George Nichols, bookseller, stationer and printer, appears in a Melbourne directory for the first time in 1855, at 105 Collins Street West. In that year he took out a full page advertisement in Butterfield's 1855 Melbourne Directory, stating that 'G. Nichols Begs to inform his numerous friends and customers that he has REMOVED from the WESTERN MARKET to the very commodious premises adjoining the Clarendon Hotel, Great Collins Street, Directly opposite the Western Market, Where the chief requirements in the Business of a Bookseller and Stationer will constantly be in Stock, to supply the wants of his customers. G.N. relies confidently upon his reasonable charges and long experience in the trade, for obtaining an extension of support in his new premises. He respectfully solicits an inspection of his stock comprising amongst other goods, a large stock of the following, viz.:- Ledgers, Journals, Invoice books, Day Books, Cash Books, Letter Books, Papers…' This stock listing continues at length.
He remained at 105 Collins Street until 1857, when the Sands and Kenny Directory listed him at 9 Collins Street West, an address he kept until 1860. In 1861 his address was the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets, on the 'opposite corner to post office,' the address from which he issued his tokens in 1862. From 1863 to 1870 his listed business address was 2 Bourke Street West.
Gardner suggests that he was an Englishman, from the town of Wakefield. Five men named George Nichol are listed on Victorian Immigration records between 1852 and 1855.
Apparently he sold the business to three of his employees, Dunn, Collins and Carter, soon after constructing a new two storey building on the site. (7/1/05 - Date unknown)
Gardner reminds us that at this time Elizabeth Street became a flooding creek in heavy rain. Many businesses up and down Melbourne's main shopping street had to find mechanisms to avoid the destruction of their stock in wet weather.
Gardner, F. (1911) 'Trade tokens and the firms who issued them.' The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 28 February, pp.11-12. (photocopy)
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens.' Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7. December, p.52.
Public RecordsOffice of Victoria internet index of Unassisted Immigrants to Victoria, 1852-1923, VPRS 7666.
Advertisement. Butterfield's Melbourne Commercial and General Melbourne Directory for 1855: unnumbered page
Hope, John, (2005). 'Biography of George Nichols', unpublished MSS, 1pp.