Amelia was the seventh born child of John and Ann Nichols, born at Prospect on the 26 February 1811 and baptised at St Johns Parramatta on the 17 March 1811. At the time her family were living on 100 acres at Prospect Creek which Governor Patterson had granted to her father on the 24 October 1809.

At the age of 16 Amelia married Charles Hughes on the 23 July 1827 at Christ Church Newcastle. Charles was born in Manchester England in 1798.

Charles had been charged with "felonious assault on the Kings highway" and was sentenced to death but his sentence was commuted to transportation for life. Charles arrived in Australia on the 22 November 1817 aboard the "Larkins"

The life of Charles Hughes, innkeeper and former convict is particularly interesting. His struggles to establish himself as a free man in Newcastle, Maitland and later Black Creek ( present day Branxton ) in the period between 1834 and 1851 reflect not only the deep urge of many a former convict to be independent and to achieve a position of some respectability in society, but also the difficulties they faced in trying to achieve these goals.Charles held licences for several inns up to 1851 though his dreams of business success were thwarted by elements largely beyond his control. Charles however was able to provide the education and security his children needed to not only become respected local businessmen but to be outstanding in the fields of local government, the public service and the police force. He died at Branxton on the 8 January 1869 at the age of 71 from cancer of the stomach.

Amelia lived for a further 15 years. During this time she witnessed the marriage of the last of her children and the birth of 36 of her 50 grandchildren. She died on the 25 June 1884 at the age of 73 from acute kidney failure. The married life of Charles and Amelia typifies the desire of a transported convict to transcend his unfortunate beginning and provide opportunities he himself had never enjoyed.

Charles and Amelia were buried together in Branxton cemetery where an impressive stone marks their last resting place.

The children of Amelia Nichols and Charles Hughes

Thomas Dent Hughes married Martha Hall in 1853.
Charles Andrew Hughes married 1) Mary Lowe 1851. 2) Mary Sheriff 1894.
Jane Hughes married John Hughes ( no relation ) 1850.
Ellen Hughes born 1834, died 1835.
John Frances Hughes married 1) Elizabeth Cole 1856. 2) Laura Phoebe Downey 1892. 3) Martha Ann Goodworth (unknown date).
Sydney Joseph Hughes born 1838 died 1839.
William Edmond Hughes married Sarah Ann Gibbs 1869.
Henry James Hughes married Elizabeth Mary Bourke 1871.

© 2002 John Nichols Family Society.   Written by Malcolm Booth 2002. For more information or for research sharing please contact Amelia Nichols/Hughes Family Coordinator.