Bert Nicholas ACS (1910-1991)

Inducted into ACS Hall of Fame – 1998

Herbert Lawes Nicholas was born on June 9, 1910 in St. Kilda, Melbourne. He worked all his life in the motion picture business, beginning his career with Eftee films in Melbourne during the silent film era.

In 1934 Bert moved to Sydney with his three year old son Brian to take up a position as a newsreel cameraman with Cinesound Review at Bondi Jct. Eventually being appointed to the position of Chief Cameraman. In 1940 Cinesound loaned him to Charles Chauvel alongside Tasman Higgins and Frank Hurley as supporting cameramen to George Heath, the main cinematographer on Chauvel’s 1940 epic “Forty Thousand Horseman”. In 1949 Bert was again loaned to Chauvel, this time as co-cinematographer with Carl Kayser for the cinema classic “Sons of Matthew”. Reviewers said the film’s awe-inspiring footage earned Sons of Matthew a place in Australian cinematic history.

For a short period during WW11 Bert was conscripted as a war correspondent and involved with the production of government films with the Dept of Information, he returned to Cinesound at the end of the war.

In 1950 Bert moved back to Melbourne and joined Herschells Films, well known producers of advertising and documentary films.

In 1956 television broadcasting began in Australia, and Bert received an invitation to return to Sydney and join ABC-TV as Chief of the Cine-camera department, he accepted and remained there till his retirement in 1975.

Bert took up Lawn Bowls and became Secretary of the Epping Bowling Club for many years until he was struck by a car and suffered a broken leg, which confined him to his home. He died peacefully, on Christmas Eve 1991, in his favourite chair after having his usual glass of scotch.

Bert was an early member and avid supporter of the Australian Cinematographers Society and served as Federal President 1972-1973. He was accredited in 1963 and posthumously inducted into the ACS Hall of Fame in 1998.