Henry Gordge was a boat-builder on the shores of the bay of Port Natal (now Durban), as well as a farmer and thatcher. In 1880 he was living in Congella, just south of central Durban, and qualified as a voter for members of the Legislative Council on the basis of property ownership. He was declared insolvent in 1887 and still resided at Congella in 1903.
Gordge collected birds for European collectors and the British Museum (Natural History) in his spare time, but his contributions were not of lasting importance. He is remembered mainly because he obtained, in Durban, the only specimen ever collected in South Africa of the Lesser Cuckoo (Cuculus poliocephalus), a migrant from Asia also found in East Africa.