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“Big Nick” commits collection to Carlton archive

Carlton Legend John Nicholls with one of his early press photograph. (Photo: Carlton Football Club)
Carlton Legend John Nicholls with one of his early press photograph. (Photo: Carlton Football Club)

For years it was safely tucked away in storage – an old suitcase crammed with faded clippings, black and white press photographs and sundry items of another time.

These were the very personal football keepsakes of the great John Nicholls, from as far back as the mid-1950s when he first chased the leather for Maryborough, and through the 18 seasons of greatness with both Carlton and Victoria.

Now “Big Nick” has flicked open the suitcase’s latches - and in so doing availed his treasure trove of on-field memories to anyone with an empathy for his incredible football journey.

Nicholls very graciously loaned his unique assortment of material to Carlton for inclusion in its digital archive, in a folder marked the John Nicholls Collection. The collection includes Victorian team photographs from 1959 through to ’72 (remembering Nicholls’ is “The Big V’s” most capped player); ditto the Blues from 1957 to ’74.

John Nicholls breaks through for the Big V. (Photo: John Nicholls Collection)

Hundreds of items in part tell the whole that is the John Nicholls story – the 328 games, the three Premierships, the five Club Best and Fairests and the legendary accolades with both the Carlton and Australian Football Halls of Fame.

“I’ve got a lot of history in my mind, a lot of memory. I love the club and I know that there are a lot of items there that the club may not have – and I’m only too happy for the club to have them,” Nicholls said.

“I appreciate that the club wishes to compile a record, and that sometimes it may be without a photograph or a press clipping to build on that record. So I’m hoping I can help a little in this regard.”

It is hoped that items from the John Nicholls Collection will feature in powerpoint display in future exhibitions earmarked for the foyer area of Visy Park.

Former Carlton players and/or staff members prepared to follow “Big Nick’s” lead are encouraged to loan their precious photographs or documents to the club for inclusion in the digital archive by contacting Tony De Bolfo on 9389 6241.