Displaying a famous piece of national confectionery, long since forgotten, with a "grotesque name"-Normeys- promoted by a colourful and dynamic Australian entrepreneur , is Jo Brandt , above, an exceptional woman, whose funeral service will take place in the Uniting Church, Nightcliff , Darwin, on Friday .
More than three decades ago schoolteacher Jo and her husband , Ron , the minister at the Nightcliff church at the time , founded an op shop. From a small beginning it grew into an operation which today not only services the Darwin area but sends clothing, shoes, books, and learning materials to Aboriginal communities down the track and across to Western Australia .
Regular containers go to Timor Leste , where children's footwear , school pens and pencils , early reading material , school folders are in demand .Warm clothing is provided for psychiatric patients at Darwin Hospital. Books go to prisoners and refugees in detention ; toys to kids behind wire .
A team of dedicated volunteers sort donations and keep the op shop and associated popular coffee shop running . Jo Brandt supervised the running of the shop for decades and only stepped aside as she battled cancer, still attending work sessions when able to do so .
A tradition at morning tea is that volunteers often bring along a cake, biscuits, or some other unexpected treat . Sometimes a volunteer gives notice of an intention to bring something special or unusual to the feast . One day Jo Brandt announced in my hearing that she would bring along NORMEYS . On hearing this, my ears pricked up because I consider myself as something of an abnormal expert on NORMEYS because of my obsessive collecting of unusual items for Little Darwin, including old sheet music , which mention NORMEYS .
In 1920 , C.J. " Jack " De Garis, Director of Publicity for the Australian Dried Fruit Association, Mildura, Victoria, with a seemingly endless flair for grabbing public attention, pushed consumption of the "Good Little Normey Lolly." In 1920 he ran a full page advertisement in a magazine extolling consumption of dried fruit and Little Normeys .
A pilot , he used his biplane to promote Sunraysia dried fruit, founded the provincial newspaper , The Sunraysia Daily , which pushed The Good Little Normey. De Garis said the confectionery became so popular that every poor unfortunate boy or man whose name was Norman , who came into public notice , was called The Good Little Normey.
This applied to famous men such as Norman Brookes, the Australian Tennis champion and artist Norman Lindsay , whose pictures of volumptuous nude women , long before Rupert's P3 girls , caused controversy.
True to her word , Jo brought along to the op shop a batch of Normeys made from sultanas , raisins , almonds and walnuts , looking like rumballs. She was raised on a farm at Irymple in Sunraysia and said Normeys were popular throughout the district. She and her husband were a wonderful team -true salt of the earth Christian individuals . - Peter Simon , bin emptier, book browser and morning tea glutton .