R. U. Nicholls

From Ballarat and District Industrial Heritage Project
Jump to: navigation, search
R.U. Nicholls, Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 15771)
Members of the Old Colonists' Association,1917. Australian Town and Country Journal, Wed 21 Dec 1904



Robert Uriah Nicholls was born in Devonshire, England, and arrived in Victoria in 1853 on the Banker's Daughter,[1] and Ballarat in 1854.[2] He ran R.U. Nicholls &​ Co., nurserymen in Doveton Street North, Ballarat. He was a member of the Ballarat Horticultural Society for 51 years[3], and was President of the Old Colonists' Association in 1907.

Robert Nicholls died in 1910, and is buried at the Ballaarat New Cemetery.[4]


R.U. Nicholls designed the garden around St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat.


Ballarat pioneer's death.
(Wire From Our Correspondent.)
Mr. R.U. Nicholls has died at Ballarat. He settled there in 1854. He was urged to fight in the Eureka Stockade, but refused, and buried his guns and ammunition. He was however, present at the fight.[5]

There will be laid to rest this afternoon, in the New Cemetery, the remains of Mr Robert U. Nicholls. The deceased gentleman, who was born at Slapton, Devonshire (England), in 1834; And left Liverpool in the ship Banker's Daughter, who a colonist of 57 years, having arrived at Geelong in September, 1053. He visited Tasmania, and finally settled in Ballarat in February, 1854, where he followed gold mining for two years. In those days freight from Geelong on ordinary goods was £80 a ton and 5s. ws paid for a 4lb. loaf of bread. The deceased joined a party on the Eureka, found gold, worked out the claim, and divided the gold with a match box from wash-basin, lent by the late Mr Thos. Bath at Bath's, (now. Craig's Royal Hotel) On the 1st December 1854, two men visited his tent, and asked for guns and ammunition, and also requested him to join the Stockade party. Mr Nicholls and his companions had heard of the proposed visit, and buried their guns and ammunition. They refused to join, the party who left after making, sundry threats. Mr. Nicholls’ impressions were that the Stockade party had a bad cause, and at 4 a.m. on the 3rd December, 1854, (he was aroused by the reports of firearms, fol lowed by bullets passing through the roof of the tent. After the fight they went into the Stockade without objection, and were followed by several doctors, amongst them being Dr King. Mr Nicholls continued mining with varying Success at Eureka, Red Hill, Little Bendigo and Gum-Tree Flat until August, 1856,.when he commenced business in Bridge street, in partnership with William Rossiter, as seedsmen and nurseryman. He took up Crown land in Peel street north, opposite the present Eastern Oval, and formed a nursery. One of his first contracts was the laying out and planting of the Ballarat Hospital grounds. In 1858 the partnership was dissolved, and Mr Nicholls carried on the business himself under tho present title of R. U. Nicholls and Co. In 1859 he attended the initial meeting of the Ballarat Horticultural Society, and was one of the first committee, subsequently being elected treasurer. In 1862 he was elected secretary of the Ballarat Pigeon Shooting Club, and was appointed president of the club in 1880. He was a successful shot, and won numerous trophies, and was also an ardent field sport. In 1885 he met with a shooting accident, losing the sight of one eye, which was a factor in breaking down, his magnificent constitution. In conjunction with Mr G. Clegg, architect, Mr Nicholls won the first prize for best design for laying out Victoria Park, Ballarat. The deceased gentleman was also a member of the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and in 1898 filled the office of treasurer, resigning on account of ill-health. He also filled-the presidential chair of the Old Colonists' Association.[6]

The late Mr. Robert U. Nicholls, of Clarendon street, Ballarat, seedsman and nurseryman, left £6970 to his widow and children.[7]


See also

Old Colonists' Association

George Clegg

William Rossiter



  1. Taffe, Michael, Growing A Garden City, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2014.
  2. Ballarat Star, 16 August 1910.
  3. Taffe, Michael, Growing A Garden City, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2014.
  4. Taffe, Michael, Growing A Garden City, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2014.
  5. Hamilton Spectator, 16 August 1910.
  6. Ballarat Star, 16 August 1910.
  7. BEndigo Independant, 01 October 1910.

Further Reading

External links



--Clare K.Gervasoni 23:40, 21 August 2016 (AEST)

Personal tools