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ARTHUR ERNEST BROWN's story

This account has been adapted from "Browns of Kyeburn Peninsula" by Wally Brown - to whom many thanks




Arthur was born in Kyeburn Diggings on 22nd January 1886, and at the age of 24 abandoned any idea of gold mining (if he ever had any) in favour of farming. Arthur had been born with an extra thumb on his left hand, and had it surgically removed, although in later years he always claimed thata they had removed the wrong one! Together with his brother Len, he moved to North Island and were attracted to the fertile volcanic soils of Taranaki, home of Mount Egmont. This volcano which last erupted in the 1755 is considered dormant, although on a geological scale it seems likely to erupt again - so much so that a special contingency plan for evacuation is in place.

Arthur worked at first at Te Roti on a dairy farm before buying his own farm at Upper Palmer Road, Mahoe, near Stratford, on the eastern slopes of the mountain. Mahoe evidently had a special attraction for it was here that his wife Jessie Elizabeth Corbishley lived when he was courting - he would ride his bicycle the 35 to 40 mile round trip from Te Roti. This effort bore fruit when on 11th August 1915 they married. She had emigrated from Newcastle under Lyme in the potteries in England, and because of the similarity between Arthur and Len, her mother called Arthur "Curly" and Len "Straighty" - presumably to describe their hair.

Arthur was called up for military service only twelve months after his marriage, and thought to sell the farm, but Jessie talked him out of it - they sold their herd and put yearlings in their place, with which Jessie could cope. Off went Arthur to serve as a Lewis Gunner in the front line and afterwards served as part of the occupation force at the end of the war. When he finally returned, Jessie was milking the "yearlings" for the second season (with some help from her parents, the Corbishleys), not only walking the cattle to the Corbishley's farm twice a day but with her sisters felling and clearing scrub.

His experience in the army no doubt helped Arthur in his shooting - he was a crack shot with a rifle and often fired in competitions. He was particularly good at clay pigeon shooting which earned him many trophies. As for his farm, he stayed on after Jessie died until his health gave out in 1970. The house was still there recently, although it has fallen into disrepair, with part of the roof missing.

His photograph shows him with a twinkle in his eye, and in this he was a typical Brown - he always had a funny story to tell. Wally says "I visited when I was about 10, and there was plenty of laughter", and Valerie Staples rememberes him as always joking and laughing. He loved playing cards and draughts and in his later years took up trout fishing and surf casting. Bert Brown lived close by and they both belonged to Kaponga Surf Casting Club - even as an old man they had to handicap Arthur in competitions. In order to build up his muscles for casting he used to practice by swinging a piece of rubber tube over his shoulder.

And to close, this story must be repaeated here, although it does occur in Moses' story as well. Arthur, had committed some misdemeanour as a child and hid under the bed. Moses flicked his riding crop under the bed a couple of times, said"Come out from there you young cuss", and Ellie, who was worried about Arthur's eye being damaged pleaded with Moses to be careful, when a little voice came "Iss orright, Mum - he can't hurt me. I'se in the close basket"



Mount Egmont, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand

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