Norman Jolly excelled as a cricketer, footballer, and rower. He also possessed a powerful intellect and was dux of PAC before commencing studies in science at the University of Adelaide. He was the first Rhodes Scholar for South Australia in 1904 and undertook studies in natural science at Oxford University, followed by the study of forestry in Europe.
Though reticent about his own achievements, Norman Jolly came to be regarded as one of Australia’s foremost foresters and as a man of outstanding integrity. He served as director of forests in Queensland, as forestry commissioner in New South Wales, and as the first professor of forestry at Adelaide University. His work is remembered by a cairn in a stand of 55-metre high virgin eucalypts in Moonpar State Forest in northern New South Wales. Jolly is also included in the series of commemorative plaques located on North Terrace, Adelaide.
The contribution of Norman Jolly is remembered at Princes through the scholarship established by his daughter, Margaret Clyatt Jolly.