George Nichols (Australian politician)

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George Nichols
Auditor-General
In office
6 June 1856 – 25 August 1856
Preceded by New Position
Succeeded by Terence Murray
Secretary for Lands and Works
In office
6 June 1856 – 25 August 1856
Preceded by New Position
Succeeded by Terence Murray
Personal details
Born George Robert Nichols
(1809-09-27)27 September 1809
Sydney, New South Wales
Died 12 September 1857(1857-09-12) (aged 47)
Sydney, New South Wales
Spouse(s) Eliza Boggs (d.1835) 23 March 1831
Susannah Eliza Barnes 16 December 1837
Eliza Smith 14 July 1854

George Robert Nichols (27 September 1809 – 12 September 1857),[1] also known as Bob Nichols, was an Australian politician,[2] a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council between 1848 and 1856. He was also a member of the inaugural New South Wales Legislative Assembly for one term from 1856 until his death.

Early life[edit]

Nichols was the second son of Isaac Nichols,[2] a former convict who became a successful Sydney businessman and the first postmaster in the colony, and Rosanna Abrahams, daughter of Esther Johnston (also known as Esther Abrahams or Esther Julian). Shortly before his father's death in 1819, George Nichols was sent to England for an education, but returned to Sydney early in 1823.

On returning to Australia he worked as an articled clerk until he was admitted as the first native-born Australian solicitor on 1 July 1833.[2] Nichols had founded the law firm Clayton Utz in February 1833.[3] During this period he was also an editor of William Wentworth's Australian newspaper. He was bankrupted in the financial crisis of 1842 but later returned to his legal practice. Nichols was a member of the Parramatta Regional Council, a trustee of Sydney Grammar School and a leading Freemason.

Among the pupils articled to Nichols were James Martin (afterwards Premier and Chief Justice of New South Wales) and Richard Dry (afterwards Premier of Tasmania). Nichols was conceded the privilege, enjoyed by no other practitioner of his grade, of appearing professionally in both the superior and inferior courts of the colony.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1848, prior to the establishment of responsible self-government, Nichols was elected to the semi-elected unicameral Legislative Council. He represented the electorate of Northumberland Boroughs (including Morpeth, West Maitland and East Maitland) until the granting of responsible self-government in 1856. At the first election under the new constitution he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as one of the two members for Northumberland Boroughs and continued to represent the seat until his death on 12 September 1857. Throughout his parliamentary career he was a strong supporter of Wentworth and William Bland.

Nichols was New South Wales' inaugural Auditor General and Secretary for Lands for Works. He held these positions for 81 days in the government of Stuart Donaldson.

Personal life[edit]

Nichols married Eliza Boggs on 23 March 1831. She died on 16 February 1835 (aged 24), and he married Susannah Eliza Barnes on 16 December 1837, who died on 12 November 1846 (aged 30). He married for a third time, this time to 18-year old Eliza Smith on 14 July 1854.[4] George died from dropsy[2] on 12 September 1857 (aged 47)[5] and was survived by Eliza (who died on 21 July 1863, aged 27) and by two sons.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mennell, Philip (1892). "Wikisource link to Nichols, George Robert". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource 
  2. ^ a b c d e Walsh, G. P. (1974). "Nichols, George Robert (Bob) (1809–1857)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Clayton Utz - celebrating 175 years of service". Clayton Utz. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Family history
  5. ^ Trove, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 September 1857

External links[edit]

Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
First election
Member for Northumberland Boroughs
1856 – 1857
Served alongside: Russell/Weekes
Succeeded by
James Dickson
Political offices
Preceded by
Position created
Auditor-General and Secretary for Lands and Works
1856
Succeeded by
Terence Murray