June 18 1955 — April 05 2017
Bruce Norton was born on June 18 1955, the youngest of four children. His schooling was at the High Wycombe Primary School and then at the Kalamunda High School. He was a member of the Boys Brigade where he achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Award while he was still studying at high school. Bruce studied Electrical Engineering at Curtin University in Perth.
On completion of his Degree, he secured employment with Hamersley Iron working at Dampier Port. He transferred to Tom Price before moving to Sydney. In his room in the Singlemen’s Quarters at both Dampier and Tom Price, he had a small model railway set up. In Sydney, Bruce worked for Clyde Engineering at Clyde and he had a flat at Summer Hill just a few kilometres from the City. Returning to Western Australia, he was employed by the Water Corporation in Karratha where his hobby interest in the Pilbara Railway Historical Society saw his activities include the former UK Great Western Railway steam locomotive “PENDENNIS CASTLE” and the Societies model railway.
Bruce joined our Club in 1988 as an Outreach (Country) member.
During an overseas holiday trip, he met Marianne in Sweden and they were married in Karratha in 1989. He transferred to Albany with the Water Corporation and worked his way up to the position of District Engineer of the Great Southern Region. He and Marianne bought a property at King River (just out of Albany) where Marianne had horses and Bruce’s interest was more into models of “iron horses”. He was involved with the King River volunteer fire brigade and for a period was President of the group.
In 1994, when George Sumner was President of our Club, the first of several weekend Club visits to Albany took place. Bruce was the President of the Albany Model Railway Association and all the planning for our weekend visits was arranged by him. Our weekend included visits to the Clubroom, several home layouts (including Bruce’s) and a BBQ evening.
I visited Albany a number of times over the years and where an overnight stay in town was involved I would endeavour to visit Bruce’s layout. Being right into electronics he had DCC very early in its development and a very impressive layout. The last time I visited his home, he proudly showed me a 5 1/2 inch gauge live steam locomotive that he had bought. It sat on a steel trestle in the carport next to another prize possession — his motor cycle. He was a keen motor cycle rider and made many trips between Albany and Perth on his bike. As well as attending the AMRA (WA) exhibition each year (usually with the Albany Club layout), I saw him on two separate occasions at the AMRA (Sydney NSW) exhibition and he also attended exhibitions when visiting other States.
Bruce retired from the Water Corporation in 2016.
His interest in full size railways saw him travel to China several times with Past Rail Heritage President Dr. Paul Collin who had knowledge of the Chinese language. In March 2017, Bruce and Paul travelled to Singapore where they spent a couple of days. Bruce then left by train and they were to meet up again in Hanoi about a week later to travel in Vietnam. Paul arrived in Hanoi to be greeted with the news that Bruce was seriously ill in hospital. This was mid March and Bruce had Septicaemia due to streptococcus pneumonia. His condition was very serious and he was evacuated to Perth late in March where he was transferred to the Palliative Care Unit at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital where he passed away on April 05 2017.
A quiet spoken person, Bruce would always have time to speak to anyone about the model railway hobby and help solve modelling problems. His funeral at Karrakatta was well attended including a number of our Club members wearing the Club green polo shirts.
This obituary prepared by Club life member Don Finlayson.
Acknowledgements — some information contained herein is sourced from Gary Lamb’s obituary to Bruce in AMRM (August 2017) issue and also from Graham Watson’s report in AMRA Journal (May/June 2017).