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Norton Motors of Burnie

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Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:59 pm

As previously mentioned I am in the middle of writing the Norton family history within Transport and have decided to present their history here to compliment the MTT Burnie history already posted by Loco Les. All photos are from the albums of the Norton family, with much thanks to Tony and Tim Norton for their time and efforts.

I shall start with Mr. Sydney Hills who started the the business in Burnie.

Sydney Charles Samuel Hills was born on the North East Coast in 1885, but he moved to Leith with his parents at an early age. On 28th May 1906, at the age of 21, he joined the Tasmanian Government Railways where he spent 16 years. During his career he was stationed at Glenorchy, Antill Ponds, Fingal, Derby, Exton and Westbury and became a stationmaster on the 23rd March 1918. He was stationmaster at Westbury when he retired from the department in 1922 aged 36. Sydney moved to Ulverstone where he ran a grocery business for a few of years and was also deputy band master of the local band. Sydney started Ulverstone Motor Service around the beginning of August 1927, with his 13 seat bus covering an area from Forth River in the east to West Ulverstone, which was such a success that he purchased a new 20 seat Chevrolet after only six months of service. On 13th June 1928 Sydney started the Burnie Motor Service and by the end of October 1928 he sold Ulverstone Motor Service to his brother and took up residence in Burnie to better run the business there. He carried this on for the next 13 years before selling out to Percy Norton in July 1941. Sydney was then employed by the Emu Bay Railway Company at their Burnie station for a couple of years and in the early hours of 17th November 1944 Sydney died at his home in Mount Street, Burnie, after a short illness.

Percival Norton purchased 5 buses in 3 services around Burnie covering an area from Wivenhoe to Somerset and Upper Burnie.

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4 of the 5 buses Percy Norton bought from Sydney Hills July 1941, posed in Mount St Burnie.
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:36 pm

Percy Norton had been a farmer in the Elliot area just south of Camdale during the depression and moved his family to Rosebery in 1934 where he started working underground in the mines. due to ill health he was forced to find other work. He purchased two trucks from EZ and began working them for the company, soon expanding his workload around the area. Firewood cutting also supplemented his income with Fredrick (aka Bob) and Glynn his sons helping where needed. At the beginning of the 1940s Percy sold his trucking business and moved the family back to Burnie where he purchased Hills Bus Service and its Mount St property in July 1941. He expanded services around the town (and district) building the fleet up to 13 buses by the end of the decade. He also had one taxi licence for the town and used several vehicles to provide services around the district with his wife Sybil obtaining her car licence in order to drive the taxi, along with Bob and Glynn.
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Norton Motors fleet late 1940s


TAA air services began on 3rd November 1947 and Norton Motors won the contract to provide services from Burnie to the Wynyard airport.
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Norton Motors Chevrolet Maple Leaf on the TAA airport service


Norton Motors also provided a once a year trip to Hobart for the local rowing club, note the frame to hold the rowing skull for the trip.
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Norton's Federal fleet number 11


A nice shot of Norton's fleet no.10 showing the logo and panel work referred to by Loco Les in his thread.
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Norton Motors fleet No 10
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby LocoLes » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:51 pm

Hi Darren [workhorse],

This photograph has some history. If you look between the 2 front parked buses, the roof of 88 Mount Street [Norton's depot residence ] is visible and the high
roof with the prominent window next door is #90 Mount Street that was demolished in 1959 to make way for bus parking and eventually, the new MTT depot building.
Looking at Mount Street and following its' progress up the hill to Upper Burnie and beyond has certainly changed since 1941 but it still resembled that narrow
and twisting form when I moved to Burnie in 1959. The Catholic School is seen on the RHS in the middle of the photo and the buses are parked near the
Mount & Ladbrooke Streets intersection just back from Jack Peart's Mobil service station. The photographer would be standing near the grocer's shop on the corner.
Mount Street was widened slightly in the mid 1960's but has vastly improved since the Burnie Expressway was constructed across the lower part of Mount Street and
through the Norton/ MTT depot. Will leave the bus make and model for the experts to identify but the 3rd one is a Bedford !

Thanks for the photo. :)
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:04 pm

Next we have Chevrolet fleet No.6
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Norton Fleet No.6 Chevrolet


International K5 Fleet No.7 and Chevrolet Fleet No.6
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Norton Fleet No.s 7 and 6 in Mount St Burnie


Fleet No.14 new in Mount St. The second CAC bodied OB in Norton's fleet
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Norton Fleet No.14
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:46 pm

By the end of the 1940s Norton Motors had a fleet of 13 buses servicing the Burnie area. Percy's health had not improved and he purchased a farm at Stowport in 1950, which had previously been his fathers, with plans of retiring there. The business was put up for sale in early 1951, first offering it to the local council who declined to the offer then to the general public with options on 5 sections or the whole operation with the taxi licence also up for sale. The taxi licence sold in February 1951 but no interest was found in the bus service either whole or in parts (I have a list of the 5 separate sections offered for sale). Percy continued with the business but left Bob and Glynn to run the day to day operations while he looked after the general operation of the business and also the new farm. The business was once again put up for sale in 1953 with no buyers in sight and a statement was made that unless fares were raised the whole operation would close at the end of August 1953. This must have happened as the service continued with more buses purchased (at least 3 more CAC OBs and it seems some second hand buses) and in 1957 two new CAC bodied SBs were added with the last bus, another CAC bodied SB purchased by Norton Motors arriving in late 1958.
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Norton Fleet No.19 new


