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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

The Norman Family of Sandridge

The Norman family of Sandridge resulted from the Norwegian and Scottish union of Andrew Norman and Isabella McKenzie.

Isabella McKenzie

Isabella’s parents were Alexander McKenzie and Elizabeth Strahan (Stratton?). Having embarked from Greenock, Scotland on 4 June 1841, their ship, India, was attacked by pirates and rescued by HMS Acorn only to suffer a huge explosion of spirits below deck 14 days later causing the India to catch fire and sink 200 miles from land. The survivors were rescued from the sea by a French whaling vessel, the Roland, that took them to Rio de Janeiro, 1,200 miles away and placed then in the charge of the British Consulate.

Burning of the Barque “India”, off Greenock in the South Atlantic Ocean, 19th July 1841. Photographic copy of an original work by Samuel Elyard (1817-1910). State Library of Victoria.

Alexander and Elizabeth were married in Rio and shortly after on 22 August 1841 they sailed on the Grindlay. The Grindlay had been commissioned by the British Consulate in Rio to take the survivors from the India to Australia.

They disembarked in Port Phillip on 22 October 1841 and settled in Sandridge. Although there is some dispute whether they had 11 or 12 children, the following children (from oldest to youngest) are known.

Mary Ann, William, Jane, Elizabeth (Betsy), Alexandrina, Jessie, Eliza, Isabella, Christina, Alexander (died young), Kenneth (died young).

Alexander passed away in August 1869. He was living with the family in Rouse Street and presumably running the butcher’s shop at the same property. His son William was also a butcher.

Elizabeth lived a further 40 years passing away in 1909.

Andreas Olsen/Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman is the Anglicised name of Andreas Olsen born in Christiana, Norway c 1852. His parents were Ole Olsen Aalstad and Kirsti Oldsdatter.

Andreas Olsen was a seaman aboard the ship Criterion that arrived in Melbourne on 17 June 1876. The ship had sailed from Boston, United States. Prior to this, in 1870, he had been called up for duty in the Norwegian Navy.

The Norman Family

Adopting the name Andrew Norman, Andreas decided to stay in Australia. He married Isabella McKenzie in 1879 and was naturalised on 15 May 1883. They had nine children.

Christina, Isabella, Agnes, Andrew (Ollie), Olena, Eva, Bella, Henry (Harry), Willy. Isabella died aged 6 months and Willy, the youngest, died when he was 6 years of age.

Andrew Norman worked as a stevedore, wharfie, Laborer, and anything going during the down turn of tough times. He headed a somewhat poor but honest and proud family well known and respected throughout the district. He was always described as an easy going and loved father.

In 1898 at the age of 46, Andrew Norman was in his stable one Saturday afternoon, and after untying a horse to give it a run, he slapped the horse on the rump with his hand and was struck in the abdomen as the horse lashed out with both feet. After collapsing in his wife’s arms a doctor was called and ordered him to hospital where he died days later. Isabella was left widowed with 7 children, 4 of them 7 years or younger.

The family battled on with Christina taking on a matron like role with her siblings and Ollie being the young man of the family at 13. Agnes went on to be the one that had a place in her heart for everyone from strayed loved ones, to in-laws past and present. Christina lived with her mother until Isabella’s passing in 1937 and then finally married. Olena married Henry Simpson Reynolds and went on to be the matriarch of a large family comprising of 9 children and 23 grand children.

Ollie was 30 years old and married with 2(3?) young girls when he enlisted in the First World War and headed off to the western front in December 1915. His young brother Harry was single when he embarked 3 months earlier. Their service records are in complete contrast to each other from the beginning to the tragic end, and sadly the later being the case for Ollie when he made the ultimate sacrifice and fell victim to the flu in London in 1919 after suffering and enduring the whole war on the Western Front.

When viewing Harry’s record we must not forget to take into account that they were volunteers, he forged his mother’s signature (who was illiterate), had been lied to about what was really taking place at Gallipoli and in France. When Harry arrived in Egypt, just as those soldiers were returning there from the Gallipoli campaign, and telling the true account of what was happening, I think it’s fair to assume that as a young man with a reputation for “street smart”, Harry devised his own battle plan. He was discharged as consequence of being absent illegally from 23 June 1917. Ollie it seems was always the quieter more diligent one, and we may never know his reasons for wanting to be away from home. Regardless of his reasons it seems indicative of Ollie that he suffered greatly and persevered.

The Norman Family (c 1915). (L-R) Standing: Eva, Ollie, Harry, Christina Sitting: Agnes, Isabella (mother), Olena Front: Bella. Courtesy Trevor Reynolds

Fact be known, Harry did make it back home and hid with Olena and Henry at Lyndhurst South. With his families’ seafaring background, and his knowledge around the wharves, returning to Australia wouldn’t have been too much trouble for Harry. Pop Reynolds must have thought he could influence Harry for the better, as this was the second time he and Olena had hid him from the authorities, the first time being from the truant officer when Harry was about 12. Later in life he took on the name of Harry Skinner and may have married Rebecca Florence (Fanny) Jones. Harry died in 1949 aged 53 with no issue of children.

The Normans moved around Port Melbourne quite a bit, living in Evans St, Graham St, Princes St, and for many years in Lt Cruikshank St.

The Norman girls married into the Cann, Pinchen, Reynolds, Webster, and Whelan families, and were closely connected to the Crook, and Sykes families, who were all well known and active in Port Melbourne and South Melbourne life.

