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Kirkby, Norma Emmeline (1901 - 2006)


March 1901
Moree, New South Wales, Australia
Cattle Farmer and Charity worker
Alternative Names
  • Eather, Norma


Norma Kirkby was 105 years old when she died. With her husband, Gordon, she built up the Success Poll Hereford Stud and Reno Poll Merino Stud. She supported numerous charitable organisations in the Moree district for over fifty years.


Born to Arthur and Annie Louise Eather, Norma was the eldest of five children including Athol (who died at Gallipoli), Eugene, Arthur and Ella. She was educated in Moree before studying at Sydney's Conservatorium of Music. Norma married Gordon Kirkby, son of a local grazing family, in 1924 and the couple settled at 'Success' on the Goondiwindi Road. They were to have three children: Merle, Fred and Mary.

By 1935 the family had moved to 'Wilga' on the edge of Moree. Here Norma began creating a magnificent garden, and entertained guests ranging from World War II evacuees from Hong Kong to Rotary exchange students, governors-general and state governors.

While running the Hereford and Merino Studs with her husband, Norma became involved with numerous charitable organisations including the Country Women's Association, Inner Wheel, Torchbearers for Legacy, the Royal Blind Society, the Australian Red Cross, Moree Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, Moree Girl Guides Association, the Handicapped Children's Association and Far West Children's Health Scheme. She used her musical talent to accompany silent movies at the Moree picture theatre, and played the organ in the Anglican Church. A passionate rugby union supporter, Norma was also president of the Moree Golf Associates.

Gordon Kirkby died in 1973. The following year, Norma was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Gordon had received his own MBE in 1966.

Sources used to compile this entry: Gordon Kirkby, 'Grand lady of the land was a loved matriarch and friend to charity', Sydney Morning Herald, 5 September 2006.

Barbara Lemon

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