The Norman Family of Sandridge
The Norman family of Sandridge resulted from the Norwegian and Scottish union of Andrew Norman and 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.
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.
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.
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.
Compiled from information researched and provided by Vera Lewis, Pat Heard and Brian Heard