Norman Barry Pritchard was the son of Beryl and Henry (Harry) Pritchard and brother to Beverley, Sandra and Gordon. In 1953 the Pritchards lived in the Wallamba Cabins situated on the Wallamba River at Darawank.1 They rented the cabin from the Berrys who also operated the milk boat on the river.
Henry worked as a labourer and Beryl did dressmaking to supplement the family income.2 While the two older daughters attended Taree Public School, Normie would play in the cabin with his baby brother as Beryl sewed.
Twice a week Beryl would bring the children across the paddock to our house for afternoon tea with my mother Daphne. Normie and I would play on the swing, climb in the Camphor Laurel tree and have biscuits and milk on the verandah.
One such afternoon after their visit, Normie and one of his sisters went on an errand at 5pm. At 5:30 pm when Harry returned home from work it was realised that Normie was missing. He hadn’t come home with his sister. The river was a constant threat with young children so Harry ran straight to the wharf where he tragically found his son drowned in the shallow waters. Dr Joan Redshaw was called and artificial respiration was given but to no avail. Normie was only 3 years and 9 months old.3
My dad and neighbour Jack Cheers dug his grave at Failford Cemetery and mum picked dahlias from her garden to say goodbye. As a child it was thought the less said to me the better, but I had put the pieces together and have silently kept my playmate Normie in my heart for the past 70 years.
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 27 March 1953, 1.
2 Ancestry.com.au, Electoral rolls 1954 Lyne, Tinonee.
3 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 27 March 1953, 1.