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PERCY BROWN's story

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




Percy was born in 1884 and went to the Kyeburn Diggings school. By 1901 he was receiving his first wages from Moses, his father, for working on the gold claim. Around 1906 and 7 he worked for a survey party near Duntroon as a cook when his culinary speciality was "Warri Curry Sauce" (later on in life he was to earn respect for his scones). After this (and breaking a leg which made walking in the snow difficult) he went back to the claim until he married Mary in 1911. They lived in a house called "Willownyx" near the crossing of the Kye Burn on the way to Jack Brown's house, Percy continuing to work on the dredge until about 1920.

The family then moved to Kokonga, where he worked as a teamster and fencing contractor as well as being a rabbiter with three rabbit runs during the summer. In 1883 a James Cain had built the house which later became the Flagstaff Hotel, run by Christian Archer, and on 1 April 1930 it was bought by Percy. He changed the name to Braeburn (the house later became home to Allan Brown) and the house can be found about two kilometres south of Kyburn Diggings. If there was one great advantage posessed by Braeburn, it was the seam of lignite (a soft coal) in the garden which not only provided fuel for the Brown household but Percy was able to sell it for 1s 9d (20c) a bag. The only snag was that the coal deteriorated in sunlight, so had to be kept in a shed. Later on, in 1957, Allan and Les Brown took 17 tons of coal for their own use - the downside was that the coal dross had been dumped over the bank, caught fire and burnt from 1930 for about 8 or 9 years. Lignite is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat.

Percy died in a fall of earth at the diggings in 1939. It is thought he was clearing rocks from the base of the elevator when the bank subsided - although he was not completely buried, his pelvis was crushed; Allan had to cycle several kilometres to telephone for help, but sadly, Percy died of his injuries.

Mary, his wife was always known as "the late Mary" because she was one of those people who started late and finished even later, working till midnight but staying in bed until lunchtime. She loved needlework, and was renowned for her satin stitch embroidery.

They are both buried in the cemetery at Kyeburn Diggings.

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