Herman Nelson, a carpenter was born in Kempsey.1 The family left their general store in St. Ives and travelled by horse and cart to Taree in 1923.2 On trips to and from Sydney my father, Bill Nelson, the eldest son, often pointed out places where they had camped beside the track on their way north by horse and cart.
Herman purchased a hardware store in Albert Lane in 1931 then the business moved to newly built premises in Pulteney Street, making sure the floor level was above the 1929 flood level.3 The building cost £200 and was built by Mr Unicomb.4
Herman’s three sons (Bill, Cres and Robert) joined him in 1949 renaming the business H. Nelson & Sons, incorporating Bill’s ‘Blue Flag’ grocery store which in 1955 reportedly became the first self-service grocery store in country NSW.5 Another hardware branch was also established at Forster, which was eventually owned by second son Cres when the store ownership was split up.
The youngest son Robert was accidentally killed in 1964 and Herman died a year later.6 Bill Nelson senior died in 1965 of cancer and his son Bill took charge of the business later moving the premises to Manning Street in 1975 then selling it to Best and Less in 1979.7
My husband George and myself moved from West Wyalong in 1961 back to Taree and George worked in the hardware until it was sold.
Author: Elaine Hughes, daughter of Bill Nelson senior.
1 NSW BDM, Birth Index, Herman Nelson, 1883, No. 21970.
2 Northern Champion, 1 July 1950, 2.
3 Taree Historic Rate Books, 1929-31, H Nelson, Albert Lane, Store, Section 13, Lot 17; Taree Historic Rate Books, 1932-34, H Nelson, Pulteney Street, Section 5, Part Lot 2, https://midcoaststories.com.
4 Northern Champion, 2 May 1931, 1.
5 Taree Historic Rate Books, 1949-50, H Nelson & Sons, Pulteney Street, Section 5, Lots 2 & 3. https://midcoaststories.com; Northern Champion, 1 July 1950, 2.
6 NSW BDM, Death Index for Robert Manning Nelson, 1964, Index No. 26200; Hermon Nelson, 1965, Index No. 23314.
7 NSW BDM, Death Index for William George Nelson, 1965, Index No. 39680.