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This blog will be a record of stuff I find interesting, discover or write. Interested in family & local history, cemeteries, reading & libraries, old stuff, research & writing, photography, wine and fine dining plus lots more! Immersed in local history, fascinated by technology and social media and would like more time to spend doing the things I love!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


I have often searched for information about my Great Grandparents in Australian newspapers without a lot of success. Recently I was able to discover several pieces of information about Ern and Annie Nichols that I wasn't aware of. 

Following a decade of marriage Ern and Annie and their son William Robert, resolved to migrate to Australia. With the decision made, Ern resigned from his job in Finchley. As a baker with the Purvis Company, the manager supplied Ern with an excellent Reference. It stated that Ern was leaving entirely of his own accord, to try his fortune in a new country. The reference stated, "we are very sorry and very reluctant to lose his services and we have no hesitation in recommending him for any position suited to his abilities and capacity. We consider him absolutely trustworthy and hard working and have always found him to take an intelligent interest in anything he had in hand."

The couple were unable to travel on the same ship so Ern travelled on the "Zicten" in December 1912 to make preparations while Annie and young Will arrived a few months later, February 1913, on the "Scharnhorst."  

Ern and Annie settled at Central Tilba, the small timber town situated on the South Coast of NSW, and where their young son Will attended school. 

Will's class at Central Tilba. He is identifiable on the right - nicely marked with blue pen by his mother, Annie.
Photo: Nichols Archive

Several newspapers articles recently located online in Trove Digitised Newspapers provide some more insight into their first few years in Australia.

Ern established a bakery and it was reported that he produced exceptional loaves of bread.  In October 1914 it was reported that local baker Mr. Nichols, had established a small-goods in connection with his bakery.

The Cobargo Chronicle 16 October 1914 p. 2

On Saturday 12 June 1915 Mr Juleff conducted a clearance sale at Central Tilba, on behalf of Ern. The sale included household items, furniture and effects. One wonders what was sold in the sale and whether these were items that family had brought from England? A list of the effects is in the advertisement below.
Advertising from The Cobargo Chronicle 28 May 1915, p. 2 
It appears the family moved to Cobargo with Ern giving up the Bakery. However just a few weeks later (mid-July) he returned to Central Tilba and re-opened his business.

The family settled into the small village getting involved in community life. They attended an Allies Day event in November 1915 and Ern was recorded as donating five shillings. Over £70 was collected by residents.Will attended a fancy dress in June 1914 and dressed as an Indian and participated in a number of school events including a concert in September 1915 where he sang 'Advance Australia Fair'. In August 1915 more money was raised, almost £200, in Tilba with Ern donating four shillings.

Annie, Will and Ern, thought to be taken at Tilba.
Photo: Nichols Archive
Afterwards the family moved north to Tweed Heads where Ern did a bakery run between Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. Later the family moved to Richmond, but that's another story.

Bate Street, Central Tilba by William Henry Corkhill
Courtesy National Library of Australia

Postscript: The Bate family was one of the pioneering families of Tilba. The local MP, Jeff Bate more than likely attended school with Will. He married Dame Zara Holt in 1969. She was the widow of Prime Minister Harold Holt, who went missing in 1967 presumed drowned, although his body was never recovered.

After the Nichols family left, little changed in Central Tilba, so much so that in 1974 the whole town was classified by the National Trust.


(1915, September 17). The Cobargo Chronicle, p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109723957
(1914, October 16). The Cobargo Chronicle, p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109722934
(1915, November 26). The Cobargo Chronicle, p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109724202
(1915, June 11). The Cobargo Chronicle, p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109723616
(1915, August 13). The Cobargo Chronicle, p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109723825
(1915, July 16). South Coast Times & Wollongong Argus, p. 26. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141644123
(1915, May 28). The Cobargo Chronicle, p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109723569


  1. How interesting! This really brings our family to life. I love reading about every day life. Thank you Michelle. I'll be waiting for the next installment. I'd love to be able to try a loaf of Grandfather's excellent bread.

  2. How interesting! This really brings our family to life. I love reading about every day life. Thank you Michelle. I'll be waiting for the next installment. I'd love to be able to try a loaf of Grandfather's excellent bread.

  3. Wonderful Michelle, i can smell the freshly baked bread from here!

  4. Beaut post. You've whet my appetite for tge next installment.