Southampton, England on 31 December 1854 the third son of Captain William
Norman (1812-69) commander of HMS Victoria who died whilst visiting
England for the purpose of bringing out HMS Cerberus. Arriving in
Victoria in May 1855, Charles was educated at Williamstown Grammar School
and later Scotch College (1864); after his father’s death he was appointed
in the railways as an engineering pupil on 21 February 1870 under Thomas
Higinbotham (St. Andrew's Churchyard) then engineer-in-chief.
Working his way up through the ranks of the engineering department during a
time of rapid development of the railway network, Norman became chief
engineer of existing lines (1893-1909) and was closely involved in the
construction of Flinders Street Station (1905-10). In 1909 he was appointed
a Railway Commissioner (1909-20) later serving as chairman (1915-20)
succeeding W. F. Fitzpatrick in April 1915 where he oversaw the first stages
of electrifying the suburban lines, notably the Sandringham-Essendon
passenger line (May 1919) being the first in Australia; and had the
difficult task of administering the department through the strain and stress
of the war years in the face of rising costs and transportation troubles
caused by maritime strikes. A member of the Victorian Institute of Civil
Engineers, after his retirement in September 1920 he accepted the position
of director of the “Silverton Tramway Co” succeeding
Duncan McBryde (q.v.) on his death in November. At the time of his
death on 28 March 1922 aged 67, the president of the Australian Railways
Union (Vic. Branch) not always inclined to single out praise was moved to
pay tribute saying “he earned the deep respect of everyone in the service.
While he was in office he always gave the men a fair deal. Though one of
his characteristics was his bluntness we recognised him as honest and
sincere, and his aim was always to reach finality in any outstanding matter
as quickly as possible…his name will always be revered by the men of the
railways service”. Fellow railway commissioner C. Miscamble said “he was
beloved by all who knew him. His record of fair dealing was one of which
any man might be proud. He was a fine administrator, and a born leader of
men, inspiring everyone by his example to do their utmost in public
service”. Residing at Tintern Avenue, Toorak, Norman was survived by his
wife Emily daughter of Frederick Brown (Beechworth Cemetery) a
prominent citizen, solicitor and politician of Beechworth whom he married on 18 January
1899; after their marriage they travelled overseas to England, Europe and
The Argus 30 March 1922.
The Age 30 March 1922.
The Herald 29 March 1922.
Scotch Collegian May 1922.
Smith, J. (ed), “Cyclopedia of Victoria”
“A Biographical Register 1788-1939” (Vol II).
[ Previous ] [ Next ]