NORTON, Albert (1836-1914)


NORTON, Albert (1836-1914)
politician
sixth son of James Norton, M.L.C., was born at Elswick, near Sydney, on 1 January 1836. He was educated at the Rev. F. Wilkinson's school at Sydney, and from 1852 to 1857 was gaining experience on stations in the New England district of New South Wales. During the next three years he had a wandering life in New South Wales and Victoria, but in 1860 bought the Rodd's Bay station in the Port Curtis district, Queensland. He specialized in cattle, and in spite of some bad experiences with drought and disease, became a successful pastoralist. In 1866 he stood for the Port Curtis seat in the legislative assembly but was defeated, and in the following year was nominated to the legislative council. He resigned his seat in 1868 and did not attempt to enter politics again until in 1878, having previously retired from his station, he was elected unopposed for Port Curtis. In 1883 he was minister for works and mines for a few months in the first McIlwraith (q.v.) ministry, and in 1888 was unanimously elected speaker of the legislative assembly. He lost his seat at the 1893 election, and in 1894 was nominated as a member of the legislative council. He was chairman of committee from 1902 to 1907 and continued to be an active member of the house until a few months before his death at Milton, Queensland, on 11 March 1914. Norton had been much interested in the welfare of the mining industry, he encouraged the giving of lectures in mineralogy, and was primarily responsible for the establishment of the school of mines. He was a trustee of the Royal Society of Queensland, and contributed about a dozen papers to its Proceedings. His political speeches were always carefully prepared but the effect was to some extent spoiled by a monotonous delivery. He was much liked by fellow members of parliament, and his extraordinarily high sense of honour made him an influence in the public life of his time.
Norton's only son predeceased him. His elder brother, James Norton (1824-1906), was a well-known solicitor at Sydney, and for many years a member of the legislative council of New South Wales. He was postmaster-general in the Stuart (q.v.) ministry from May 1884 to October 1885, and took much interest in the Sydney public library of which he was president of the trustees for some years. He died on 18 July 1906.
The Brisbane Courier, 12 March 1914; The Daily Mail, Brisbane, 12 March 1914; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 1914. p. 1, and index to vols. I to XXV; The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 1906.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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