Australia’s Titanic Hero — Part One

Albert Nichols was born in 1864 on remote Lord Howe Island. After a public scandal that saw him pitted against his parents, Albert fled to Sydney before working his way to London as a seaman. There he established a successful career with the White Star Line, working as a boatswain first on the company’s luxury liner Adriatic and then on the even-bigger Olympic. In April 1912 he transferred to Titanic, the greatest ship ever built and was aboard for the liner’s sea trials, for the trip from Belfast to Southampton and for the maiden voyage. His life story is told for the first time in this two-part episode — and, despite this being a true Titanic tale, you simply won’t believe the ending.

Albert “Big Neck” Nichols, Lord Howe Island native, unsung Titanic hero.

Mary Nichols – Albert’s tyrannical mother.

Thomas Nichols – Albert’s hard-drinking father.

Lord Howe Island, Albert’s birthplace, as it looks today.

Thomas Nichols was the captain of the whaling barque Aladdin, depicted left in this colonial painting, Offshore Whaling With Aladdin And Jane, by William Duke.

Albert’s home, The Pines, which is now award-winning resort Pinetrees Lodge.

George Nichols, Albert’s brother, who helped him escape Lord Howe Island.

Albert’s 1909 letter to his uncle William, written on Adriatic letterhead, now displayed at Pinetrees Lodge.


  1. Loved your accounts from the titanic. When you can trace a timeline it is exciting.
    I was a foster child and in 1970 spent six weeks on lord Howe Island, my foster parents were guests of the Anglican minister.
    Ice cream was a common treat at the pines with spectacular views over mount gower which I also climbed to see the secret wood hen establishment ( if I remember correctly 12 birds were still alive, close to extinct.
    After six weeks on the island it was so hard for a 13 year old to go back to suburban Sydney.
    Thanks for the history and memories.

    1. Thanks, Allen! I’ll bet it was hard to leave. I only got back two days ago and I’m missing the place. I haven’t climbed Gower yet. Next time. All best, Michael

  2. I am a Titanic fan, and I have never heard a podcast about the Titanic as enthralling as this was! Both parts of this was amazing- I had goosebumps by the end and wished you had more to say! Love your work Michael! =)

    1. Hi Hana,
      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m still investigating Albert’s story so there may be more to come. I really appreciate the feedback. Best, Michael

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