JAMES WILLIAM (BILL) DONNELLY BROWN's story
This account has been adapted from "Browns of Kyeburn Peninsula" by Wally Brown - to whom many thanks
Bill attended the Otago Boys' High School in Dunedin and served in the armed forces in WW1 abroad, in common with three of his brothers. On his return to New Zealand he became a gold miner at Kyeburn Diggings and in 1919 he married Mary Smith of Naseby, the daughter of another gold miner. They lived in an early settler type cottage at German Creek, Kyeburn Diggings, but in 1923 Bill won a 5850 hectare (14444 acres) block of the Mount Pisa Station, part of the war rehabilitation programme. The block was at Lowburn, near Cromwell , on the western shore of what is now Lake Dunstan, now an area famed for growing vines and wine making and is now known as "Lowburn Station". From the foot of the Pisa Range, the land goes right up and over the Kawarau and Roaring Meg rivers.
Bill and Mary with L-R Russell Mavis and Frank at German Creek
Bill and Cecil became partners and in 1924 they moved Bill's old house from German Creek to Lowburn on the back of a lorry - it started off with four rooms, but so many bits fell off on the journey that they were left with onlt three usable rooms. In 1929 Bill and Mary had the existing homestead built at a cost of £900 - and another £300 for the four verandas across the front and down the sunny side.
According to Geoff Brown, Alan Alldred sometimes holidayed at Lowburn as a boy with his cousins and he reckoned they were so poor financially that the boys had only two pairs of shorts between the three of them, so they took turns at staying in bed for the day!
Bill disliked the city of Dunedin, and on reaching the open country would say "Smell that central air" - for Bill, there was no place like home.He died in 1965 aged 68, and Mary remarried to Wattie George, another man with strong goldmining connections - she lived to the age of 94.
. Lowburn with the original cottage on the right