In Loving Memory
Harry Douglas Nicolson

Leave a Condolence
Share this page
facebook Twitter Email
Make a donation

Harry Nicolson.
Late of Sydney, passed away peacefully at
Shanagolden Aged Care Pakenham, Victoria on
Friday 1st January 2021, at the age of 97.
Loving father to Clio, her husband Ben,
step-father to Victor, Michel and their families.
A true gentleman and scholar.
Fondly remembered by his family, pupils, colleagues and friends.

A Funeral Service for
Harry will be held at
David W Bull Pakenham Funeral Home,

190 Princes Highway Pakenham on
Friday 8th January 2021

commencing at 10:30 a.m.
A private cremation will follow.

Due to government restrictions please
complete attendee list upon arrival.

Please click on the link below to view
the Chapel Service for Harry
which is scheduled to commence at
10:30 a.m. on Friday 8th January 2021.

Click here to view the Chapel Service for Harry.


Condolences / Guest Book

  1. Our deepest condolences to Harry’s family. The world has lost a true scholar and gentleman and we are the poorer for that.

    Roderick Wilson Stewart
    • I’m sorry to hear that Harry Nicholson’s passed away. I pass on my condolence . I’m saddened. I have great memories as a history teacher at the time I was at school. He was a terrific character. Please advise me about the memorial service online? The link? Now that he went peacefully after fair age.

      Paul Vonwiller
      • Hello Paul. Thanks for your condolence. I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier. The funeral link was within the notice from Bull funerals on the same page you posted your condolence. The funeral is available to view until about the 7th of February when it will be taken down. Alternatively you can go to and look for the link to funerals and one of those will be Harry Nicolson (without an H) . Regards, Clio

        Clio Curtis
  2. Harry was such a gentle man
    Thru the eyes of a child , he was a little bit of mystery but a good one.
    I still remember to this day Harry in the lounge room listening to classical music.
    I thank Harry for my love of the classics
    Forever in my heart

    Karen Collett
    • Hi Karen. Thanks for your memories. Its nice to know that he left a long term interest for you in music. I can also remember lots of occasions squeezing into Dads little white corolla to go somewhere. All good. Love Clio xox

      Clio Curtis
  3. Beloved family friend, school teacher, teacher (a separate category because I don’t think this ever ended), wily chess opponent, enthusiastic facilitator. Harry inspired the pursuit of knowledge and understanding in a rare and infectious way. He will be widely missed but undoubtedly his legend will endure.

    Tim Heath
    • Hello Tim. Love to all the Heaths. I’m sure he would thank you for all the chess games. Sadly missed. Thanks and Regards, Clio

      Clio Curtis
  4. deepest condolences to Clio and her family for their loss and the loss to all of us for a man of so much knowledge and compassion

    Leonora Howlett
    • Hi Leonora. So glad you saw the notice. I believe Dad shown in the eulogy standing in front of one of your paintings which we say at the Paddington Gallery. A very nice photo taken by Sipen. Thank you for your condolence. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  5. Thank you for a life very well spent. Numerous people have enjoyed and benefitted from your extensive knowledge of philosophy and history as well as your warm friendship. .You will never be forgotten.

    • Dear Frank. You would have received Harrys Christmas card. Your hand made ones were well received. Thank you for your message here. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  6. Dear Harry, we went through a grieving period when you moved to Victoria, a year ago, and we now know that it was one of the best things that you have done,in your life! To know that your final days were spent close to Clio, your beloved daughter, gives us comfort. As a learned man and a seeker of knowledge, you will now have all the answers to the Universe. Thank you for guiding Victor through his early childhood days and then, becoming a friend in his adult years; for that, he is ever grateful. We miss you and we WILL miss you! Condolences to Clio, husband Ben and families, also the family of Ken Curtis. Au revoir and VALE…Harry Douglas Nicolson, a life well lived!

    Amanda Marie Voets
    • A wonderful man and so proud of his School and its pupils.

      My fondest memories are of Harry in the 70’s launching himself into the throng at the New South Head Road bus stop yelling “do not touch the man in front of you!” Years later I reminded him of this and he told me that he had read up on crowd control in his early years.

      Vale Harry Nicholson.

      Scott Fuller
    • Thank you for your condolence Amanda. Harrys last year was peaceful and he had the best of care. condolences to you also. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  7. Harry gave me a love of history that has stood the test of my 80 years. He defined the word ‘Gentleman’ and was often in my thoughts and conversation.
    There are very few men I have ever met that gave me something to remember from the school. Harry was an exceptional man and I am much saddened by his leaving.


