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WILFRED BERTIE BROWN's story

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



The youngest son of Moses and Ellen was Wilfred, born on 18th February 1892 and sadly he lost his mother at the age of 9 on 11 Apr 1901 when she died of tuberculosis. He attended the Otago Boy's High School and was not only good academically but as a sportsman. He represented Otago at rugby whilst still at school, and later on played soccer for Taranaki. His talents stretched to Hockey as well; he refereed and coached for the game.

As a young boy he had lovely soprano voice, and later an equally good bass baritone as well as playing the piano. After his mother died Moses engaged several housekeepers, but this was not a success, and Moses taught his son to cook - he remained cook for the family for a long time.

Cooking was not Wilfred's only asset - he carried out his responsibilities with some courage! On one occasion he was laft alone at home aged 12 and his job was to guard the gold which was usually stored in the house. In the evening's gloaming, there came a knock at the door, and Wilfred looked out through the window just in time to see two shadowy figures hiding behind the bushes. He grabbed the rifle, opened the door and stepped outside. With a big voice he called out "Come on out. I've got you covered and I'll shoot the first person I see" A timid voice responded: "Don't shoot! Its your b-brothers P-P-Percy and O-O-Ossie" As with all Moses' children, Wilfred was an outdoor type all good at shooting, fishing, horse riding and hunting. Perhaps he got fed up with cooking, but he followed his brothers to Taranaki where he started milking cows at Auroa - instead of going, as he could have done, into his cousin's law office in Eltham. He stayed milking for the rest of his career until he retired in his mid fifties. He played soccer for Taranaki against a Chinese National side, along with his rugby, cricket and other sporting interests

He married Janet Anderson and they had three sons and two daughters, but Janet died of pneumonia in 1923 when Ivan was only six weeks old. Between then and 1925 Wilfred lost the farm he was buying on Auroa Road (his second farm there, having originally leased a farm close by) , and had no ambition to buy again. He then married Gladys Whiting, and they had two sons, the younger of which died at 17 months..

He also leased farms at Taikatu Road, on the Normanby Road at its intersection with the main Manaia/Opunake highway about 1927/8.

The kids would ride to school on horseback - Florrie, Eric and Eva would all ride on the one animal, bareback to the school in Manaia, about four kilometres away - the horse would spend its day in the school paddock.

Next they moved again, this time to Skeet Road Auroa, opposite the dairy factory where the Otakeho River formed the eastern boundary, spot on for fishing. In those days the factories discharged their waste straight into the rive, and the trout loved it. As well as milking cows and fattening pigs, Wilfred also drove the school ,bus for Sandfords, the local carriers - the bus was used for fishing trips in the school holidays when Eb Sandford, Yorky Sheering Wilfred and a couple of others would load up and head for Kawhai Harbour.

In 1936 they moved again, this time to a farm on the eastern side of Rowan Road, two and a half kilometres up from Skeet Road, where Wilfred stayed until his retirement in 1956. Following a petition orgasnised by Wilfred, electricity came to the area soon after they arrived. Final retirement was to 74 Domett Street, Opunake where they had a new house built. Wilfred spent a lot of his retirement surfcasting on the beaches around Opunake, and he died on 24th April 1929, just six years after Gladys; they are buried in Kaponga Cemetery

Clarence Osborne Brown (no 120), his son, wrote:

" Our Dad always had a great sense of humour and he could always tell a story which had his isteners hanging on till the punchline. Often he would be called upon to be toastmaster or something similar and he had a fund of very good parlour stories for such occasions.

I remember the time in 1939 when he talked Grandad into going from Naseby to the diggings in the car. Grandad wasn't going in that new fangled gadget, he would rather walk at 5 mph than have his brains knocked out through hitting a brick wall at 15 mph. Eventually Dad persuaded him and I think he rather enjoyed the quiet drive out and back, though he wouldn't admit it.

We never went short of a trout breakfast on the second of October and I well remember him coming back over the paddocks at Auroa with a bag full of trout and his woollen hat under the rope to stop it cutting into his shoulder.

He was a respected mamber of the Kaponga Masonic Lodge no 208 and he was proud to welcome three of his sons into the order.

We never had much of the material things of life but we had a good upbringing



Mount Egmont, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand

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