Norman J Bury is the name I reserve for signing housing agreements, and witnessing weddings which, needless to say, I don't do very often, thank goodness. My friends call me Norm, including my wife Beverley, so this makes things far less complicated than they need be. I was born and raised in the inner suburban City of South Melbourne, State of Victoria, Australia. My schooling was pretty average and my grades much the same, and through it all I managed to stay alive. Considering that I was an only child, I had to make up for in mischief, for the brothers and sisters I never had.
My mother, Doris (Dori, to her friends), and father, Jack (to every one who knew him) were very strict with me and on looking back I understand the reason for this was love, now having adult sons of our own, Peter John, and Mark David. The tradition of love has been handed down to their own children. For Peter and his wife Lyn, there is Aron John, and Naomi Anne. For Mark and his wife Danita, there is Carly Anne, and Amber Lucy, our grandchildren.
At age 70, I can truly say that on reflection, we really do live our lives again through our children and it is very difficult to hold one's tongue, having "been there and done that". So much for the age of wisdom. Thankfully, advice is often sought after, so there is no fear that ideas and principles that bind our families together will be abandoned, either at present or in the near future. Since retirement my interests are Neighbourhood Watch, an opportunity to put back into the community, and Kingston Council's Village Committee system, an opportunity for community input into local government.
Early on in my childhood I was introduced to religion by a dear elderly lady whose name was Mrs Newman, who was a "littlies" Sunday School kindergarten teacher at the Church of Christ which was just around the corner from where we lived. It wasn't 'main stream' religion, I mean, it wasn’t Church of England, or Catholic, but all of the basics of New Testament Christianity were taught there. From a very early age I could sing 'Jesus loves me' along with the best of them.
As I physically grew in stature, so must I have grown spiritually because some 25 odd years later after progressively becoming a Sunday School teacher, superintendant, and member of the Church Officers Board, my wife Beverley, also a Sunday School teacher, and myself, decided to get married, and we moved out into a new surburb, named Westall, which is in a corner of Clayton South, about 13 miles out of Melbourne, and we're still here today, and enjoying life.
There is no secret to the happiness and longevity of a marriage. Like they say, it takes two to tango, and with any successful venture, it has to be worked at. Mind you, Beverley is the back bone without whom I would be totally lost, and I mean that with all sincerity. Instinctively, she knows exactly the right thing to say or do in a given situation. Consequently, I am spoiled rotten.
Her understanding and support through my working life of over 40 years, first in cabinet making, then in engineering, is the reason that our family has been raised successfully, as there was only one bread winner. It was her own decision to be a house mother, and we waited until we could afford, before we could buy anything. Parents on both sides were always very supportive, and when we surrendered them to a higher calling, naturally it was very distressing, but we, as their children are now better equipped to deal with life because of them.
With my father's background in England, his family history became a fascination to me that I never dreamed would come to fruition, but thanks to the encouragement from our family, and especially my wife Beverley, not only did we get started on it, we have met a lot of new friends because of it, at first by letters, and e-mails. Then, as we became more daring, we at last made the journey in September/October of 2002, to the U.K. and met all of those wonderful people in person. We shall never forget them.
As a result of entering the 'Cottontown' website, Andy Kirman invited me to contribute to the history of Darwen and Blackburn. As my father was a native of Darwen in particular, my own very limited knowledge is augmented by the many old letters and photos which are in our possession, and these are supplemented enormously by the very generous contribution of those helpers now living in these areas, and to whom we owe a great deal for their willingness to assist.
I have attempted to do this to honour the memory of my father, John (Jack ) Bury.
I thank Andy Kirman and his team, and Blackburn with Darwen Library and Information Services for this opportunity to do so.
By Norman J Bury
To read Norman Bury's full family history click here for the The Bury Family History.pdf PDF file.