    Paul Purvis
    • Thank you for your thoughts of Harry. It is nice to know he made a lasting impression that was a happy and beneficial one. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  8. To this day I still lean on how Mr Nicolson taught me to construct a written argument or point of view. He was a fantastic educator and a person of great principles. Greek play reading evenings in my later years at Cranbrook are very fond memories. Vale Mr Nicolson.

    Robert J Eldridge
    • Dear Robert. I attended a few of the Greek play readings. They seemed like a lot of fun. Thank you for your thoughts. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  9. I’m very sorry to hear of Harry’s passing. A perennial teacher, mentor and friend; with a mind like a razor and a brilliant memory. I last saw him a few years ago (perhaps 5?) and had a great chat with him – he was ageless and this was reflected in his recognition of me as a student and interest in me as I progressed over the years (even after 40 years since the class of 1980). Harry, another student and I worked in editing the Cranbrookian – which was great for me to be exposed to 2 great wordsmiths in my final year at Cranbrook, and there were multiple times “Mr Nicolson” came to my rescue when the Parents and Teachers got together. Harry’s love for the classics encouraged me to study Ancient History – and reading Herodotus, which was an interesting perspective – i hope rounding out my views beyond mathematics and science.

    No doubt there will be many more students who encountered Harry will be sad to hear of his passing – as he was a fixture entrenched in the Cranbrook institution. My best wishes to the family and will raise a glass to his memory.

    Will Moses
    • Hello Will. Thanks for telling me how Harry helped round out your education while at Cranbrook. I’m also a 1980s leaver, but obviously not from Cranbrook. Even though all that time has elapsed our memories of who taught us and their contribution and demeanor doesn’t fade unlike newer acquaintances. Thanks and Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  10. One of the really great teachers, memorable and formative of our habits of creative scepticism. A privilege to have been taught by him. Condolences to all his family and to those who will miss him.

    Miles Little
  11. Harry taught me an appreciation of wisdom and balance, an appreciation of Greek plays, Ancient History. Above all he taught me to believe in the possibility of intelligent life, even when there was little of it about. Harry Nicholson, I salute you.

    Philip Barrington
    • Dear Philip. I’m wondering if you are related to Nick Barrington who was doing Geology and NSW Inst of Technology. Thanks for your observations. At least he gave you hope because the world is a little mad at the moment. Regards, Clio

      Clio Curtis
  12. Harry’s contribution to generations of Australian boys can never be over estimated. His approach to teaching was unique and special; his commitment to his students second to none. He encouraged a love of perpetual learning, of reading, of ancient and modern history as well as instilling the value of logical and compassionate reasoning. He will be fondly remembered by thousands of his students right around the world. My condolences to Clio and the family.

    Mark Latchford
    • Dear Mark, I think you will have seen from the service that he himself felt he accomplished more be being at Cranbrook than teaching at a university. Those boys are spread far and wide so perhaps good things have come from the those seeds of learning. Thank you for your condolence. Clio

      Clio Curtis
  13. Mr Nicolson was my guiding light. For a young boy who had never been in a class room before the age of 11 years ( a correspondence student through primary). Harry seemed to read me and took me under his wing. And I am forever grateful. He helped a young protected country boy in the late 60’s to enjoy ,compete and interact with those of his own age – believe me it was exceptionally confronting for me .If it hadn’t been for Harry Nicolson ,Ian Begbie and Mark and Nola Bishop my life as a boarder at Cranbrook would have been a very sad place.
    Harry’s warmth smile and compassion will never be forgotten

    An exceptional man who we were blessed to know
    My deepest condolences

    Andrew Benn
  14. In the weary educational world of the 1940s Harry Nicolson was a galaxy of enthusiasm. One of his many gifts was to ignite those of us with an interest in history to look behind the salient facts. For me this has produced enduring pleasure – I have been doing it ever since, In 1998 when he had retired to Gosford he welcomed my wife and me – travellers from afar – with great hospitality : it was a memorable lunch and he had prepared it.

    Andrew Bell (1950)
    • Dear Andrew, Thank you for those heart felt observations of you interactions with Harry and the other connections who supported you at Cranbrook. Being a Border is a unique and intense experience as I have learnt more fully now from talking in recent years to my old school mates. At the time we have little interest in or assume we know each others backstories but in our maturity we learn so much more. I’m glad Harry could help you at ta time when you most needed a friendly helping hand. Regard Clio

      Clio Curtis
    • Dear Andrew. Thanks for your lively observations of Harry. I think the 50s would have been an intense time for everyone back immediately post war. Harry was hardly much older than his first student and he would have been learning his craft. Thank for sharing your memories of him. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  15. My sincere condolences to Harry Nicolson’s family. My early memories were of Harry providing a depth of knowledge and understanding to any question posed to him. Fond memories over many years since sitting in one of Harry’s 1974 classes. Harry always provided depth of answers and developed in his students an enquiring mindset. As said ‘a true gentleman’. A sad loss.

