Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Jasprizza, Nicholas (1835–1901)

by G. P. Walsh

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

Nicholas Jasprizza (1835-1901), orchardist, was born in Dalmatia. He arrived in New South Wales about 1864, went to the Lambing Flat diggings where he ended up at the Three Mile diggings. Realizing that victualling the miners was probably more profitable than digging for gold, he planted vegetables on a quarter-acre (0.1 ha) plot. Drought and floods reduced his capital from £25 to one shilling, but he hawked his first crop of vegetables around the diggings and made £50 profit. He then acquired a four-acre (1.6 ha) block on which he planted vines and fruit trees. By 1884 he had accumulated 900 acres (364 ha) and also ran 20 head of cattle and 600 sheep. In 1876 he had introduced cherry-growing to the Young district. He first planted Kentish cherries and conducted grafting experiments to produce a suitable variety. By 1893 he had 100 acres (40 ha) under cherries with 7000 full-grown and 300 young trees and 60 acres (24 ha) under vines.

At about 8 p.m. on 8 May 1901 Jasprizza was shot dead through the window of his house at McHenry's Creek, Three Mile. A young man was acquitted of his murder at Young Circuit Court on 30 September. The government then offered a reward of £100, which the family increased to £300, for information leading to a conviction, but the crime remains unsolved. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery at Young.

Jasprizza's life, apart from its unfortunate ending, was typical of many early pioneers: obscure beginnings, disappointed gold digger, small selector and success through shrewd judgment and hard work. He was survived by four sons and two daughters of his first wife Bridget Mary Bowles (d.1884), née Tunney, whom he had married on 18 February 1867 at Sixteen Mile Rush, near Young, and by his second wife Rosetta, née Johnstone, whom he had married at Young on 7 February 1886. His estate was valued at £9500; his sons took over the cherry orchard which in 1907 was said to be the largest in Australia. Many descendants live in the Young district.

Select Bibliography

  • W. A. Bayley, Rich Earth (Young, 1956)
  • Burrangong Chronicle, 5 Aug 1893
  • Burrangong Argus, 11 May 1901
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 10, 16 May 1901
  • newspaper clippings, vol 44 (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'Jasprizza, Nicholas (1835–1901)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/jasprizza-nicholas-3851/text6119, published in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 31 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972

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