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Samuel Norris (1850–1895)

A fatal event, surrounded in mystery, happened this morning, resulting in the death of Samuel Norris, a member of this well-known and old-established firm of Norris and Sharland, architects of the city. Norris, who was a man of forty-five years of age and had a wife and three children, left his home for business at the usual hour this morning and evidently in good spirits, although his immediate friends knew that financial matters were weighing heavily upon him; in fact, at 11 a.m. he was to have met his partner by appointment with Mr Willoughby Connor, whom the partners had appointed as arbitrator to settle the dissolution of what is stated to have become a dissatisfied partnership. Shortly before eleven o'clock Norris was seen returning to his home and within a few hundred yards of it, and asked by a passer-by why he had returned from his business he replied, "I have forgotten something." His manner then appeared rational, and he certainly did not look as though contemplating any rash act. On arriving at his residence the deceased expressed his desire to clean his double barrelled breech-loading fowling piece for the Christmas holidays, and with that purpose in view he reached it down from its usual place and took it to an outhouse, where be commenced cleaning it. He had not been long in the outhouse when he returned and said to his wife, "Something is in one of the barrels of my gun and I cannot get it out; have you got a stiff piece of stick or something that will force it out?" Mrs Norris hunted about and eventually found a brass stair-rod, which she handed to her husband. He then retraced his steps to the cellar where his gun was and closed the door after him, being kept fastened by a latch. Almost immediately a report was heard, and on Mrs Norris forcing open the door of the outhouse she found her husband dead with a bullet wound in the throat extending to the brain. Deceased must have died instantaneously. One explanation of the fatality, and to which Dr. Bingham Crowther gives credence, is that the deceased was trying to extract the charge from the gun with the stair-rod when it exploded. No doubt tomorrow's inquest will give some satisfactory explanation of what at the present time is regarded by the public as a complete mystery. Deceased was a regular church attendant, and was a well-known identity in the city. His many friends heard of the fatality with regret, and the utmost sympathy is expressed for the wife and children.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • inquest, Examiner (Launceston, Tas), 18 December 1895, p 5

Citation details

'Norris, Samuel (1850–1895)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Hertford, Hertfordshire, England


16 December, 1895 (aged ~ 45)
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

shooting accident

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.