    Anthony Rawnsley
  16. I remember Mr. Nicolson from my brief time at Cranbrook (1971-1972). He was a kind, yet firm teacher, one who inspired a lifelong love of history. I am saddened to learn of his passing, though I knew him only briefly. He clearly cast a wide net of gentleness and kindness to those privileged to have crossed his path. Condolences to his family and friends.

    Steve Dudley (Seattle, USA)

    Steve Dudley, M.D.
    • Dear Aleco. You must have been one of the earliest ones to have Harry as a teacher. He would have been at the peak of his interest and energy in those days. I’m glad your experience was memorable. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  17. My sincere condolences to Harry Nicolson’s family. What a wonderful man he was in all respects and all dimensions! The Cranbrook community loved to see him on his regular visits to the school and his attendance at Prizegiving. It was always an honour to see him, talk to him and renew the connections between an outstanding school master and an institution that loved and respected him.
    He will be missed but never forgotten.

    Craig Carroll
    • Dear Craig. It is lovely to hear all the well wishes. Harry loved Cranbrook and I think he always strove for a high standard in his time as a teacher and as a colleague. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  18. My time at Cranbrook, 1946-1954, almost exactly matched the period of Harry’s first period at the School. From him I developed a love of history that has never left me. Perhaps, even more, he instilled in me a love of books, a love that was heightened in my last year at the school, when I was Head Librarian, and worked closely with Harry in his capacity as Master-in-Charge of the library. A great teacher, and a wonderful gentleman.

    David Middleton
    • Dear David. I would say you got to know Harry more as a person from working with him in the library. If you love History and books I think Harry would feel his job was done. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  19. Harry. You were one of the great teachers of my school years. You had a look that could silence all mischief. You brought ancient history to life for me but more, you gave me a love of learning. Thank you. Daniel.

    Daniel Burke
    • Dear Daniel. If you had a love of learning you respected the person trying to impart their knowledge. I’m sure Harry would appreciate your comments greatly. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  20. Vale Harry, You introduced me to the muse of history figuratively and literally when you tutored me in your home. I have not forgotten your words that the muse teaches us that not all the good or bad are here and now.

    Richard Bartalesi
    • Dear Richard. I must admit I have my bad moments but mostly it is good. Glad you enjoyed your lessons with Harry. History has a lot to teach us in predictive modelling. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
    • His library over the years was huge but it wasnt for show. He read almost everything he owned. All his books had envelopes as book marks stuck in them and usually in multiples in order to return to a point of interest. He sought to really understand the authors narrative.
      Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  21. Vale Harry. Thank you for your passionate teaching, and for modelling a cultured, adventurous, global and socially responsible life to your students. The rise and fall of city-states and empires, their crowning social, political and cultural achievements, the personalities of their leaders and citizens, and the narratives of power conveyed by their historians are crowding around my thoughts this week. Those gifts you gave keep on giving. Thank you for your inspiration. In the pantheon of heroes you taught us about, you were one of mine.

    Matt Pulford
    • Hi Matt. We live in interesting times, particularly with the situation in America. Thank you for your kind comments of Harry. I’m not sure he saw himself as a hero but he certainly strove to influence. Kindest Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  22. He was great teacher by far my favourite that brought out the best in us! He loved the Socratic method and would always ask what I think I should do in the end I worked it out for myself !

    Luke Gamulin
    • Dear Luke. In modern parlance someone would say, “Good Job!” for working out your own answer. But to get to the best end point does require skill and consideration. I know my favourite teachers always managed to make me feel more confident in my decision making. Kindest Regards, Clio

      Clio Curtis
  23. Vale Harry Nicholson. Thank you for helping me identify certain pathways of thought and for animated parrying conversations. I didn’t think the “fossil” named fitted due to your understanding of history as a foundation for the ever flowing present. It’s also true that fossils are a sign post to the true narrative of time, which you were to many. Gentlemen, Scholar and pretty good art critic. I Hope you eventually re-found the source of all History and beauty. The One who is the resurrection and the Life. And thank you for your belief in me. Andrew

    Andrew Adair
    • Its true that fossils have their uses and are a source of much wonder. While in hospital for an excess of warfarin issue earlier in 2020 he suddenly said he saw a “universal light”. Then he fell asleep for a while and recovered after a weekend in hospital. I’m not sure how that affected him but he certainly had and “experience”.

