Norman McLeod Smith, alderman and Mayor of Wollongong enlisted on 10 September 1917. He was born in December 1884 to James and Margaret Anne Smith. After attending the local school he began a career in the public sector until he was appointed as an alderman for Wollongong Council around 1910. Norman was elected Mayor of Wollongong in 1916 and held that position for approximately fourteen years. He was active an active member of the public sphere and engaged in a number of activities such as becoming a member of the Masonic Lodge, Vice President of the Amalgamated Railways and Tramways Union as well as President of Wollongong Bowling Club.
Ald. Smith obtained a leave of absence to join the front in 1917; he was 32 years of age at the time, The Illawarra Mercury reported the incident (21 September 1917), stating that the most recent Council meeting would be Mayor Smith’s last as he was expected to be in the Military Camp by the time of the next scheduled meeting. The issue of whether he would retain office once he returned was also on the agenda. Thus, the council appointed a deputy mayor in his steed meaning that once he returned from the front, he would be able to return to his position. The motion was carried unanimously highlighting his popularity.
He joined the 19th Infantry Battalion, 18 to 21 Reinforcements and embarked from Melbourne on 28 February 1918 on HMAT Nestor A71. During his time on active service, he was reported as having trench foot. He returned to Australia on 4 April, 1919. Norman was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
On his return, as agreed upon, he returned to his appointed position as major. Mayor Smith was instrumental in instating public utilities in Wollongong such as the electric light, sewerage as well as the opening of Wollongong’s new, Town Hall in 1927. He married Shannon in 1922, of the Nursing Staff of Wollongong Hospital; together, they had two children.
He died on Friday, 25 May 1928. The Illawarra Mercury contains an extended obituary.
The whole article can be read on TROVE.
AWM, Embarkation Roll – Norman McLeod Smith, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2013, <http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/nominal_rolls/first_world_war_embarkation/person/R1865874/ > viewed 15 January 2014.
‘Death of Mayor of Wollongong,’ Illawarra Mercury, 25 May 1928, p.14.
‘The Mayor Honoured,’ Illawarra Mercury, 25 January 1918, p.8.
‘Wollongong’s Mayor Obtains leave of absence,’ Illawarra Mercury, 21 September 1917.