Harold Morton

One of those closest to Leadbeater in the last decade of his life was the young Australian Theosophist and Liberal Catholic Priest, Harold Morton. As he lay dying in Perth in late February, 1934 Leadbeater summoned Morton to travel urgently from Sydney to record his last directions for the Theosophical groups over which he exercised control. Morton celebrated the Requiem Eucharist at St John’s Liberal Catholic Church in Perth after Leadbeater’s death.

CWL_requiem_Mass_Perth

Harold Morton (1904-1988) was the son of Egbert Edward Haager (1870-1959) and Laura Kate Haager (nee Mindy)(1870-1909) who had married in 1893.

He had three siblings: Frederick (1895-1972); Marjorie (1902-1950) and Eugene (Bill) (1904-1937) who was his twin.

His mother died tragically at the family home in Burton Street, Darlinghurst (Sydney) in 1909, taking her own life by consuming cyanide and leaving a note stating that was her intention. A coronial inquest held in Sydney on 23 April 1909 found that the poison had been self-administered. He body had been found by one of her sons who, believing her to be sleeping, had not attempted to wake her, and it was not until her husband returned home from work that her death was discovered.

On 6 November 1925, Morton changed his name by Deed Poll from “Harold Haager” to “Harold Morton”.

Morton became something of an “adopted son” for Enid Lorimer (May Enid Bosworth Nunn 1887-1982) from the time she arrived in Sydney from London, and he and Norna became her family and heirs. Lorimer was a British-born Australian film, stage actress and director, radio and television actress. A Theosophist, she went to Sydney in 1923 to become the Art Director at the Star Amphitheatre at Balmoral.

Morton joined the Theosophical Society in 1921. He served as General Secretary for the Society in Australia 1927-1934. He was baptized into the Liberal Catholic Church in Sydney in 1920, and ordained a Priest in 1926. He played a significant role in the Theosophical broadcasting station in Sydney, 2GB.

The_Manor_Garden

A group at The Manor, Sydney, 1925: Harold Morton in at the far right of the back row

Morton married Norna Kollerstrom (1905-1998) in 1928. Norna was a member of the eminent Sydney Theosophical families, the Kollerstroms, headed by Gustav and Mary. She was the sister of Oscar Kollerstrom and Edith Kollerstrom. Norna was also one of Australia’s first Montessori teachers, having trained with Madame Montessori in London.

They had three children: Charles; Karloss Norna; and Ivor Harold.

Morton added “Suryastana” to name; his wife added “Suryatt” to hers.

Morton

Morton seems to have faded from the Theosophical firmament in the years following Leadbeater’s death. Ten years after Leadbeater’s death, Morton wrote to another close disciple, Russell (Dick) Balfour Clarke:

At that time I believed in his wisdom, etc. as a complete devotee does.   Then came my complete rejection of his teachings. I cannot accept his occult claims any longer, can you?  Do you still accept Initiations and the whole story woven by C.W.L. along those lines?  The World Mother?  red and green angels from Alpha Centauri!!!  and what about the five (or seven) sacred virgins of the Java legend?  My, what an imagination, what audacity; what a set of mad followers to listen to such stories.

See: Norna Kollerstrom Morton Hands Full of Life: Reflections and Anecdotes Butterfly Books, Springwood NSW, 1993.

 

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