Where are they now – Norman Houghton (SPC 1963-65)

February 17, 2023

The College recently reconnected with Old Collegian Norman Houghton (SPC 1963-65) who has authored over 40 titles and received an OAM for his services to community history. Norman is also a life member of the Geelong Heritage Centre, The Geelong Club, Light Railway Research Society of Australia, Colac Historical Society and Forrest Historical Society for his historical work, which is a huge passion, as you can tell.


Norman Houghton, keynote speaker at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the West Geelong War memorial, in 2022.

Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

To a career in History, Archives and Information Management mostly in cultural heritage management.

Workplaces have included Sovereign Hill, the Gold Museum, Geelong Heritage Centre, Deakin University Archives, Ipswich Railway Museum and various public and private enterprises solving records management and archival compliance issues.
Plus becoming a history writer on a hobby basis, although some paid commissioned jobs occasionally came along.

Researching and writing on themes about Cloncurry and Millaa Millaa in Queensland, gentlemens clubs in NSW, plus topics dealing with Ballarat, Geelong, Healesville, Colac and the Otways in Victoria.

Publications include organisational and company histories, township and regional histories, gentlemen’s clubs, biography, conservation studies, railways and the timber industry, education, churches, dairy industry and hotels.

Just a few of Norman’s many publications.

First book in 1974 and I have been churning out one a year more or less ever since.
A full list of Norman’s publications can be found by clicking on this link here

Norman Houghton, pictured at far left, with his mother celebrating her 101st birthday celebrations at the Ballarat Yacht Club in early 2023 with her four children, including Norman’s younger brother John (SPC 1966-68, PY1971), pictured at far right.


Do you have family ties with SPC?

An uncle in the 1920s, my younger brother, my brother-in-law and a nephew attended SPC.


What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

When I ran the 400m in 59 seconds at a training session. I was in the College Aths team in 1964 and selected for the 800 in the BPS Sports. Alas the Ballarat College runner (Crouch) thrashed us all. That defeat still burns all those long years later!

Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?

There were three teachers that I gained the most from. Loius Schreiner (Lay Teacher) for American History in Year 11, Brother Nangle for English in Year 11 and Brother Kelty for Roman History in Year 12.

Schreiner had a very gentle way of teaching and encouragement of talent. I enjoyed his essay topics and writing them. Nangle taught me absolute precision in the use of the English language. He was a master of the put down if any of us used the wrong word and he was a wonderful speech coach. Kelty brought the Roman world to life and gave it a sense of immediacy that made comprehension and analysis easy.

Norman was a prefect in his final year at SPC.

How has your education shaped your professional life?

My best subjects were History and English and these were the bedrock for my various jobs and publications.


How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?

I suppose it would be always to apply yourself to the task, back yourself, engage in logical debate and discussion, don’t be prejudiced and be charitable.


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?

Don’t waste your talents. Everyone has a talent for something, recognise it and pursue it to your utmost. Be aware of your value and don’t downplay yourself.

Norman, pictured in his matriculation class photograph in the 1965 College Annual.


Norman was a handy runner and was part of the SPC Athletic Team, pictured here in the 1964 College Annual.


Norman was involved in the Saint Peter’s Minor Seminary at SPC.


Norman was a member of the Third XVIII Football team in 1964.


Norman was also part of the Sodality of Our Lady group at SPC, as pictured in the 1965 College Annual.