A slight mishap with one of the SB Bedfords driven by Glynn Norton, It was believed that he may have been travelling a little fast at the time.
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Norton Motors SB in a spot of bother, driver Glynn Norton
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:15 pm

As is already know the Transport Commission created the MTT in 1955 and by mid 1959 a deal was done with Norton Motors for the purchase of the business. on finalisation of the deal Glynn tendered for and won a contract to haul hanging meat from Devonport abattoirs to Butchers in the town so set about making a trailer from an old Bedford truck chassis for the new J5 Bedford he had purchased for the contract in the workshop at 88 Mount St. where he was helped by his brother Bob. Part of the sale conditions were that Bob and Glynn would stay on as managers of the business, but Glynn had decided he didn't want to work for the government, hence the meat contract, while Bob stayed on for around 3 months running the Burnie MTT operations before he also bought a meat haulage contract from Cooee Abattoirs to Burnie butchers, buying an old 1953 Ford rigid with insulated van. Percy in the meantime fully retired to his farm where he bred and raced horses, becoming quite successfully around the state with the MTT taking over operations in August 1959.

Glynn's J5 Bedford and home built trailer outside Smith & Dunn the local Bedford agent
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Glynn Norton's J5 Bedford and home built meat trailer, Devonport


Bob's 1953 Ford van for his meat cartage contract. This truck had previously hauled Violet Crumble bars.
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Fredrick 'Bob' Norton's 1953 Ford meat delivery truck


And finally Percy Norton beside his farm truck with one of his racing horses
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Percival Norton with one of his racing horses
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby system improver » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:03 pm

Such great photos Darren. Here is my take on the buses:

Photo 1 (4 buses): Three Federals (circa 1935) and one Bedford either WLB or OB. The bodies on the Federals could be by F Paine of Launceston.

Photo 2. (10 buses): Fleet line-up - from left to right - CAC Bedford OB; 2 Cheetham & Borwick (C&B) bodied Bedford OBs: another Bedford OB (unknown body): Chevrolet Maple Leaf GMH (Special Divison) body: Chev Maple Leaf C&B body; Chev Maple Leaf GMH body; International K5 C&B body: Federal Ansair body; possibly a Mack with unknown body (but looks the same as bus 4).

Photo 3. Chev Maple Leaf with GMH body

Photo 4. Federal with Ansair body

Photo 5. Bedford OB with C & B body

Photo 6. Chev Maple Leaf with C & B body

Photo 7. Inter K5 and Chev with C&B bodies

Photo 8. CAC bodied Bedford OB

Photos 9 & 10. CAC Bedford SB
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby system improver » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:10 pm

Here is a photo of at least three Norton buses: a C & B bodied Bedford OB, the Ansair bodied Federal and a CAC bodied Bedford OB. It was on the internet and tagged "Tasman Bridge construction worker buses". Those who live in Tassie will know whether that is correct or not:
Tasman Bridge construction worker buses.jpg
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:37 pm

Thanks System Improver. The one you tagged as a Mack is actually a 1938 Fargo, I have a close shot of it to show
Last edited by werkhorse on Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:38 pm

I would imagine that the buses in your shot are APPM worker buses for the mill ... Infact the Morris has real early Rego plates so has to be Pre 1952 (I think that's when we went to W## ### plates
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby system improver » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:13 pm

werkhorse wrote:I would imagine that the busses in your shot are APPM worker buses for the mill ... Intact the Morris has real early Rego plates so has to be Pre 1952 (I think that's when we wentvto W## ### plates

Sounds more logical.
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:02 pm

Here you go System Improver, the 1938 Fargo in Cattley St Burnie in 1946 with the K5 behind it
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Norton Motors 1938 Fargo fleet No.2
img015 What Am I (Small).jpg (94.32 KiB) Viewed 9927 times


Bob in front of Bedford No.4. Looking at the headlights I'd say it's dated somewhere between 1941 and 1945/46
img016 (Custom).jpg
Bo Norton in front of Bedford Fleet No.4
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby LocoLes » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:45 pm

Hi Darren,
More great photos here. The Bedford SB WEG 677 is or was then the fleet favourite No.19 [later 519 with MTT]. I was unaware it was involved in this mishap ! The scene is Boat Harbour Beach
and the gravel road was always corrugated and narrow with a huge drop over the side [ not much better these days although now a bitumen surface. Looks like the fence stopped it from going over and judging by the open driver window that's how he exited ! There can't have been much damage caused as the bus was always immaculate even in MTT days with no sign of major body repairs! The tell-tale body repairs to CAC buses was the use of 'pop' rivets [ not round headed rivets as used when new ].