      Clio Curtis
  24. My deepest condolences to Clio and her family. Harry was a wonderful man who touched so many lives with his teaching. A gentleman, a philosopher ,a scholar, and a great friend of my late mother, Brenda Humble

    Jackie Wilson
    • Hi Jackie. I hoped you liked the lovely Black and White picture of Dad and Brenda at an exhibition somewhere. I think it captures something of both their spirits.
      Regards, Clio

      Clio Curtis
  25. Harry was my schoolmaster at Cranbrook in 1948 and we have been close friends since then. He was one of the most outstanding schoolmasters in Cranbrook history. He founded the modern Cranbrook Library. Harry Nicolson was a National Treasure. He will never be forgotten.

    Malcolm Dan
    • Hi Malcolm. You were a great support to Harry. He loved your chats and the frequent visit. We will speak again, I’m sure. Clio

      Clio Curtis
  26. Efkaristo Poli, Harry Douglas Nicolson. Thank you for introducing me to The Dave Brubeck Quartet. I have enjoyed personally playing some of their pieces, ever since. And thanks for insisting that I had to learn The New Testament Scholar’s language, Latin, for it motivated me to also learn Old Testament languages of Greek and Hebrew. Enjoy your path towards enlightenment! Yasu, Adio; Shalom Shalom. Your stepson, Victor Anthony Voets-Nicolson

    Victor Anthony Voets-Nicolson
  27. Harry came into our lives after he moved to Gosford – and shared with us his passion for history, high culture and philosophy.
    He was generous with his time, and was always open to trying something new, including developing a taste for Korean food.
    We will miss him dearly.

    Hwang Family

    Anna Hwang
    • Hi Anna, At least he had some time to develop his friendship with you and the whole Hwang family. I think there was a lot of mutual respect and enjoyment in your connection. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  28. I will miss Grandad’s stories about exploring ancient Macedonian tombs & living in Europe when he was younger. He was a man of great intellect, empathy & social awareness that he surpassed many people in these areas that were half of his age. The last few years must have been difficult for you, battling cancer & the ravages of old age. I miss you & hope you are at peace, where ever you are.

    Cian Voets
    • Hi Cian. He was a person of unique interests and qualities. He always acted with a lot of integrity. He was never eager to “go” because he found so much to interest him here.

      Clio Curtis
  29. Harry had already been retired for several years when we first met Harry when I started working in Gosford Hospital through a mutual friend, KJ Lee. It was meant to be a brief stay in his house, but Harry, re-discovering, or perhaps having never lost, the pastoral instinct, decided to ensure that I would be fed after long days at work. One thing lead to another, and at some point, we found ourselves watching ‘The Bill’ together while talking about history.

    After 2 years (!) we went our separate ways, but it was always lovely to catch up with Harry over a cup of tea and biscuits, and talking about whatever peaked his curiosity since the last visit with the Sydney skyline in the backdrop. I will miss that.

    We can be. Be and be
    better. For they existed.

    Yun Hwang
  30. Great teachers change lives, and Harry changed mine. I graduated in 1972, and I wrote to him in 2015 – more than 40 years later – to say how much his teaching and guidance had meant to me. He wrote back immediately and graciously – a letter I will always treasure. Vale Harry, and thank you for all you taught me.

    John Blair
    • Hi John. He would have been delighted to hear of your regard for him. What more can a teacher ask than they be fondly rememebers as a guiding light. Regards Clio

      Clio Curtis
  31. With thanks for the life and legacy of a fine teacher who was instrumental in introducing so many to reflection and discussion informed by the past, to help guide the present.

    Gary Sholler
  32. I consider myself extremely privileged to have had Harry as my ancient history teacher in 1971-2. He transmitted his love of the ancient world to us all and it remains with me to this day. Harry also taught us so much beyond the boundaries of the subject from philosophy and politics to moral principles. He has had an important influence on my life. My sincere condolences to his family.

    Michael Fabian
  33. Like so many seniors living in this wonderful part of the world ,my path fortunately crossed with Harry,s when we regularly attended a Seniors Discussion Group get together. Harry always had something interesting and informative to contribute and he gently corrected any misconception that he thought would help the speaker/enquirer ,Most of us shared thoughts of “how I wish we could have had Harry as a teacher in our school years some 60-70 -80 years previously ”

    Thanks for the memories Harry .A privilege to have known you.

  34. I first met HD when I lived in Henry st, Sth Coogee when he was wooing my mum, Roma. He was an odd sort of chap (to me), but they both had a love of art (and the arts) n got married shortly after. We moved a couple of times over the years n eventually settled in the big house in Bronte, where him n I used to play chess every evening after dinner for something like 3 years. (It took me something like 2 1/2 years to learn to win against him!). He was a very patient teacher. The last 2 years at school I was in the chess team playing against many others schools n often played in the A or B slot n I have him to thank for that.
    He is very missed by me.
    Peace be with you Harry n I’m sure we will meet again. Much love Michel Voets

    Michel Voets