Gorton became leader of the Liberal Party. John Gorton was Prime Minister of Australia from 1968 to 1971, when he was replaced as party leader by William McMahon.

Gorton resigned from the Liberal Party on 23 May 1975, sitting as an independent in the House of Representatives until the end of the parliamentary term.

John Gorton was appointed a member of the Privy Council and in 1971 a Companion of Honour. He was knighted in 1977, and appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1988.

Initiated Kerang Lodge No. 100 Victorian Constitution on 5 February 1948.