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Nyulasy, Charles (1825–1903)

by Attila Urmenyhazi

Charles (Károly) Nyulasy was twenty-one years of age, when he joined the noble band of patriots who took up arms against the Austrian Empire in the bloody war for Hungarian independence of 1848-49. As a nobleman himself, he sacrificed his property and possessions in the struggle for freedom of the Fatherland. With the collapse of the Revolution, Lieutenant Nyulasy fled to Transylvania and spent a period in Paris before moving to London before sailing to Australia in 1853. From Melbourne he went to the Bendigo diggings but, being unsuccessful, returned to Melbourne and organised and paid the expenses of a party to go to Creswick’s Creek, where he developed the famous Hard Hill gold mine. 

After several other mining ventures in Maryborough, he went, in 1856, to Sebastopol Hill where he became interested in the 12 Apostles claim. At this time there had been many accidents during blasting operations, and Nyulasy, applying his military knowledge to the subject, invented an original “safe and quick” method of blasting in water in the rock at Sebastopol Hill. The invention created great excitement in the mining community with five thousand miners assembled to witness the first experiment in the “Newcastle-men’s” claim. The trial was a resounding success for Nyulasy. Later he was elected a member of the first local court in Ararat, and drew up mining regulations for the district. 

In 1858, in Ballarat, Nyulasy married Sarah Browne, a twenty-three-year-old immigrant from Ireland. They moved around quite a bit: in Invercargill, New Zealand, Nyulasy became the owner of an hotel, while in Cooktown, Queensland he was a wine and spirit merchant. To give their children a better education the family finally settled in Fitzroy, Melbourne where, during the 1880s, Nyulasy owned a draper’s shop.  

The Nyulasy’s placed great emphasis on the education of their children. Charles William became a surveyor and warden of the Pilbara Goldfield, dying on the goldfield in 1889. Francis Armand, known as Dr. Frank Nyulasy, graduated from Melbourne University and became a well known medical man and a correspondent of the Hungarian Medical Association. He wrote prolificly on subjects connected with obstetrics, especially puerperal fever, and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Dr. Arthur Nyulasy, was a Surgeon Captain with the West Australian Army Medical Corps of the Commonwealth Contingent during the Boer War, and received the Queen’s Medal with Clasps. His two daughters also graduated from Melbourne University.  

Though living at times far away from each other, the Nyulasys were a close knit family, rallying round their father and pleasing him more than once by arranging for the saga of his patriotic struggle and goldfield exploits. Members of the family made scientific or medical endowments in memory of their parents and deceased brothers, and perpetuated the name of Nyulasy in the hospital, university and medical world of Melbourne.

Original publication

  • unpublished, 2011

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Additional Resources

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Attila Urmenyhazi, 'Nyulasy, Charles (1825–1903)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/nyulasy-charles-14021/text24960, accessed 24 November 2017.

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