The image of the Nichols Bakery & General Store located in Windsor Street, Richmond is one of our family’s treasured photographs linking the Nichols family to the Hawkesbury district. The photograph appears to have been taken towards the end of World War I, probably 1916-1918.
|Nichols Bakery & General Store, Richmond NSW|
(Nichols Family Archives)
Ernest Nichols, my Great Grandfather, arrived in Sydney in 1912. He migrated to Australia from England. Ernest was born in London in 1875 and from the 1890s was employed as baker. He was originally employed by Henry Purvis who ran the North Finchley Hygenic Bakery at 81 High Street. Purvis was a ‘high class cook and confectioner’ and when he died in 1908 Ernest stayed on and worked for the estate. When he made the decision to migrate, the Purvis Company supplied Ern with an excellent reference, with the Manager recording Ern was leaving “entirely of his own accord, to try his fortune in a new country and we are very sorry and very reluctant to lose his services and we have no hesitation in recommending him for any position suited to his abilities and capacity. We consider him absolutely trustworthy and hardworking and have always found him to take an intelligent interest in anything he had in hand.”
Ern’s wife Annie and their only son, William ‘Bill’ Robert aged ten, followed several months later, arriving in Sydney in 1913. Ern’s Recipe Book has survived and in it is recorded seven varieties of making yeast, baker’s recipes for Queen cakes, Madeira Cake, Cornflour Cream Buns, Coconut Mac’s, Cheese Curd etc.
Shortly after Ern, Annie and Bill settled in Australia, his younger brother Wilfred decided to join him in Australia. Wilfred and his family arrived in 1913 and the two families enjoyed a close relationship throughout their lives. Ern and the family originally settled at Tilba on the South Coast of NSW and for a short time he did a bakery run between Tweed Heads and Coolangatta before eventually settling in Richmond. Here he operated the Nichols Bakery and General Store which was located in Windsor Street, Richmond. The store sold bread as well as a variety of goods. Brother Wilfred and his family were also living in Richmond at this time.
Ern left Richmond in the 1920s and tried his luck at poultry farming at Cowflats in Schofields. This venture did not last long and they then moved to Riverstone. He was employed again in the bakery business working for Charlie Fisher, at the local bakery on the night shift. Son Bill worked as a mechanic for Wally Heap and then commenced a hire car business in Richmond in the early 1920s. Bill later moved to Riverstone where he operated the first Taxi service in Riverstone and established Nichols Service Station in 1927.
Aged 92 years old, Ern died in 1967.