The Brodribb family, from which Hermione Nicholls is descended, were some of the earliest settlers in Queensland. William Adams Brodribb was a lawyer from the Bristol area who was transported to Tasmania in 1816 following his part in the Berkeley Affair, a feud between poachers and gamekeepers during which he was convicted of administering an unlawful oath. He returned to practice shortly after his arrival, and later received a full pardon. He brought up a large family, and several of his sons became wealthy Australian landowners, two of them owning shares in the Broken Hill mines. One of these, Francis Claudius, moved to Queensland in the 1860s where he acquired significant property including a pastoral station on the Darling Downs. He and his wife Ellen brought up five children in Toowoomba, and shortly before his death he left funds to endow the Brodribb Home, which still exists today. The family moved in the higher strata of society, mixing with other influential Queenslanders. One of Brodribb's daughters married an international cricketer and another a wealthy businessman.
Francis's daughter Ellen May, who married Canon Thomas Parry Pughe, is believed to have owned most of the photographs in this collection. Canon Pughe emigrated to Brisbane from the UK in 1886, and was the Rector of Indooroopilly from 1888-1891, after which he took up the living of St Luke's in Toowoomba. The Pughes lived in Indooroopilly and Nundora, Toowoomba before relocating to the UK in 1909 with their four children, one of whom became the mother of Hermione Nicholls. Many other family members also lived internationally, with two of the Pughe children emigrating to Kenya in the mid C20th.