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Norman Gatenby (?–1923)

by Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh

Norman Gatenby, n.d.

Norman Gatenby, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 16 July 1923

On the 9th of June at his residence, Blackheath, N.S.W., there passed away one who some years ago was one of the most capable and progressive pastoralists of New South Wales.

Some forty years ago Norman Gatenby came over from Tasmania to try his fortune on the mainland. He settled down at Burra Burra, in the Parkes back country. Some years after he also acquired Jemalong Station, on the Lachlan, and still later on Raby fell into his hands. He soon established a very fine sheep stud on the Tasmanian lines, and was very successful at the local and other shows.

A man of indomitable courage, unusual capability, and unflagging energy, Norman Gatenby soon became the leading man in the Forbes district. He was a crack shot, a champion tennis player, and there was not a man in the district who cared to stand up to him with or without the gloves, a difficult man to beat at billiards or chess, and no mean opponent at bridge, a good speaker, ready with his pen—he was a brilliant all-round man.

He will, however, be best remembered as a pioneer irrigationist and as a keen advocate of pit ensilage. His experiment at Jemalong under strict Government supervision, in which he proved that irrigated lucerne cut and fed to sheep would carry 75 sheep to the acre is a matter of history.

A valuable paper of his on the use of pit ensilage was published in this Review in 1907. Norman Gatenby made a great success of pit ensilage, and was confident that in it lay the solution of the drought problem.

Just when Norman Gatenby's valuable services seemed most required, he found himself quite incapacitated by paralysis, induced by a fall. He had to hand over the working of his three valuable and important stations to the Australian Estates and Mortgage Company Ltd., and some twelve years ago he retired to Blackheath, where he lived and was indeed revered by all who knew him. He cheerfully and bravely faced the inevitable with wonderful fortitude and amazing cheerfulness. He was the most cheerful man I knew, no one ever heard him complain. To him Gordon's lines are singularly applicable:—

"In that life
Two things stood like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in his own."

Original publication

Citation details

Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, 'Gatenby, Norman (?–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Norman Gatenby, n.d.

Norman Gatenby, n.d.

from Pastoral Review, 16 July 1923