Brenda Niccol was born on 20th April, 1920, at the home of her grandmother in Ballarat.
She grew up in the Riverina area, on a block of land settled by her father after the first World War. When Brenda was 17, her mother died suddenly. The following year her father sent her to stay at a guest house in Emu Plains, and she later returned there to work as a waitress. Her husband's family owned the guest house and in 1945 Brenda moved there to raise her family and run the guest house with her husband.