Oliver John Nilsen

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Oliver John Nilsen
70th Lord Mayor of Melbourne
In office
Preceded by Sir James Stanley Disney
Succeeded by Sir William John Brens
Personal details
Born (1884-08-17)17 August 1884
Melbourne, Australia
Died 24 October 1977(1977-10-24) (aged 93)
Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Australian

Oliver John Nilsen CBE JP (17 August 1884 – 24 October 1977) was a businessman and Lord Mayor of Melbourne.


Born in Collingwood, Nilsen was educated at Rathdowne Street State School, Carlton and the Working Men's College. On 4 September 1907 Nilsen married Ethel Margaret Williams at the Fitzroy Presbyterian Church. In 1916 he established Oliver J. Nilsen & Co. (later Oliver J. Nilsen (Australia) Ltd), an electrical business, which moved to 45 Bourke Street in 1924.

In later life he lived in Kooyong Road, Caulfield, Victoria; and every Christmas he would decorate an enormous tree on his front lawn with electric lights, long before it became the fashion to do so.


On 6 February 1925 Nilsen was granted the first commercial radio broadcasting license in Victoria, Australia for station 3UZ, which the Nilsen family retained until 1985. In 1996 the callsign was changed to Radio Sport 927.


Nilsen was elected to the Melbourne City Council in 1934, representing the Gipps Ward. He sat on the electric-supply committee for thirty years. He was elected Lord Mayor of Melbourne in August 1951 and served until 1952. Nilsen retired from the Melbourne City Council in 1964.

Nilsen was made a CBE in 1956, and was also a Justice of the Peace. In 1944 he received the Australian Federation of Commercial Broadcasters' award.


Nilsen died on 24 October 1977 in East Melbourne, leaving an estate valued at $1,845,530.


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