Nicholls, Ernest Alfred (Nick) (Private, 8th Inf Bn and Member of "Perham Stars" No. 1 Command Depot Concert Party) (d.1967)

Unit 8th Australian Infantry Battalion
Place Europe: United Kingdom, England
Accession Number 3DRL/3820
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 2 wallets: x 3 cm
Object type Papers
Maker Nicholls, Ernest Alfred 'Nick'
Date made 1900-1920
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM315 749/076/015
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition
Description

Relating to the service of 6408 Private Ernest A (Nick) Nicholls 8 Battalion. Collection comprises notebook containing handwritten notes on the Lewis gun; 2 x postcards with photos of 'The Perham Stars'; newspaper cuttings; 'The Baptist Boys' Greeting Card, Xmas 1918; Rationing Order 1918 booklet containing coupons; 2 x 'The Kit Inspection Hymn' by the Perham Stars; 'The Laughing Song' lyric sheet and concert programme for 'The Aussies' 20/8/1918; YMCA stationery wallet; Field Service postcard stamped 9/3/1918; Registered letter envelope;and typed attendance receipt stamped 30/11/1916, Bombing Course 'A' Group, Grenade school, Perham Downs.

History / Summary

Ernest Alfred Nicholls was born in London c1890. He had begun singing on London piers at the age of 11 with 'Carrie Lauries' Juveniles'. Nicholls migrated to Australia and worked as a Picture Operator in Melbourne. Following enlistment in Melbourne with the AIF in June 1916, he was sent overseas on troopship Euripides, disembarking Plymouth 26/6/1919. He marched in to Perham Downs and was attached to 8 Battalion on 30/10/1916. Whilst at the Perham Downs camp he formed 'The Perham Stars' with fellow servicemen, entertaining the troops there. Nicholls was an accomplished baritone and wrote of musical numbers. Their fame spread and they were eventually recognised by the AIF and became the First Official Concert Party. The group renamed and became 'The Aussies'. They toured hospitals and other camps. Another member of the cast was 3856 WO II John Sinclair 'Jack' Lumsdaine, later a famous radio concert pianist. Nicholls was the business manager for the group. Their manager was Lieutenant Arthur Charles Boorman MC.
Following discharge in 1919, Nicholls continued his association with musical societies and was an acting member of the Gillbert & Sullivan society, Sydney Musical Society, Mosman Musical Society and the dramamtic group, The Thespians. He played an active role with the RSL, and he is remembered for playing song after song at their reunions. Following a move to Milton in New South Wales, he worked as Hospital Director and also District Coroner. Nicholls served as President of the Milton-Ulladulla Sub-Branch for four years before his death in 1967.