Norman Thomas McMahon

Home / AT WAR/ Norman Thomas McMahon

Norman Thomas McMahon was born in Helidon, Queensland, on 21 February 1922

Norman Thomas was born in Helidon on 21 February 1922 and named after his uncles Norman and Thomas.

He jointed the Second AIF at Annerley, Queensland, on 25 November 1941. At the time he was working as a clerk in the Public Service Commission. His records during his service show him to be 6 feet 3 1/2 inches and 11 stone 8 lbs.

He was allocated to the training depot. He must have continued playing cricket while in the army as a medical examination, following an internal derangement of his right knee in December 1943, showed him as playing A-grade cricket in 1941-43. At that time he was an acting sergeant. In May 1944 he transferred to ‘amenities’ and then later that month embarked on the ‘Duntroon’ from Cairns to Lae, Papua New Guinea. He subsequently travelled to Torokina aboard the Mormac in November 1944. He sailed to Townsville on 30 May 1945.

He left there back to Torokina aboard the Katoomba in September 1945 where he was transferred to HQ, Third Australian Division. He went to the New Guineas Deployment Depot in December 1945. He left Rabaul on 17 March 1946 for Sydney. He was discharged at Redbank, Brisbane, on 13 September 1946 as a sergeant. Oddly enough his height was shown as 6 foot 1/2 inches at that time.

He played a major role in the Queensland Cricket Board over many years. He received an Australian award for his work and dedication to cricket administration. He was a tax inspector with the Australian taxation Office in Brisbane, heading investigations into the notorious “bottom of the harbour” tax evasion scheme, until his retirement in 1985. He died on 21 December 1991. The following obituary, which was one of a number, appeared in the Brisbane Sunday Sun on 22 December 1991.

“NORM Devoted to shield dream

Former cricket chief Norm McMahon died early yesterday morning with the dream he devoted his life to – Queensland’s first Sheffield Shield – still unfulfilled.

Friends and enemies alike would agree it was through no lack of effort or passion from McMahon over more than two decades as a senior cricket administrator.

McMahon, 69, was Chairman of the Queensland Cricket Association for 21 years (1967-88) and for 20 years represented his State’s interests as a delegate to the Australian Cricket Board.

QCA president Tom Veivers saluted McMahon as “an institution in Queensland cricket”

“His family life, his social life – it was all about cricket, he said. “He was a very loyal Queenslander and his greatest sadness would be to pass on without having seen Queensland win the shield.” Former Lord Mayor and former ACB representative Clem Jones and McMahon were instrumental in sowing the seed at the Gabba from which the Queensland Cricketers’ Club sprouted in 1959. “Norm’s greatest thing was his singlemindedness,” Jones said. “A great many saw it as fault but as far as being a voice for Queensland cricket it was virtue. “Queensland came first.” “When Norm McMahon got up to speak at and ACB meeting they used to say he was totally predictable – if there were argument about the shield program, it was Norm arguing that Queensland was not getting a fair go.” Jones met McMahon in the late 1930’s when he was a tall pace bowler. He figured in the first Brisbane premiership won by University (1940-41).

Only the war years prevented McMahon taking the step into the shield ranks, according to Jones. “When he entered cricket administration, he took on what he saw as a moribund administration in this State to achieve change,” Jones said. In the days when the QCA’s headquarters were based in Wharf St in Brisbane rather than at the Gabba, McMahon, Jones and Co would regularly adjourn to the nearby Brisbane Hotel after delegate and executive meetings. “Norm also enjoyed the pastime of beer-drinking and plenty of new concepts were formulated in that bar,” Jones said with a smile.

McMahon was the founding treasurer of the Queensland Cricketers’ Club (1959), remained in office as president of the Valley District Cricket Club to the day of his death, was awarded the Order of Australia for his services to cricket and had been a QCA life member since 1963. He was a forceful administrator who stood on people to get his way at times and made enemies as well as many friends in the cricket world. The stalwart who came to power as QCA chairman in 1967 when Red Handed had yet to win a Melbourne Cup had his reign ended in 1988. He was voted out of office and Alan Pettigrew installed by a decisive margin. Always a man to call a spade a spade, McMahon spoke at the time. “You can’t be friendly with everyone (as chairman). You’ve got to stand on a few corns,” he said. McMahon died in the Holy Spirit Hospital from complications following surgery for cancer last week.