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OSSIE BROWN's story

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




Ossie, the eldest child of John and Elizabeth Brown was born in 1883, and attended Kyeburn Diggings School, passing all six grades. At what age he left school is unknown, but by 1901 he was paid his first wages for working with Moses, and he also worked nightshifts with Percy on the dredge. He married on 29 July, 1908, in the middle of winter in New Zealand, when the snow lay 6 feet ddp. He had to wait to walk the 10 miles to Naseby registry office for the marriage until the snow was hard enough to walk on, and after the wedding went to Dunedin for a honeymoon in a horse and cart - the road had been cleared, but the snow was piled so high at the sides that they could not see over it! Their cart was the first to travel the road after the snow, and they said that it was "like driving through a tunnel."

At first they lived with Moses, Jinnie keeping house for him, after which Ossie began work as a carrier in Dunedin, but the climate did not suit his health, and they returned to Naseby. During the summer monthhs Ossie worked a gold clain not far from Naseby, but he also cycled all the way to Kyeburn Diggings (10 miles) to work night shift on the Dredge, and home again in the morning. He also worked as a raceman for the Public Works Department and as a rabbiter.

He loved playing his violin at dances and at home on Sunday nights - his favourite song was "I'll take you home again Kathleen". He also played the piano and sang; he loved the brass band wich played each Sunday on the recreation ground at Naseby. As well as music he enjoyed playing both draughts and cards, and had a wicked sense of humour.

When he was in Naseby hospital he was next to a Chinese man and one evening after his neighbour had gone to sleep he plaitted his hair and tied it round the top of the bed!

He was a keen gardener and could often be seen meditating in his garden, puffing his pipe. He died aged 71 and is buried with Jinnie in the Naseby cemetery.

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