Thanks Darren. Loco Les
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby LocoLes » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:56 pm

Hi System Improver and Darren,
The Norton buses pictured are travelling from APPM's South Burnie mill along Marine Terrace towards the town centre and are in the vicinity of Hopkinson Street [ on the left ]. Note the roof carriers and boot carriers as fitted to Norton Motors buses. All were removed from acquired buses in the MTT purchase in 1959. That would be an incorrect reference to Tasman Bridge workers as indicated. Definitely Burnie.

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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:00 pm

Yes Loco Les.. Boat Harbour rings a bell
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby LocoLes » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:12 pm

Hi Darren,
Norton Motors OB Bedford CAC No.14, later 514, pictured was one of the OB's repainted by MTT inside and out [No.16, later 516 was the other]. The lower panels were retained unpainted by MTT but I failed to photograph either of them. No. 16 [516] was fitted with an SB engine and gearbox by the Norton family. Do you have a photo of No.16 Darren ? It was an excellent performer on hill routes just like the 'real' SB Bedford. CAC's OB #13 & #15 Bedford were in poor body condition and were sold earlier than the other 2. Also No.20 CAC OB Bedford was purchased 2nd hand but left the fleet early. OB's 14,15,16,20 only had the front entrance, #13 originally had a rear door but later was panelled over.

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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:30 pm

Sorry LocoLes there aren't many more of any of the buses that I know of (at this point) I will ask Tony if there are more.
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:03 pm

LocoLes wrote:Hi Darren,
Norton Motors OB Bedford CAC No.14, later 514, pictured was one of the OB's repainted by MTT inside and out [No.16, later 516 was the other]. The lower panels were retained unpainted by MTT but I failed to photograph either of them. No. 16 [516] was fitted with an SB engine and gearbox by the Norton family. Do you have a photo of No.16 Darren ? It was an excellent performer on hill routes just like the 'real' SB Bedford. CAC's OB #13 & #15 Bedford were in poor body condition and were sold earlier than the other 2. Also No.20 CAC OB Bedford was purchased 2nd hand but left the fleet early. OB's 14,15,16,20 only had the front entrance, #13 originally had a rear door but later was panelled over.

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Tony Norton called past with more bust photos today Loco Les ... some really good stuff amongst it too.

Fleet number 13 in 1950
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Norton CAC OB fleet no.13 in 1950


Fleet number 14
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Norton CAC OB fleet no.14
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:15 pm

This bus ... I believe is a Willys-Knight ... was new to Hills Bus Service in 1930 with a 23 seat body by Bird and Hopkins Carriage Builders of Burnie. Photographed in the Norton fleet in 1943 and known as the Dog Box.
img008 (Custom).jpg
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:52 pm

Another angle of No.19 at Boat Harbour for you Loco Les. Not too sure about that rope coming off the window frame though

img012 (Custom).jpg
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby LocoLes » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:55 pm

werkhorse wrote:Another angle of No.19 at Boat Harbour for you Loco Les. Not too sure about that rope coming off the window frame though

img012 (Custom).jpg


Hi Darren,

Doubt the rope would hold the bus if it tipped over, just one rope [probably at that stage of the rescue] had around 5 ton to hold ! It would be interesting to learn how

it was placed back on the narrow road with a high bank on the other side. Presume it was dragged somehow, perhaps by tractors ! The bus rear wheels are hardly touching

the ground in the picture. Window frames were not a strong part of the CAC body either.


Good pics.


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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:34 pm

OB Bedford No.10 at Ulverstone in 1947
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Norton's OB No.10 at Ulverstone 1947


1930s Fargo No.2
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Norton's Fargo No.2
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:12 pm

I was recently contacted by Tony Norton, who is helping piece together the Norton Motors story, who told me about some old film footage he has discovered. about 2 hours worth with a lot of family stuff and later truck stuff, but quite a bit of the footage was taken by Percy Norton around the buses and 88 Mont St depot dating back to the 1940s. He sent me a 3 minute section as a preview (and is sending me the whole lot when he can) so I grabbed a shot of No.18 the second Federal possibly in Burnie.

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Norton Motors No.18 Federal


And a reasonable colour shot of the logo

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Norton Motors No.13 logo
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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby LocoLes » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:35 pm

Hi Darren,
Have just worked out where the photo was taken of Federal No.18. It is parked in Cattley Street, Burnie outside Trans-Australia Airlines office and next door it is possible to read C.B. & John Guest the local Real Estate agent next door to TAA. So it is possible Federal No.18 was operating the TAA charter this day. New Bedford SB No.19 would have taken over the charter run when delivered so the photo is pre 1957. Federal 18 was an overnight Wynyard bus when MTT began in 1959 until it was sold off along with quite a few former Norton's Motors buses around middle of 1960.

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Re: Norton Motors of Burnie

Postby werkhorse » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:13 am

Tony called the other day and said I should have a copy of the film just after Christmas .... So the wait begins
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