Joyce Nicholson

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Joyce Nicholson

Joyce Nicholson (née 'Thorpe) (1 June 1919 – 30 January 2011) was an Australian author, business woman and a significant contributor to an Australian political organisation, the Women's Electoral Lobby.

The daughter of Publisher D.W. Thorpe, Nicholson was born in Melbourne and educated at Methodist Ladies' College and the University of Melbourne. She was active in the women's movement as one of the founding members of the Woman's Electoral Lobby and Sisters Publishing.[1] She was a significant influence in the Australian publishing industry for many years as managing director, and later sole owner, of D.W. Thorpe Pty Ltd (from 1968 to 1987 when the firm was sold). She authored over 25 books, many of them dealing with children and women. She married Harvey Nicholson and had four children: Peter, Hilary, Wendy, and Michael.

Joyce sponsored a major collection of books by and about Australian women, the Joyce Thorpe Nicholson Collection at Melbourne University. It includes rare nineteenth century material, as well as scarce twentieth-century political ephemera.[2] The Joyce Thorpe Nicholson Hall of Fame Award is sponsored by Thorpe Bowker and presented periodically to a designer whose body of work has made a significant contribution to the standards of book design in Australia.[3]


(Details from an online biography)[4]

  • 1935 – 1946 Junior typist, secretary and sub-editor at D W Thorpe Pty Ltd (Melbourne)
  • 1940 Vice-president of the Student Representative Council at the University of Melbourne
  • 1943 Married George Harvey Nicholson (1 Dec May 1997), they had 4 children
  • 1947 – 1968 Writer and part-time work at D W Thorpe Pty Ltd (Melbourne)
  • 1957 Organizer of the first Children's Book Week in Victoria
  • 1968–1980 Managing director and proprietor of D W Thorpe Pty Ltd (Melbourne), and editor, Australian Bookseller and Australian Books in Print
  • 1971–1974 Editor of Newsletter for the Royal Historical Society of Victoria
  • 1972–1983 Secretary and executive member of the Australian Library Promotion Council
  • 1974 Founding member of the National Book Council
  • 1979–1980 Co-founder and director of Sisters Publishing Ltd
  • 1987–1992 chief executive officer of Jayen Press
  • 1993 chief executive officer of Courtyard Press
  • 1998 Recipient of the Lloyd O'Neil Award for services to the Book Industry


  • Nicholson, Joyce, How to play auction bridge, G.W. Green & Sons, [Melbourne], [193-], 23 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, How to play solo : complete guide to solo (solo whist), auction solo, three-handed solo, hints on bidding and play, scoring, illustrated hands, with special chapter for beginners who have never played cards of any kind, Gordon and Gotch (Wholesale distributors), Melbourne, [1945?], 64 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, The Way to Play – a book on strategies to win at the card Game Solo
  • Nicholson, Joyce, You can run a library, Australian Red Cross Society, [Melbourne?], 1948, 56 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, Our first overlander, Shakespeare Head Press, Sydney, 1956, 128 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, The Children's Party and Games Book, 1957 – Over 100 different games from the 1950s. Epworth Press
  • Nicholson, Joyce, Kerri and Honey, Lansdowne, Melbourne, 1962, 32 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, A mortar-board for Priscilla, Children's Library Guild of Australia, Melbourne, 1963, 121 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, Freedom for Priscilla, Thomas Nelson, Melbourne, 1974, 121 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, Cranky – The baby Australian Camel, Lansdowne press, [Melbourne], 1983
  • Nicholson, Joyce, Why women lose at bridge, V. Gollancz in association with P. Crawley, London, 1985, 95 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, Man against mutiny : the story of Vice-Admiral Bligh, Lutterworth Press, London, c1961, 95 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, (compiled by ), Successful parties and social evenings, Gordon and Gotch [Distributor], Melbourne, [195-?], 64 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, and De Lisle, Gordon (photography by), Ringtail the possum, Lansdowne, [Melbourne], 1965, 32 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, & Leunig, Mary, 1950– (illustrated by), What society does to girls, Pitman (Australia), Carlton, Vic., 1975, 70 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, & Max B. Miller (illustrations by), The little green tractor, Little Books Publishing House, Hawthorn,Vic, [1950]
  • Nicholson, Joyce, & Max B. Miller (illustrations by), The little blue car, Little Books Publishing House, Hawthorn,Vic, [19??]
  • Nicholson, Joyce, & McArdle, Brian (photography by), Sir Charles and the lyrebird, Lansdowne, Melbourne, 1966
  • Nicholson, Joyce, & Smith, L. H. (Leonard Hart), 1910– (photography by ), Woop the wombat, Lansdowne, [Melbourne], [1968], 32 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, & Smith, L. H. (Leonard Hart), 1910–, illus., Yap the penguin, Lansdowne, [Melbourne], 1967, 32 pp.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, & Thorpe, Daniel (Daniel Wrixon), 1889–1976., A life of books : the story of D.W. Thorpe Pty Ltd., 1921–1987, Courtyard Press, Middle Park, Vic., 2000, 326 pp. The story of DW Thorpe Publishers (Publishers of Australian Bookseller & Publisher). A Life of books is a chronicle not only of a family company that has been at the centre of the book trade in Australia since the 1920s, but equally, of the people, companies, associations, issues, debates, troubles and joys that have affected the industry.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, The Heartache of Motherhood, 1983 From the mother of 4 grown-up children. After 35 years of devoted marriage, she left the family home to live alone – happily. This book is a deeply personal account of her feelings about being a mother; her honesty is extraordinary and very moving, her conclusions startling.
  • Nicholson, Joyce, Daughter to Bligh, 2012 – The story of Mary Bligh, daughter of William Bligh.

Journal articles[edit]

  • Gorman, Lyn, A life in books, Australian Library Journal, vol. 49, no. 4, 2000, pp. 374–376.
  • First Pacific Book Trade Seminar Papers, D. W. Thorpe (January 1976)


  • Nicholson, Joyce, The Women's Electoral Lobby and Women's Employment: Strategies and Outcomes, MA, Women's Studies, History, The University of Melbourne', MA thesis, The University of Melbourne, 1991, 118 pp.

See also[edit]

  • De Micheli, Catherine and Herd, Margaret (eds), Who's who in Australia 2003, 39 edn, Crown Content, North Melbourne, 2003, 2201 pp.
  • Lofthouse, Andrea (ed.), Who's who of Australian women, Methuen Australia, North Ryde (NSW), 1982, 504 pp. – Based on the research by Vivienne Smith (died 1978) who initiated the work in 1974. Following Smith's death a committee of women was brought together by Joyce Nicholson to see the idea thriugh to completion. Andrea Lofthouse was the committee's nominee to compile Smith's material and to build on it. – Bookjacket.
  • Walker, Nick, A life of books : the story of D.W. Thorpe Pty Ltd., 1921–1987, Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 71, no. 2, 2000, pp. 129–131.
  • Patricia Grimshaw & Lynne Strahan (Eds.), The Half-Open Door: Sixteen Modern Australian women look at professional life and achievement: Ch.7 Joyce Nicholson, Hale & Iremonger, 1982 (ISBN 0868060496)


  1. ^ "Sisters Publishing". The University of Melbourne. Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Joyce Thorpe Nicholson Australian Women Collection". The University of Melbourne. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "The 59th Australian Publishers Association Book Design Awards 2011" (PDF). Australian Publishers Association. 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Nicholson, Joyce Thorpe (1919 – )". National Foundation for Australian Women. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 

External links[edit]