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ALLAN BROWN's story

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




Allan was said to be "a hard man and a practical joker", but of course the pioneer families who went to New Zealand were far from soft and namby pamby - Allan merely followed in the family tradition, especially where practical jokes were involved - all the family had a reputation for party tricks and being story telling. Pulling his false teeth from his pocket just before a photo was taken was typical of him! He played tennis, enjoyed curling and shooting

Born in 1916, he was given the names of his two grandfathers, Moses and John (Taylor - his maternal grandfather) and started his education at Kokonga, but went in the last few years to Kyeburn Diggings School where a achieved his standard 6. Then he stayed on in standard 7 with another boy, Charlie Forward, until they found that the teacher was insufficiently well qualified to teach them at that level, so he started a coorespondence course with the teacher who used to walk all the way to school from the Dansey's Pass Hotel where he boarded. Kyburn Diggings School closed in 1934 as the population had largely disappeared and the only remaining pupil, Ian Forward, went to Naseby.

His first job after leaving school was sheep shearing: he joined a shearing gang called Frews and was based at Lawrence and working on a dozen farms in the Maniototo district, but he had been raised on a diet of gold mining and rabbiting, and clearly the shearing was not too attractive.

When his father was killed he was on the dole, Allan took over the claim, and Moses bequeathed his share of the claim and mining equipment to him. Alan and Jack (his cousin, John Brown's son) worked the claim until 1941, when they went higher up on the peninsula and mined until 1957. The catchment board had decreed that no more tailings would be allowed to be discharged directly into the Kye Burn, because of the increased silting taking place which made a settlement tank essential, and in addition there was trouble with the intake to the race at Little Kye Burn falls as well as some flooding, so Allan decided to call it a day, staying on at "Braeburn", his family home. For a while he worked for Charlie Crutchley on land which had been part of the Kyeburn Hundreds, building irrigation races and spraying noxious weedsuntil he bought from Jack Brown some land which made farming possible for him. Here he stayed until 1987 when he sold to Fred Moynihan, a former licensee of the Dansey's Pass hotel.

In 1978 he had a stroke and had to give up much of his active life, but did not die until 23 September 1988; he was buried in Kyeburn Diggings cemetery and his grave was marked with a small wooden cross.

Wally Brown visited him in 1982 and found his house to be a veritable museum of the Brown family. He says "...The dark old house with its coal range and calendars hanging everywhere, the long drop toilet up the path behind the house and so on. He got his gramaphone out, wound it up and put an old 78 record on for us. As if that were not enough, he then hoisted his Edison phonograph out of a cupboard and would have played a cylinder, he had dozens of them, but he couldn't find the trumpet part"

The illustration is of a clay brick shed wall behind Allan's house - he or his father Percy may well have built it.

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