MOUNT MORGAN ICON: Mr Vince Nesfield, a beloved figure of Mount Morgan delivered fruit and vegetables around the historic town in his ute.
MOUNT MORGAN ICON: Mr Vince Nesfield, a beloved figure of Mount Morgan delivered fruit and vegetables around the historic town in his ute. Contributed

Surviving an explosion just one reason Vince was an icon

THE re-invention of an historic building in Mount Morgan has rekindled memories of one of the town's favourite sons.

Located on the corner of James St and Railway Parade, what is now the Nifty Thrifty secondhand store has gone through many changes; from fruit store to cinema.

Vince Nesfield, a former Mount Morgan fruiterer, owned the building from 1930 until about 1990 where he ran a store which sold fruit and vegetables.

He became a recognised figure in the town, making deliveries in his International model ute.

It also served as a general freight depot and Mr Nesfield would bring goods up from Rockhampton for his customers.

In 1933, Mr Nesfield narrowly escaped injury during an explosion within his James St store which shook nearby houses.

One Saturday night at 9pm, a carbine lamp, which was in an ice chest used to ripen fruit, exploded and blew a couple of sheets of iron off one side of the building.

Mr Nesfield was only a few yards away when the incident happened.

The local icon was much-loved across the generations.

He would deliver fruit and vegetables in his old ute, even offering cakes and other sweets to customers.

Mr Nesfield had previously owned a store located between the Dee River and the Mount Morgan Railway Station.

Keith Oates posted on Facebook he recalls the fruiterer having a shop closer to the traffic bridge which crosses the river and it sold malted milkshakes.

Meagan Best at the Nifty Thrifty second hand store in Mount Morgan which has moved into the old cinema on James Street.
Meagan Best at the Nifty Thrifty second hand store in Mount Morgan which has moved into the old cinema on James Street. Chris Ison ROK030118cnifty2

Mr Nesfield also had a property at Walmul, just south of Mount Morgan, where he kept a small herd of beef cattle.

Locals also remember picking cotton for him.

Kerrod Atfield said on Facebook his father told him Mr Nesfield had three International utes which he regularly repaired so he had "one good one on the road”.

As Mr Nesfield reached his 80s, he was still active, delivering produce and keeping himself busy by doing odd jobs like laying down concrete paths.

The local legend, who was born in New Zealand, passed away in 1991 at the age of 85.

Mount Morgan resident Bette Broom, who has a wealth of knowledge of the town and mine's history, said the building featured a similar kind of architecture of her parents' store in Central St, between the 1920s to 1930s.

John and Pam Cahill, former Mount Morgan residents, owned a secondhand store in the building from 1990 for about five years.

They did a lot of work to the building; refurbished the living quarters and laid polished floors as it had not been finished when they first bought it.

The building has long been associated with the town's historic railway station.

Larry Fox, who still owns the building, said that in the 20th Century, possibly before World War Two, it served as a tea room.

Passengers who had travelled on the train would go there for a cup of tea before their journey home to Rockhampton.

Mr Fox opened the Touchwood Theatre, the town's cinema, in March 2002 which kept locals and visitors entertained for 10 years.

It's now 2018 and Meagan Best has opened her Nifty Thrifty store, a new chapter for one of Mount Morgan's historic corners.



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