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JOHN HUGH DONNELLY BROWN's story

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



Born in 1894 and known to all as Jack, not much is known of his early life, except for the story of man with the brown dog. It was a long walk downhill through the paddocks to get to school, and on this particular day Jack was late, the others having gone on before him. He was having a sly smoke on the way, but somehow he set fire to the grass and tussock and ran off to school.. It must have been quite a job to put the fire out, and his father confronted him on his return home: "Jack, did you set fire to the grass?" "No" came the reply "but I saw a man going past with a brown dog". Jack reckoned that if his father knew he had done it he would have skinned him alive, but the story remianed a private joke with his brothers for the rest of his life.

Jack served in WW1 where he was gassed and his lungs were badly affected, leading to poor health in his later life. He took over Cecil's place in the goldmine about 1924 and eventually took over his father's half of the partnership, giving up mining in the 1940s to start sheep farming, gold mining being too physically demanding. He left his share of the claim to Allan, causing no little dissension in the family which felt that the claim should have stayed in the family. He remained a bachelor all his days, dying on 3 August 1966 in Prospect House, Dunedin. Prior to this he had been living at a Naseby hotel..

Jack was rather hermit-like in character, and at least one of R F Brown's poems was devoted to him. Trevor talked about the shearing at Jack's around the 1950s. Jack, Allan and Les were not shearers, so Jack would collect Alfie in his old Chevrolet car and take them all home for the weekend. He would also collect his sister, Pixie Ball to do the cooking. Alfie shore the sheep by hand and the jids jumped on the fleeces to squash it into balls, since they had no wool press in those days.

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