Norman Waldron’s father, ‘Topsy’, captained Norwood for a record ten seasons and celebrated nine premierships. It is somewhat ironic, therefore, that three generations of Norman’s descendants pulled on the boots for Port Adelaide, with his great grandson Martin Leslie later moving on to fine deeds with the Brisbane Lions.
Norman was born at Hackney on 8 April 1881 to ‘Topsy’ and his first wife Elizabeth, née Puckey. Norman had four brothers, Percival, Sydney, Reginald and Laurie, and three sisters, Vida, Edith and Elizabeth, the last-named and her mother dying soon after a difficult birth. ‘Topsy’ took a second wife, Annie Alexander, and fathered three more children, Leslie, Eric and Ivy.
Norman married Mary Elizabeth Emma McLaren at Port Pirie on 9 September 1902 and their children were Hercules Xavier Norman, Jean, Constance and Joan.
Norman played with the Albions in Port Pirie early in the 1903 season before joining Norwood for four games. After Norwood came from behind to defeat North Adelaide by 10 points, The Critic of 22 August 1903 said: “Young Waldron, who has this early in his career been christened ‘Topsy’ by the Norwood crowd, in honor of his father, played a much improved game on Saturday. One high mark of his right back in goal saved Norwood a goal at a very critical time.”
Norman disappeared from the scene but emerged as a prominent player in Broken Hill between 1907 and 1911, principally with the Kaolins club. He led Broken Hill to an 11.14 to 7.7 home victory over Barossa & Light in 1909. He was a consistent allrounder with the Engineering Department team in Adelaide and Suburban cricket between 1912 and 1915, taking five wickets for nine runs in one match against Savings Bank in his first season.
In 1927 the Port Adelaide Waterworks and Sewers Department appointed Norman turncock for Semaphore, Largs, Sandford and Glanville. His son played league football for Port in 1927-28 under the name “Norman Wilkins” (to avoid the Waldron cachet). He was a solid defender - “a man of weight, but does not use it unfairly”, according to the Saturday Journal. His son in turn played one league game for Port in 1952 as Norman William Waldron.
“Wilkins” also had a daughter, Shirley, who married Donald Leslie in 1949. Their son Martin – ‘Topsy’ Waldron’s great great grandson - played 150 games for Port, 107 games for Brisbane, and won best and fairest awards at both clubs. He was the first ever number one national draft pick (in 1986), an All-Australian in 1988, and played nine games for South Australia – as did ‘Topsy’ a century before.
Arthur John Norman Waldron died at Port Adelaide on 23 January 1943 and is buried at the Cheltenham Cemetery.
* Jenny Camilleri OAM, secretary of the Broken Hill Family History Group, kindly sent us the photograph of the Kaolin FC 1909 premiership team from which our image of the player we believe is A. J. N. Waldron is copied.
P. Robins, C. Brown, M. Giles January 2022