Thursday, March 9, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

A Tribute To Mrs Norma May Shuttlewood OAM

Since the news that Norma Shuttlewood had passed away was shared on 1 March 2023, tributes have been flowing in from the many people who knew her and who benefited from her life-long commitment to the arts.

Norma held many positions within Mackay Choral Society but was also deeply involved with other groups including the Mackay Eisteddfod Association Inc, of which she was a Life Member. The Norma Shuttlewood OAM Bursary, awarded to outstanding competitors in the Mackay Eisteddfod, is regarded as a highly prestigious prize. It will be very strange not to see Norma in her usual seat watching the competitors at the Mackay Eisteddfod every year.

Norma was also very fond of Mackay Choral Society's involvement in the North Queensland Eisteddfod. She has regaled us over the years with tales of the adventures had by participating choristers when travelling the road to Townsville and Cairns to compete. As with everything, Norma gave her all and as recognition of her contribution was appointed Life Governor of the Eisteddfod Association of North Queensland in 1987.

Norma was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 1998 for service to the community through the Mackay Eisteddfod Committee and the Catholic Women's League Australia.

Norma and her family were actively involved with the Mackay Table Tennis Association. Norma was made a life member in 1993 and was Patron of the Club to the end of her life. There is a most fitting tribute to Norma on the Club's Facebook page with a lovely quote from the lady herself:

"I just think it’s a very good sport because it’s as energetic as you want it to be and it’s out of the sun which is a big plus. You can play it at your own level and you can play it all your life – just look at the players we have in our association who are in their 70s and 80s and still play each week.”

I like to think Norma's first love was Mackay Choral Society. When I last visited her this year the choir was the main topic of conversation which is not surprising since she joined at the age of 19 in 1945, when the Mackay Choral Society was founded. Norma was historian from 2006-2010 but her personal records, preserved in many scrapbooks, extend over all the decades since she joined. Other positions held were, President 1975, Secretary 1963-68, Treasurer 1975-76, Conductor 1974-80, Deputy Conductor 1969-74, a record of service more than worthy of the Life Membership awarded in 1980.

So much more can be said about Norma and all she contributed to our community. Her funeral was held at St Patrick's Church Mackay on Tuesday 7th March where we celebrated what can truly be described as a life well lived.

Contributed by Isobel Gillman

Norma at the 2019 Mackay Eisteddfod at the MECC

Norma and then President, Jeanette Oberg, at the 75th anniversary of Mackay Choral Society. Photos supplied

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