Frederick Charles Nicholson

  • 1Caps
  • 62Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthApril 19, 1885
Place of BirthVilleneuve, QLD
SchoolBrisbane Grammar School
Debut ClubValleys (Brisbane)
Debut Test Match1904 Wallabies v Great Britain, 3rd Test Sydney
DiedDecember 13, 1975


Fred Nicholson was born on 19 April 1885 at Villeneuve, on the Stanley River near Kilcoy, north of Brisbane, the seventh child of Frank Villeneuve and Saranna (née North) Nicholson. He was the younger brother of Frank Nicholson. Fred was 13 years old when his father died in 1898, and helped support his family by running a dairy with his brothers near the family home at Herston in Brisbane. Fred entered Brisbane Grammar School on a State scholarship in April 1899 after earlier study at the Normal School in Edward Street, Brisbane, and remained there until December 1900.

He was the school’s singles tennis champion and the All-Schools’ Athletics champion in 1900. In 1900 and 1901 he was the Queensland junior tennis champion, and won the Queensland junior tennis doubles in 1902. As a teenager, he trained and boxed at the Valley gymnasium in Brisbane. Fred played rugby for the Toombul-Nundah and the Valley Electorate clubs, and represented Queensland in rugby from 1903 to 1905 as center-three-quarter and wing. As he was under legal drinking age when he first played for Queensland, he was appointed treasurer of the team’s drinking kitty. Fred played one international Test, in the three-quarter position against Great Britain in Sydney on 30 July 1904, in the final of the three-Test series. He also toured New Zealand in August-September 1905 with the Australian team, playing as three-quarter against local clubs in Nelson and Rotorua, but did not play in the international Test, which was held in Dunedin.

When Fred left Brisbane Grammar he worked in a bank before becoming an articled clerk with the Brisbane legal firm Atthow & McGregor, and later with Given & Capner. He took a break from the law for health reasons and worked land acquired from an uncle near Dirranbandi in Queensland’s southwest. By 1913, he began practice as a solicitor in Beaudesert, and gradually built up the firm Nicholson & Smith, which was based in Beaudesert but also serviced other regional towns. He continued to manage his sheep and cattle block, ‘Trafalgar’, and was a well-respected judge at horse shows in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Fred Nicholson married Ann Emily Liddiard (Daisy) Morisset in Brisbane on 10 November 1906. He was the father of Fay, Doris (Bebe), Swinton, and two rugby-playing sons: Vaux Morisset Nicholson, a 1939 Wallaby, and Frederick (Derek) Morisset Nicholson, who played breakaway for Queensland from 1932 to 1936 while he was with the GPS Club in Brisbane. Fred retired in 1950 to his holiday house at Southport on the Gold Coast, and was widowed five years later. He continued to live at his Bauer Street home, where he died suddenly on 11 November 1975, aged 90, while mowing his lawn.

Frederick Charles Nicholson