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Jack & Bet (1950c)

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Ernest Norton Biographical Notes 1862 - 1944



Location of the Norton Homes in NSW


NORTON HISTORY of Betty Wilcox (nee Norton)

Notes compiled by Gai Woolhouse (nee Wilcox) youngest daughter of Betty Wilcox (nee Norton) and edited by Sidney Wilcox (her brother)

The father of Betty Wilcox, Ernest Augustus Norton, born 1862, was known as 'Billy' by friends, 'Fa-Fa' to grandchildren, was one of 8 boys and 4 sisters. All the brothers were sheep farmers.

Ernest, in 1902, married Helena Hague-Smith, born1872, known as Nell to friends and 'Nan' to grandchildren, was born in Auckland, New Zealand, the youngest of 9. After the death of her mother her father moved to Sydney while she was a small baby with Nan being fed on goat's milk on the voyage to Australia. Her father, Samuel Hague-Smith, re-married and Nan then had 4 step brothers and sisters.

The 4 children of Ernest & Helena -

Edward (Ted) died age 35 in an accident

Alice (Girl) m. Dudley Strelitz

Helen m. Tom Cordingly

Edith (Betty) m. Jack Wilcox


“Billy” (Fa-fa) Norton (Betty's father) was born, grew up and worked on the family property 'Tiara', managed by his father Edward. He was educated by tutors when he was not needed for work on the property. He attended The King's School.

He managed “Blythswood”, Quirindi, NSW, a sheep property owned by his grandfather.

Married to Helena Hague-Smith, Betty and all her siblings were born at 'Blythswood'.

Born in 1910 at 'Blythswood'. Betty was so tiny when born she was wrapped in cotton wool and placed by the fire and was nursed in bed by her mother.

There was a family feud over the “Blythswood” property. Two sisters sold their portion. Billy thought he had inherited the whole property. Billy was given a small home in Walcha sold to his brother Walter. When Bet was 4 the family moved to 'Tiara' at Walcha.

On his small portion of “Tiara” he lost his sheep when they ate sheep dip powder.

He then moved to “Limbri”, near Tamworth, which he bought. They suffered heavy sheep losses with disease, and moved again to take up share farming at a dairy also near Tamworth.

Then to Armidale where he built a house “Moor Park” on 40 acres with Cherry Orchards and 2 other fruits. Also an Apiary and a Metal Quarry. There was a spring on the property. (The property was lost in the depression).

After WWI, Billy and Nell moved with their family to a cherry orchard in Armidale, called 'Lonor' (derived from Lomas-Norton). Billy Norton's health deteriorated, eventually becoming lame with osteoarthritis. They moved to live in Sydney.

In ill health he got a block of flats in Manly where he and Helena lived. The business side was managed by his son Edward (Ted).

At one stage he had 2 properties in Elizabeth Bay. The agent who collected the rent went bankrupt. Billy got about 1/- in the pound.

He had osteoarthritis in the hip. Fa died of a heart attack in 1944, aged 82

Helena (Nan) Norton

Billy's wife Helena, Betty's mother, at age 82 lived on her own in a flat at Northwood until about age 83, then went to live with daughter. Bet, at Castlecrag in Sydney. She was an independent woman and kept excellent health. She enjoyed 'Horse Racing' and attended Randwick Races even at 92. Her health deteriorated at age 99, and due to incontinence and frailty went into the geriatric ward at Cabarisha Hospital in Castlecrag. She was only there a few months before dying in September 1971.


'Tiara', WaIcha, NSW

'Tiara' was purchased by the Norton family in the 1820's.

James Norton I was the 4th registered solicitor in Sydney and was followed by James II into Norton and Smith. The second son Edward was sent off to manage the newly acquired family property in Walcha. For sometime they owned 3 properties - Tiara, Waterloo, and Winterbourne. Tiara was the second house that was built. Pictures of it in its heyday show it was very grand. The garden had a huge circular drive and a border of roses.

The property has a graveyard which holds about 20 graves, a old wool-shed and outriders cottages.

David Cameron (a Norton descendant) bought the property from his brothers and sisters, except for 2 spinster sisters who remained on the place in the old house. David couldn't stand being so cold in the old house so built a new comfortable home for his family (two daughters). David also built a magnificent new, very efficient wool-shed.

Part of 'Tiara' was sold to another relation Tim Norton, so they shared a boundary fence and the wool-shed. David's part of the property was bought by another Norton relation in March 2002, but David will act as 'caretaker' for another year.

When Venie visited in March, 2002, she noted that Tiara was literally falling down. Now only the enormous trees remain and the garden is overgrown.


'MOORE PARK', Armidale, NSW Ernest Norton built a house called 'Moore Park' outside Armidale. This may have been one of Bet Wilcox's (nee Norton) childhood homes and had a cherry orchard which Bet used to talk about. Ernest (Fa-fa, as he was known to his grandchildren) lost this property in the depression. David Cameron mentioned a sad letter from Ernest asking if he and his family could go back to Tiara.

Moore Park is now a function centre with beautiful gardens.

Albert Norton wrote a small book called 'A Northward Flitting'. This book contains very descriptive essays about his early years droving cattle and sheep all around the area, even taking them to Melbourne. In the 1950's Albert bought land in Queensland which was beginning to boom. He become a successful grazier and a member of Parliament.