Charles Harry Norman Lymburner: 1864-1938

Charles LymburnerCharles Harry Norman Lymburner (Norman as he was known) was born the youngest son of Adam Lymburn Delisser and Elizabeth Jeffs on the 24th April, 1864 at Dashwoods Gully, in the District of Strathalbyn, South Australia.

Norman moved with his family to Queensland and took up a 4 acre parcel of land in 1885 in the district of Southern, County of Gladstone, Parish of Mulgrave, Queensland.

Source: (Crown Land Sales in Queensland Vol 536, Page 67


Charles Lymburner

Charles Lymburner Birth

Birth of Charles Lymburner

On the 21st September 1889, Norman is appointed a Field Assistant for the Southern and Central Division of the Queensland Railway.

(Source: Queensland Railway Appointments and Removals 1890 Transcription –

In January 1893, Norman joined the Department of Lands and Surveys in Western Australia and surveyed much of the area around Ogilvie, Yuba, Northampton and Southern Cross. His working career in this State spanned the years 1892 to 1927.

Marriage of Charles Lymburner and Alice Campbell

Marriage of Charles Lymburner and Alice Campbell

On the 28th August 1893 Norman married Zenobia Alice Campbell in Adelaide, South Australia. From this marriage, two children were born; Annie Norma Lymburner, 10th March 1894, in Melbourne, Victoria and Frederick Lymburner, 21st March 1897, Broken Hill, New South Wales. Frederick died a couple of weeks after his first birthday on the 10th April 1898, in Broken Hill of Enterocolitis or coloenteritis which is an inflammation of the digestive tract, involving enteritis of the small intestine and colitis of the colon. (Source: Wikipedia(

On Frederick’s birth and death certificate, no father was listed and on a recent trip to Broken Hill, I was unable to locate Frederick’s grave although burial did occur as his death certificate was signed by the undertaker and 2 witnesses.

Norman was located in Norseman, Western Australia, in 1897 and 1898 and in Kalgoorlie in 1900. In 1901 he resigned and was thereafter a contract surveyor for the department. In 1901 he was listed in the Post Office Directories as living in Geraldton, West Australia.

Gunter's ChainIn 1904, Norman was surveying at Mt Erin station and lost his Gunter’s chain on one of the blocks selected by Mr Michael McDonnell of Nanson. When the work was completed on the block, Mr Lymburner asked Mr McDonnell to send the chain to their next camp at Fig Tree if it was found within the next month. Years passed before the chain was found on a small hill near the homestead and it remained in the possession of the McDonnell family.

The chain was given to the Chapman Valley Historical Society and is now in the museum at Nanson.

The Geraldton Express, on Friday, 24 April 1908 reads: Mrs Zenobia Lymburner sued her husband for maintenance in the City Court this morning. In his evidence defendant stated that when his wife left Geraldton he received a letter from her stating she would never go back to live with him. Mr Walter  in giving his decision said he would only deal with the evidence after the reunion. It was therefore necessary to prove that defendant had wilfully neglected to provide her while in Perth. As the evidence was of much a contradictory nature, other evidence would have to be requisitioned and he had the evidence of Mr Harrison which showed defendant to be a generous man and evidently from his behaviour he had no intention of deserting his wife and as far as he could see had dealt liberally with her. He therefore dismissed the case.

In 1910 when an Act was passed to license surveyors and keep a register of names, Charles H Lymburner was number 62 on that register. During the period when he was active, he surveyed mainly in the South West Corner of Western Australia, but survey books have been lodged showing surveys as far north as Northampton and east into the central wheatbelt. Maps of the Northampton, show he surveyed many properties in the area. The survey of the Frankland River, which was by no means an easy job in those days, was probably his major contribution to mapping in this state.

In February 1927 Norman is working out of Southern Cross. An article in “The West Australian” described how C H Lymburner was badly burned in a tent fire four miles south of Southern Cross at Greenmount. He was asleep at the time and after being conveyed to the Southern Cross Hospital,  was put on the danger list. The article describes him as being one of the oldest surveyors in the employ of the Lands Department.

He would have been 63 years of age at the time although later articles has his age as 70.

12 months later on the 13 March 1928 another article in “Kalgoorlie’s Western Argus” reads, On February 1 Norman Lymburner (70), described as a surveyor had his camp at Southern Cross destroyed by fire. Lymburner sustained burns on the arms and body and came to Perth for treatment. After being discharged from hospital he went to live with a friend in the city. On February 28 he left this place to go to the Lands Survey Office and has not been seen since. His disappearance has been reported to the police.

“The West Australian” of March 9, 1928 reads, Early this morning Constable Lyons of the Guildford police station, reported that Norman Lymburner (70) surveyor, who was reported missing from Newcastle-street last week, had been located at Redcliffe where he had been camping for several days.

 Lymburner Charles 1927 Feb 23 Tent on Fire Surveyor Badly Burned The West Australian  The Western Argus 1928 Mar 13 Southern Cross Surveyors Disappearance The West Australian 1928 March 9 Guildford Police News Missing Men

Source: Trove newspapers online – The West Australian 23 Feb 1927; Western Argus 13 March 1928; The West Australian 9 March 1928

A friend of Lymburner, described him as a sturdy character, typical of the tough hardy surveyors who worked around the beginning of the last century. He used to take a tin of ‘bully beef’ in his coat pocket and if at nightfall he found himself 5 or 6 miles from his base camp he would sleep beside his theodolite in the bush, after dining that night on a tinned meal.

Periodically he would take himself and any of his friends who happened to be around at the time and walk often as much as 20 or 30 miles to the nearest hotel, where for several days they would attempt to annihilate the publicans liquor supply.

Mr Norman Lymburner has written us to the effect that he has been under ophthaimic treatment in a private hospital, Perth for the past fortnight, and that the doctor who is treating him expects that ten days must yet elapse before his eyes are  cured. He desires the fact to be mentioned in order that selectors whose blocks he had arranged to survey may not be disappointed.

He has the honour of having a school named after him in Hilarys, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, although this school has recently been renamed. The mural in the front foyer of the office still remains. A street in Geraldton was also to bare his name, however the Geraldton Grammar School is built over this location.

Charlies Harry Norman Lymburner died on the 2nd August 1938 and is buried at Karrakata Cemetery.

Charles Lymburner Grave

Gravestone for Charles Lymburner at Karakatta Cemetery Supplied by Marie Dux nee Temple

Information was gathered from family stories, newspapers, certificates and letters from the Department of Lands and Surveys.

(c) Jenny MacKay


About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
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3 Responses to Charles Harry Norman Lymburner: 1864-1938

  1. Pingback: Adam Lymburner Delisser: 1824-1893 | jenealogyscrapbook

  2. Pingback: A Maintenance Case | Cripps-Lymburner Scrapbook

  3. Pingback: Adam Lymburn Delisser: 1824-1893 | Cripps-Lymburner Scrapbook

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