1892 - 1979
Nigel Borland Love, aviator and flour-miller, was born on 16 January 1892 at South Kurrajong, New South Wales, eldest child of native-born parents John Love, businessman, and his wife Rebecca, née Charley. On leaving Sydney Boys’ High School, he joined his father’s importing business, Plummer Love & Co., and in 1912-13 visited Britain on behalf of the firm.
In June 1915 Love enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was selected to attend the New South Wales government’s flying school at Richmond. Commissioned on 11 January 1917 he embarked for Britain and was posted to several flying and gunnery schools. Promoted lieutenant (pilot) in January 1918, he served in France with B Flight, 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, and, flying RE8s, was engaged in artillery co-operation and reconnaissance until June. Back in England he was attached as an instructor to No.7 Training Squadron and served with the Royal Air Force Ferry Pool. Love and another Australian airman W. J. Warneford joined H. E. Broadsmith, chief designer for the aircraft manufacturers A. V. Roe & Co. Ltd, who had secured the Australian agency of the Avro company. On returning to Sydney in June 1919, Love searched for a suitable airfield and, after inspecting numerous sites, leased a grazing paddock near Cooks River at Mascot, which proved ideal.
The partners, registered as the Australian Aircraft & Engineering Co. Ltd with Love as managing director, began to assemble Avro 504K aircraft at Mascot in February 1920. While Broadsmith worked on the aircraft Love tried to raise money and to create interest in aviation by joy flights and charter operations including flights over Sydney for photographic purposes and piloting the first fare-paying passenger from Sydney to Melbourne. In the first Aerial Derby of 1920 he won the handicap, and again in 1922 when he was also first man home. The company supplied Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd with its first passenger commercial aircraft. However, lack of orders, expenditure in designing and developing a five-seat commercial aircraft, and failure to gain assistance from the Commonwealth government forced the company into voluntary liquidation in 1923. When their lease expired the Commonwealth resumed the airfield, now Kingsford Smith Airport.
At Strathfield Methodist Church on 4 June 1924 Love married Phyllis Eloise, daughter of George Arthur Davey, managing director of Edwin Davey & Sons, flour-millers. He joined the firm, becoming sales manager, and in 1928 bought the Lidcombe Bakery. In January 1935 he registered N. B. Love Pty Ltd and built a flour-mill at Enfield. He adopted the brandname ‘Supreme’ and introduced controls to produce a quality flour with an unusual degree of uniformity. He also developed ‘Fine-Tex’ flour for cake-making and an increased-protein flour ‘Pro-Max’, franchising bakers. He was a founding member of the New South Wales Flour Millers’ Trade Council in 1942.
Appointed wing commander in the Royal Australian Air Force in August 1941, Love commanded No.2 wing of the Air Training Corps, for boys aged 16 to 18, throughout World War II. In 1943 as a Liberal Democrat he unsuccessfully contested the Federal seat of Parkes. He was president of the State branch of the Air Force Association in 1945-46. In 1940 Love had taken over Edwin Davey & Sons, and in 1944 acquired a flour-mill at Boggabri. In 1952 he set up Millmaster Feeds Pty Ltd to produce stock-feed pellets at Enfield, and in 1958 started to manufacture bread at Enfield, introducing a high-speed dough development technique and also manufacturing gluten and starch. That year he decided to float a public company, N. B. Love Industries Ltd, with himself as managing director; in 1962 the company was sold to George Weston (Australia) Pty Ltd. Love retired and set up two cattle properties, Urambi, near Canberra, and Glenrossal, Braidwood, where he bred Poll Herefords. He wrote an unpublished autobiography covering the years 1915-23. Survived by his wife, daughter and three sons, Love died at Killara on 2 October 1979 and was cremated. His estate was valued for probate at $508,867. A firm, even fanatical, believer in the future of aviation in Australia, Love differed from many of his aviation contemporaries in his sound business instincts and training.