THE HISTORY OF NIELSEN FUNERALS
Miller Bros. circa 1885
McGilton's Timber Yard and Undertakers, Williams Lane
John Andrew McGilton and his first motorised hearse
McGilton Funeral Service, 45 Smith Street, Warragul
Eric's Embalming Cert 1933
John Nielsen & Colin Handley in 1964
Nielsen Funeral Services, 12-14 Queen St, Warragul
Nielsen Funeral Services Chapel 1999
Handley Funeral Services, Korumburra Rd, Warragul
At Nielsen Funerals, we have a long and proud history which dates back over 130 years and although there have been several name changes over this time, we have continued the tradition of caring for the community and exceeding client family expectations.
Our history dates back to 1884 when Miller Bros. was founded.
Miller Bros. worked from the Smith Street location now occupied by the Warragul Flower Shoppe and as was normal for the time, builders and cabinet makers would produce coffins for families and undertake funeral services to help ease some of the burden.
In 1923 Miller Bros. was purchased by John Andrew McGilton, and traded as J.A. McGilton Pty Ltd, they became very well known throughout Gippsland and under Mr McGilton's guidance and management both the undertaking branch and the building section prospered to such an extent that their Smith Street premises became inadequate and a location on Williams Street (now Williams Lane) was acquired.
At this stage the businesses activities consisted of undertaking funerals, building and construction of local homes, and the supply of building materials and hardware.
Following the death of John McGilton in 1940 the business was passed on to his son John Eric McGilton (known as Eric) who was managing the undertaking section and who subsequently earned the reputation of Gippsland's leading Funeral Director.
In December 1956, the branch was sold to Mr Norman (Norm) Harper who maintained the high standards people had come to expect, the business was now known as McGilton's Funeral Service. Eric McGilton was then able to focus solely on the management of the timber and hardware sections and as a Shire Councillor, a Warragul Water and Sewerage Commissioner and Justice of the Peace, led a very busy and active life.
In 1959, due to ill health, Eric sold to well known Melbourne pumping and machinery firm, Messrs. Cameron & Sutherland Sales Pty Ltd.
Norm also purchased the house located at 45 Smith Street, where the Bendigo Bank now sits, he had an office and funeral parlour built onto the front of the house and a mortuary accessed from Briggs Lane.
In 1972 Norm Harper sold McGilton's Funeral Service to his son Jim who has previously operated an undertaking business in Trafalgar. Jim and his wife Dawn, Dawn being the daughter of Eric and Gladys McGilton, has been living at Trafalgar but moved back to Warragul and changed the name of the business to McGilton & Harper Funeral Service.
Jim and Dawn operated for 11 years and in 1983 sold the business to Colin Handley and Co., Jim and Dawn then relocated to Melbourne where they established a very successful funeral home in Melbourne. Jim and Dawn have since retired back to Warragul.
In 1964 John Nielsen (who had worked with Eric McGilton) and Colin Handley opened Warragul's second funeral parlour, Nielsen & Handley Funeral Services, located in Queen Street, Warragul where the Warragul Gazette offices are located today.
In 1969 John and Colin purchased land at 14 Queen Street, Warragul opposite the site of St Joseph's Catholic Church. John's mother lived in the converted house until her death in 1972.
John and Colin worked together for 17 years and over this time purchased funeral businesses of Doug Veal, Leongatha and H. Pound, Wonthaggi. In 1981 John and Colin decided to split the business with John keeping Warragul and Colin taking on Leongatha and Wonthaggi.
The Warragul business became Nielsen Funeral Services and the Leongatha and Wonthaggi businesses became Colin Handley and Co.
Nielsen Funeral Services now operated from 14 Queen Street and in 1999 purchased Number 12 Queen Street when a complete renovation of the funeral parlour and chapel took place.
Colin Handley and Co. purchased McGillton & Harper Funeral Directors, Warragul in 1983, the business name was then eventually changed to Handley Funeral Services, Warragul with Robert Green being the principal funeral director. Colin retired, selling the three locations to his three sisters and brothers-in-law, the business name was changed to Handley Funeral Services. Denise (nee Handley) and Robert Green built a new funeral home and chapel on our present site, corner of Bona Vista and Korumburra Roads, Warragul, moving from the Smith Street location.
Both Nielsen Funeral Services and Handley Funeral Services, Warragul cared for thousands of local families over these many years and both enjoyed excellent reputations.
In 2007 Nielsen Funeral Services was purchased from John and Marie Nielsen and family by Mark Gauci and Kevin Jones who both worked for Nielsen Funeral Services and following Robert Green's retirement in early 2008, also purchased Handley Funeral Services, Warragul in August 2008 rejoining the two businesses once again and moving to the Korumburra Road location. Once again the business operated as Nielsen & Handley Funeral Services, but due to contractual agreements the name was changed to Nielsen Funerals four years later in 2012.
In early 2013 we celebrated the completion of our newly built Nielsen Funeral Chapel providing the Warragul & Drouin community with the high quality funeral chapel and facilities it had been missing.
Our dedicated team are all local people involved in local community groups.
Many people know us personally and if we are able to help in any way please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. Our team includes Mark and Danielle Gauci, Kim Storey, Verity Kleehammer, Daniel Webster, Shane Carroll and casual staff Doug Allison, Barrie Gilbert, Russell Gaul, Max Hine, Graeme Humphries, Trish Whyte and John Langmaid.