Francis Stephen Norris
Frank Norris, as he was familiarly called, was one of the best known men
in the Hawkesbury, and one whose life was linked with the 'good' old days
He was a native of Cornwallis, and a fine specimen of Hawkesbury native.
Even to the end he showed that hardy constitution that characterised the
old Hawkesburyites. He had attained the age or four score years, the greater
part of which he had spent at Cornwallis and Windsor, and for a livelihood
followed agricultural pursuits.
He reared a large family, the majority of whom have gone the way of all flesh.
Those living are Mr. Chris Norris, who in the old man's latter days kept
and cared for him ; Mrs Streeter, of Newtown (Windsor) ; Mrs Marshall, Sydney;
and Patrick Norris, who some years ago left the district, and has never since
been heard of.
Mrs Norris, widow of deceased, is still living, and is a month older than her
late husband. The old lady, in spite of her advanced years, is well and hearty,
with the exception of being attacked periodically with rheumatism.
Mrs Frazer, of Kurrajong, is a twin sister of the late Frank Norris.
In the bitter election contests in the Hawkesbury years ago, the late
Mr. Norris took a keen interest, and was a hard and fast supporter of the
Hon. W Walker, M L C.
He was a man whose cast iron constitution defied infirmity, and during his
long life he experienced very little sickness. A few weeks prior to his death
he was attacked with influenza, and then contracted pneumonia, which was the
immediate cause of death.
Death took place on Thursday, 1oth inst, and on Friday, the 11th, the remains
were interred in the Windsor R.C. Cemetery, in the presence of a large number
of friends and relatives. The Rev. Father Power officiated at the grave, and
the funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. Thomas Collison.
ln the early days Frank Norris was a famous pugilist, and the following
particulars of his career are taken from Mr. J, C. L Fitzpatrick's book
'Good old Days' :
Frank Norris was regarded as the champion pugilist of these days.
He fought only a few battles, but won them with great ease, and without
even getting so much as a scratch. He was a much heavier man than the Teales,
and of course they were outclassed. Though they never met in an organised fight,
Harry Teale and Norris once had a rough-and-tumble, the affair being the
outcome of a personal grievance between them, but they were separated before
any damage was done.
Norris fought Hunt, but the affair ended in a general row, and the fight was
never finished ; whilst he polished off Bill Graham in two or three rounds.
A famous fight was that arranged between Frank Norris and Dick Hunt.
The meeting had been anxiously looked forward to as one which would
determine the disputed question of supeiority between the Sydney and
Hawkesbury 'fancy.' It came off, without let or hindrance, on Tuesday,
21st December, 1858.
The blue bottles, as not infrequently happens, were all the morning buzzing
about in every direction but the right one. The old adage,
'Where there's a will there's a way,' was signally illustrated on this
occasion, each man being ready and willing, and resolved to, if possible,
baffle any and every attempt on the part of the authorities at interference.
For some considerable time before, the Hawkesbury boys had had their eye on
Norris as their chosen representative in the ring should opportunity present
itself and the pretensions of Hunt were by them regarded so lightly that they
eagerly sought to conclude negotiations with his backers, and hence the speedy
settlement of preliminaries and the signing of articles two months before.
The stakes were £200 aside. Hunt immediately placed himself under the tutelage
of Bill Sparkes, while Cupitt undertook the training of the Windsor pet.
Subsequently Sparkes, in a fit of spleen, and without any sufficiently apparent
cause, threw up his office, and Hunt was then handed over to the care of Saunders,
who brought his man to the ground in most creditable condition.
The betting, from the clinching of the Contract to the convincing day, was
entirely in favour of Norris, whose advantages in weight, height, strength
and constitutional habits, fully justified the expectations indulged in by his
friends. Hunt was a long way from being a rigid disciplinarian, and the
consideration naturally weakened the confidence 0f many who, under more
favourable circumstances, would have stood 'a few' on him.
The difference in the ages of the two men was too little to have any
material effct. Hunt owned to the ripe figures of 36, while Norris acknowledged
having passed 39 summers, Their respective weights, as nearly as could be
ascertained, were: Hunt, 11st 7lbs; Norris. 11st 10lbs.
On Monday evening, December 30, the Sportsman's Arms was crowded by eager
enquirers after the locals, and it was determined the meet should be at the
Fox under the Hill, near Prospect. Betting was unusually brisk, 6 to 5 being
taken and offered on Norris, and even bets of 100 and 60 were made and always
available, that the Hawkesbury champion would lick his man within the half hour.
The rendezvous presented a most animated scene. Windsor and his neighbourhood
poured forth hundreds, and the procession of equestrians exceeded any muster
ever seen on a similar occasion. But the 'office' was suddenly given that
the 'blues' were on the alert, and, a council of war being held instanter,
it was resolved to make a move up the Blacktown Road as far as Bosh's old place,
within ten mile of Windsor. Here the ring was pitched, and the arrangements
rapidly and efficiently perfected. The huge mass of spectators seconded
the P R, officials in the preservation of order, and the affair throughout
was conducted in a most unexceptional and sasisfactory manner.
The umpires and referees having been duly chosen, at 10 min past 12 o'clock
Norris shied his cabbage-tree into the ring, an example which Hunt was not
slow to follow, and the men straighaway commenced their toilette.
Norris waited upon by Cupitt and Bill Sparkes, and Hunt esquired by
Bitton and Saunders.
Each man had stripped in tip-top condition. Norris' fine form, towering over
that of his opponent, was all that could be desired ; but, compared with Hunt,
his deficiency in breadth of bust and shoulder, and general symmetery of person,
was not conspicuous. Hunt's strength evidently lay in the right places, while
Norris exhibited a disproportionate development of power and muscle to his
height and length of limb. Wagering at this juncture was 5 to 4 on Norris,
and an even bet of £20 was made between the men themselves.
All being in readiness, the Officials took up their positions, the men advanced
and exchanged the customary grasp of courtesy, and precisely at 20 min after noon
The battle was a long one. and several calls of 'foul' were made on behalf
of Hunt,the fight being eventually declared in his favour, on an alleged foul,
after 1 hour and 17 minutes hard work. This untoward result naturally
occasioned bitter disappointment to the Hawkesbury party, but the act was too
glaring to be passed over, and the referee, having twice previously cautioned
Norris, only did his duty in awarding victory to Hunt.
Norris, all unprejudiced onlookers admitted, must have succumbed in the next
few rounds had the foul not occurred.
Though by no means so conspicuously marked as his opponent, Hunt's mug was
very artistically painted, and bore striking proof of the severity of the
struggle, The stakes were paid over on the following Wednesday.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954)
Saturday 26 October 1901
Transcription, janilye 2012