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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Page: 2223


Ms PARKE (FremantleParliamentary Secretary For Homelessness and Social Housing and Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health) (09:34): I rise today to acknowledge and congratulate Mrs Norma King of South Fremantle in my electorate on being awarded the Medal of the Order of the Australia, OAM, this past Australia Day for services to the community as an historian.

Born in Kalgoorlie in 1922, Norma married a miner, Mr Rob King, at the age of 17. She and Rob raised nine children—and also, sadly, lost a child—while travelling throughout Western Australia living in mining towns, some of them now ghost towns, such as Mertondale, Agnew, Lawlers, Wiluna and Big Bell Gwalia. The King family returned to Kalgoorlie in the 1950s following the closure of the Big Bell mine. Over the next four decades Norma applied herself to the task of writing about and recording the detail of life in the mining towns, documenting the evolution of the goldfields region before moving to South Fremantle, where she currently resides. May I add that we are very proud to have her, especially given that Fremantle is a place with a special interest in and respect for history and heritage.

Norma is a distinguished author of eight books published across a span of more than 40 years, beginning with Nickel Country, Gold Country in 1972. She has authored booklets and brochures for the Kalgoorlie Boulder region's tourism industry and numerous articles for the Countryman and Kalgoorlie Miner newspapers. Her other books include Colourful Tales of the Western Australian Goldfields, The Waldeck Story, Daughters of Midas, Wings Over the Goldfields, The Voice of the Goldfields, The Hannans Club: The First 100 Years and most recently her autobiography, Then They Called Me Norma.

Writing came later in life to Norma. She picked up her professional pen in 1969 following an illness that restricted her movement. By that time, seven of her children had moved out of the family home and, recovering from illness with only two kids at home, she obviously felt at a bit of a loose end. Norma is also a very fine artist. I had the privilege of seeing some of her work when I visited with her and her daughter Zena to congratulate Norma on her award. I should make the point that Norma and Rob's children, nourished and inspired by their parents lives, work and travels, are themselves an amazing bunch of talented people.

Norma King is a life member of the WA section of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society and the Golden Mile Art Group. The aware of the OAM is well-deserved recognition of Norma's tremendous contribution to the recording and documenting of the history of the Western Australian goldfields and of her dedication to sharing her time and expertise with students, writers, journalists, researchers, film makers and tourists. The Order of Australia is an acknowledgment and celebration of those who serve and lead us to the highest possible standard. The honour that Norma has received is a great personal achievement by a remarkable woman. Norma has given so much to the wider Western Australian community. Her work represents an enduring and important legacy of places and times and people who might otherwise not be properly remembered. Fremantle salutes a wonderful Western Australian.