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Nicholls, George (1854–1941)

Few there are whose public service and personal merit over a long period of years gains them such standing in their district as to cause their passing to be looked upon almost as the loss of a cherished institution, but such a one was George Nicholls, estimable district citizen and resident of Freeman's Reach, whose death in the Hawkesbury District Hospital on Tuesday of last week, at the age of 87 years, has since been the subject of general and sincere expressions of regret throughout the Hawkesbury.

One of that select band who are prepared unselfishly, to give up a great proportion of their time to the service of their fellow men without expectation of reward, and withal an exemplary neighbor and kindly and generous friend, the late Mr. Nicholls throughout his long lifetime set an example for all to emulate, and for few to excel. Himself the fortunate possessor of robust health and the capacity to overcome these difficulties which beset every path of human endeavor, his readiness at all times to extend a helping hand to those not so well endowed, earned him a circle of staunch friends such as is granted only to such personalities, and his memory will be cherished for many years to come in the district of which he was always so proud.

A son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Nicholls, of Freeman's Reach, where he was born and remained throughout his life, the deceased came of a sturdy pioneer stock whose influence was reflected in his character. Even as a young man he took a close interest in various public bodies in his own centre and the district generally, and throughout his more mature years a great deal of his leisure from the farming activities in which he was engaged throughout his life was devoted to the public duties which he voluntarily undertook from a sense of citizenship which was always one of his most prominent traits.

Perhaps his best-known record in that respect was his long membership of the council of the Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association. He had the distinction in latter years of being the only surviving member of the first council of the association, elected in 1879, and was re-elected to each successive council until some two years ago, when he received the major tribute, from his colleagues of appointment as a Life Vice President in recognition of his services to the association. Even more remarkable was his record of having attended on the whole three days of every show held in the history of the association except one — and on that occasion he was present on two days — a record which was in latter years mentioned by speakers at each official opening of the show, and which probably has never been equalled anywhere in the world. Until comparatively recently he was regularly present at council meetings, showing a mental alertness remarkable for one of his years, taking a keen interest in the transaction of business before the meeting.

Not so well known— except among the older residents — is the fact that deceased served for two terms as a member of the Colo Shire Council, and recognition of this was made at the meeting of that body on Monday last, when the President, in moving a vote of condolence to the family, touched briefly on deceased's record of citizenship and characterised him as 'a grand old man.' Deceased was a Justice of the Peace, and in his home centre, Freeman's Reach, had been President of the School of Arts since the inception of that institution, President of the Progress Association, and President of the P. and C. Association, in the latter capacity, even in late years, maintaining his custom of addressing the school children each Empire Day. A staunch and exemplary member of his Church, he had held the position of warden for very many years — and never was there a more fitting appointment.

Predeceased by his wife some 12 years ago, deceased is survived by one brother, Frederick, and a daughter, Mrs. Roy Rutter, to whom general district sympathy is extended in their bereavement.

The large and widely-representative funeral took place on Wednesday of last week, when the interment was conducted in the Church of England cemetery, Wilberforce, the Rev. H. C. Dunstan performing the last rites.

The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Mr. Chandler, of Windsor.

Original publication

Citation details

'Nicholls, George (1854–1941)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/nicholls-george-27030/text34502, accessed 23 October 2019.

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