Norma King (nee Dower) was born in Kalgoorlie in 1922.
She was descended from Cornish miners who came to Western Australia in the early gold rushes of Western Australia. Her father was a musician who also had ‘gold fever’. He played in bands and taught the violin in-between searching for gold and riches that were never found. In the later stage of his life, he was also a piano tuner in the outback.
Much of Norma’s childhood was spent in isolation in the bush where her father sought the ever-elusive pot of gold. The family lived in tents and bough sheds at times, it was a harsh environment. Norma and her sister received a basic education via correspondence. She read whatever she could to escape into another world.
When she was fifteen, she was employed as a waitress in a boarding house in the small mining community of Agnew. Here she met her future husband, and by the age of eighteen, she had her first of ten children. Nine children survived, her infant daughter Norma died not long after birth.
In 1943 her husband was seriously injured in an underground mining accident. He lost his right arm and was partially crippled. After the accident, he was employed on the minimum wage working above the surface within the mining industry, moving from town to town. In early 1955 they settled in Kalgoorlie. They were poor, but the children never went hungry.
When her youngest child commenced school in the late 1960s, she became ill and was in constant pain. For some years she was virtually bedridden. At the same time, her husband had a series of accidents and strokes and lost his speech. During this time, she started gathering material for her family history. She sent an article to a magazine and to her amazement she was paid for it. This was the beginning of her career as a local historian and author. She channelled her energies into historical research, writing and painting.
She published nine books and several booklets. The books are:
Nickel Country Gold Country, published by Rigby Ltd, 1972; Seal Books in 1974 & 1977
Colourful Tales of the Western Australian Goldfields, published by Rigby Publishers Ltd,1980
The Waldeck Story, published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1980
Daughters of Midas, Published by Hesperian Press, 1988
Wings over the Goldfields, Published by Hesperian Press, 1992
The Voice of the Goldfields – 100 Years if the Kalgoorlie Miner, Published by Hocking & Co Pty Ltd & St George Books
The Hannans Club – The first 100 Years, Published by the Hannans Club Ltd, 1996
Then They Called Me Norma, Published by Hesperian Press, 2003
Letters From An Innocent Abroad, Published by Poseidon Books, 2006