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LEONARD ERIC (WICK) BROWN's story

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



Wick was born with a lump on the outside of his little finger - a rudimentary sixth digit which was clearly an inherited problem - it has passed on to the next two generations, and his uncle Arthur had the same problem. A nurse in hospital was certain they were warts and tried to remove them, but only succeded in burning his skin.

Wick had been admitted to Hawera hospital at the age of 12 suffering from osteomyelitis and was there for three years. After his discharge from hospital he went back to school for a short while and then started work at home on the farm, but as a result has had to wear a built up shoe to compensate for a permenantly dislocated right hip. This prevented him from serving in WW2 overseas, but he joined the home guard, becoming quartermaster and driver.

In 1944 he left home to go farm contracting and after the war went into business with his brother Ivan. "Brown Brothers" had a good reputation in South Taranaki with their modern tractor hedge cutter and sweep arrangements.

Marrying in 1948 they went share milking until 1952 when they shifted north to 33 Saxton Road, New Plymouth. On this 13 acre farmlet, just south of the city boundary, they raised a family of two boys and three girls. Wick worked at McKechnie Brothers brass foundry until 1954 when he went into real estate. He started his own business soon after and stayed with real estate until he retired in 1977 - or perhaps it was a semi retirement, for he then turned his hand to painting, wallpapering and renovating property. He was very much the handyman and "Jack of all trades". He gave it up in 1986 to gain more liesure time and to enjoy his campervan, and stayed on the farmlet until 1989 when they moved to 34 Heta Road, New Plymouth.

Like most Browns he was a keen fisherman, and both he and Doris used to go fishing. Doris also spent her spare time spinning and sewing: whilst they were young, they played a lot of table tennis. They drove for "meals on wheels" and did much work for their church, Brooklands Cooperating Parish.

Wick remembered going with his father, stepmother and Eva to Naseby in 1935. They left Lyttleton Ferry at 7.00am and arrived in Naseby at 9.00pm that night. Their car was a 1919 Buick ragtop and being farmers they would have gone in winter when the cows were dry. There were no luxuries like radio or heaters in those days, and it must have been a long cold trip. The Buick cruised nicely at 60 kph (about 37 mph) and it was dark as they ground their way over the treacherous Pigroot from Palmerston to Ranfurly, and Gladys was worried about the time. She kept turning the panel on so she could read her watch. There were several toggle switches on the dash and one time she switched the headlights off by mistake. Wilfred salmmed the brakes on, and when the headlights were turned back on they fell on empty space. He had to reverse before starting off again!



* Share milking is a system whereby a number of people share a herd of cattle owning a proportion of the whole herd. All the participants work on the herd, but the costs and profits of milk production are divided according to the proportion of their share. The farm itself is usually owned by the major shareholder, although it could be owned by someone else altogether.

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