Pallbearers leave St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Ballina yesterday.
Pallbearers leave St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Ballina yesterday.

Town farewells man known as Mr Ballina

By ANDY PARKS andy.parks@northernstar.com.au NORM NEWTON, the man many called ‘Mr Ballina’, was yesterday buried in Ballina Cemetery after a service at St Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

According to his friend and solicitor, David Short, he was one of the first and foremost property developers in Ballina Shire.

“He was responsible for most of the subdivisions at East Ballina and Lennox Head. He was a very loyal man and always used the same people for jobs,” Mr Short said.

Norm Newton came to Ballina in the late 1960s and built the Sundowner Motel.

One long-time Ballina business associate, Anzac Cummings, remembers that Mr Newton used to go down to the Burns Point ferry when it was still part of the highway and personally solicit for cars to come to his motel.

“That always struck me as the mark of someone who wanted to get on in business,” Mr Cummings said.

In his time, Mr Newton owned a number of main street properties in Ballina, including the Big Prawn, which he redeveloped into a transit centre, and the cinema in River Street, where he would also work as a projectionist.

“It was nothing for him to get on a bulldozer and clear a bit of land himself,” said Harold Silver, who worker as a caretaker at Mr Newton’s Lennox Head property for 20 years.

Mr Newton was an only child, born in Hurstville, Sydney, in 1925. At the age of four he contracted polio and didn’t walk again until he was eight. He often told people it was a time when he became strong and determined.

“He used to sit on the fence and watch cars go by and say, ‘one day I’ll have a car like that’,” Mr Newton’s stepson, Daniel Farrell, told the congregation at the funeral.

Norm Newton served in World War II.



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