Norm Austin dies, aged 101.

AUSTIN: Co founder of the Redland Museum Norm Austin dies at age 101.
AUSTIN: Co founder of the Redland Museum Norm Austin dies at age 101.

Norm William Grant Austin was remembered with one minute’s silence at the opening of the Rotary Heritage library at the Redland Museum on March 8.

Norm William Grant Austin OAM

Norm William Grant Austin OAM

It was a fitting moment for a man who was both a Rotarian and a founding father of the museum. He and Norm Dean were affectionately known as “the two Norms”. 

Mr Austin OAM died on March 2 at age 101.

Mr Austin worked as a builder and was responsible for the construction of the first museum building and subsequent extensions. Of note is his building of the blacksmith shop which used traditional slab and shingle roof construction techniques. His plaque and family history remains as a lasting tribute at the museum with the transport wing of the museum named the Norm Austin Wing in 1966. He also served as vice president from 1971 to 1999 and became a life member in 1984.

Born on January 21, 1917, Mr Austin moved to the Redlands in 1934. He first worked as a fisherman with his brother Sandy, one day hauling six ton of fish. He then became a boat builder with his brother Ted and later moved to building houses and petrol stations. 

Mr Austin supervised the relocation and restoration of the Cleveland lighthouse.

“In 1975 Norm visited Cleveland Point to find the new lighthouse under construction and the 1864 weatherboard one headed for demolition. He contacted Redlands Museum, Harbours and Marine Department and Redland Shire Council and gained approval to have the old light house shifted to its present site. Norm along with a friend with a hire crane business took on the project themselves at no cost to Redland Shire Council. The Council did all the work after this, in restoring the lighthouse. Norm’s efforts were formally acknowledged on the plaque at the site of the relocated lighthouse,” Norm’s grand daughter Karen Bahr said.

During his time as councillor, Mr Austin also took on the project for planning and developing the current Redlands Softball Association grounds, at Ormiston.

He was a shire councillor for two terms from 1973 to 1979 and served on the SEQEB board from 1977 to 1988.

His outstanding community contribution was recognised with a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1983 and an Order of Australia medal in 2000.

At the library opening, Rick Thomasen said Norm and his wife Alma were “devoted volunteers”.

“The museum today is testament to their dedication and generosity,” he said.

Mr Austin was given a private funeral on March 7.

He is survived by two sons, Cliff and Brian and five surviving grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.