Ollie and Harry had no male heirs so the Norman name was not passed on.

Compiled from information researched and provided by Vera Lewis, Pat Heard and Brian Heard


  • David Doughty
    Posted October 21, 2015 11.37 am 0Likes

    He answer the call in World War One

    When I was a young child at state school, in the early 1960’s, Remembrance Day was always a very special time, when we school children would sit in the class room during that week listening to the stories on ABC radio about our Anzac heroes. When I was eight years old, our headmaster asked us children if we had a relative that died in World War One. I went home and spoke to my father, and he told me that his uncle Albert Doughty was killed in Gallipoli. The next day I told my headmaster my story and I was chosen together with a young girl, to carry and lay the school’s wreath at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance that year. It turned out that the young girl was my second cousin Lesley Adamson, and she was representing the very same uncle.

    The stories that we were told at school about the Gallipoli campaign in those early days, were missing the harrowing accounts that added substance to the real horrors faced by the Anzacs, as they all headed for the beach in their boats, and the hardships they endured while they were fighting their way up the steep inclines against appalling odds. It was only when I became a young adult that I interviewed my remaining relatives, and I put together a sketchy story of what really happened to my poor unfortunate uncle Albert Percy Doughty.

    Albert Percy Doughty was the eldest of six children to Henry Richard Doughty and his wife Annie. Henry walked out on his wife and his family in 1902. Annie Doughty, now a single mother of six young children, left her home in Ballarat, and she moved her young family to South Melbourne to be close to her relatives there.

    Most of the family history is lost in the past now, but I did learn that Albert Percy Doughty had obtained employment as a labourer on Station Pier in the Port of Melbourne. I found an article from the Melbourne Argus newspaper, published in 1912, that reported a story of Albert Percy Doughty assaulting another man, by punching him and breaking his nose. It was reported that Albert was waiting to catch a cable tram, when he witnessed a young lady who was running along the street screaming and crying. Albert approached her and she told him that a man was following her and she was frightened. Albert immediately confronted the man and punched him in the face, breaking his nose. Albert was interviewed by the police and he was arrested, and charged with assault, and he was fined.

    When Albert enlisted into the army in 1914, his mother Annie told him that it was important to her that he had to go to church before his overseas adventure. Albert, his sister Jessie and his mother Annie, attended a service at St Pauls Cathedral in Melbourne. Albert had never been there before and he was so amazed at the beauty of the stain glass windows. While looking up at the beautiful artwork in the stain glass windows, he failed to see someone kneeling to pray in front of him, and he fell over them. One day close to Albert’s final day at home, and his journey overseas, he went to his local hotel to have a final beer with his mates and his three brothers. Two ladies began fighting outside in the street and Albert, always interested in helping damsels in distress, rushed outside to break them up. One of the ladies stuck a long pin into Albert’s thigh, causing him a great deal of pain.

    Just before Albert boarded his troop ship he gave his brother-in-law Jack Paton, his treasure pocket watch to look after for him, until he returned from the war. Albert Percy Doughty was given the number 1648, as part of the Second Brigade, 6th Battalion, of the Australian Imperial Forces. Albert’s family said goodbye to him, and there were handshakes and kisses and cuddles from his family and friends, as he boarded the troop ship HMAS A54 ‘Runic’ that was bound for Egypt on the 19th of February 1915. Albert Percy Doughty was 23 years old, five foot eight inches tall, with blond hair and blue eyes and tattoos on both his forearms. His brother nicknamed him ‘Bella’ as he was from Ballarat. They would never see him again.

    Albert landed at Gallipoli on the 25th of April 1915. His army record states that he was killed on the 8th of May 1915 in the Second Battle of Krithia. The Second Battle of Krithia was an attempt by the Allies to advance further on to the Helles battlefield during the Gallipoli battle and advance the position from the stalemate they were in. The village of Krithia and the neighbouring hill of Achi Baba had to be captured in order for the British to advance up the Gallipoli peninsula to the forts that controlled the passage of the Dardanelles straits. Not much ground was gained in that battle and their objective was never reached. Half the men who attacked in that action became casualties in just thirty five minutes of fighting that day. Albert’s body was never recovered. His mother received that dreaded telegram on the 15th of July 1915, many weeks after his death.

    Two of Albert’s bothers, Henry and Robert, joined up and somehow through luck they fought and survived the horrors of the Western Front.

    After World War One, Henry had trouble facing normal life again, and he walked away from his wife and two children. His son Jack told me, many years later, that he had never seen or heard from his father, and he didn’t even know when he died and where he was buried. I found out that Henry, an army Sergeant in the first war, had re-joined the AIF in World War Two, and he died while training soldiers in Melbourne. He was buried in an army grave in Springvale cemetery. Albert’s brother Robert, survived the first war and went on to have a normal married life with children. My great grandmother Annie Doughty never had a grave to visit, and to mourn over her beloved son Albert. The news of Albert’s death devastated her and she never did recover from her sadness until her death ten years later in 1925, when she was just fifty five years of age.

    I went to Gallipoli with my wife Sue back in 2005 for the ninetieth anniversary, and as I stood facing the beach on that very cold night, I thought about my great uncle Albert, and those poor young men, fighting their way up the beach, cold and wet, in a hail of bullets, and I wept. I later thought about all the many descendants now living from Henry, Robert, their sister Jessie, and my grandfather William, and it saddens me to think of the possible descendants of Albert that never were, and all the wasted lives of all those many thousands of young men lost in war. Lest We Forget.

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Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.