Robert Wrightson & his dad Ernie Wrightson had a small barber shop on Canninf Hwy in East Fremantle. In 1933 a shop at 7 William St. Fremantle became available & they jumped at the opportunity. They named the Barber Shop R.E Wtightson.
Norm Wrightson, the son of Robert Wrigtson would have been 9 years old at thw time and Norm's brother Robert was 13 years old. Norm's parent Robert and Moude slept upstairs above the Barber shop in the front room practically underneath the Town Hall clock. Norm & his brother Robert also sleot in the room upstairs above the Barber shop.
Norm's grandfather Ernie retired from barbering after six weeks of entering their new business premises so from then on Norms's father Robert started to employ hairdressers.
Haircuts for men at the time were shilling. Kids haircut and men's shave were 6 pence. This equates to approximately 10c & 5c in today's terms.
Norm's btother Bob started a hairdressing apprenticeship with his dad but at age 16 was selected to go on a tour of South Afica with the YAL (Young Australian League). Norm would practice on his Saxophone upstairs and he was sure he use to drive the customers downstair in the barber shop mad. Norm would go off to school & by age 13 would come into the barber shop & start cutting kid's hair to help out his dad.
IN those days Norm's dad was quite a heavy smoker & his mum who didnt smoke or drink would roll his cigarettes, light them and pass them on to Norm's dad to smoke. Norm's dad use to have a habit of smoking whilst he was cutting hair & one of his friends use to walk in & pick up his cigarette & have a couple of puffs. One day Norm's dad loaded the cigarette with six wax match heads & his friend that used to come in & puff his cigarette started to puff away. Imagine what happened - the cigarette blewup in his face & there was lots of laughters from all the other customers and barbers.
The 2nd world war started in 1939 & in 1942 Norm was invited to join the army (called up).
While he was away for 4 years, Norm's dad put on 2 apprentices, brothers Les & Horry Hawkins & they turned out to be very good hairdressers so they kept the place going.
Durig the war there were no shop fronts, all the windows were taken out & the fronts boarded up in case of air raids. When Norm got out of the army in 1946 he comlpeted his apprenticeship. It ook Norm 8 years all up to finish his apprenticeship including his army time.
Norm married Bernice Poole on 1947 & sent Norm's parents to England for a holiday for 6 months by ship & they loved it.
Norm wrightsons was one of the first barber shops in WA to put on a lady apprentice, Katrina Bannister & a lady hairdresser Tina Russel. They both turned out to be excellent hair dressers.
Norm'dad started to take things easy and retired in 1973. Norm's mum still worked behind the counter & Bernice (Norm's wife) worked a couple of days also to give Norm's mum some much needed time off.
During the 1950's and 60's Norm employed two Italian hairdressers & several ladies. The Italians were Tony D'Ándrea & Fedele Potalivo, both excellent barbers & they all had a lot of fun together. Both men worked for over 30 years for Norm. Norm would call Fedele a D-I-N-G & he would call Norm as "Ossi Bugga"the customers loved the banter.
Norm's dad passed away in 1981 & Norm's mum in 1983. The business was originally in the name of R.E Wrightson & when Norm took over from his father he renamed the shop to "Norm Wrightson's Hairway".
As the business started to expand, Norm knocked down the wall to the backroom to increase the barber shop to "6 Chairs"to let people know how big the business was. This proved to be quite effective but also humorous, as friends of the staff were confused & thought the Barber Salon was called 6 chairs.