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WILLIAM RUSSEL BROWN's story

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



Russell bought Locharburn Station in 1947, 4250 hectares (10500 acres); it is believed he paid for it with rabbit skins. In his first year, Russell took 22000 rabbits off the place. Two rabbiters were employed and between them it is estimated that another 20000 were taken the following year. Locharburn straddles the Wanaka Road about 15 km from Cromwell and runs from the Clutha River up into the Pisa Range. Russell saw the advantages of using aeroplanes to help his farming and was among the first to have aerial drops of fencing materials and rock salt.



A Clydesdale stallion

Soon after Russell and Ray were married Ray was asked to hold the big clydesdale stallion. The horse reared up, Ray let go and off it galloped with the plough bouncing along behind. Needless to say Ray wasn't too popular!

Ray used to bring peaches home in his saddlebags from some old peach trees left by the goldminers the year after they were married. Ray's friend Norma Hornell was staying with them. "I've had stewed peaches every day for a month - couldn't you and Norma bake me a peach pie?" pleaded Russell..."You know I can't make pastry" was Ray's reply.

Later, Norma said to Ray "Couldn't we make Russell a pie?" and they finally decided to give it a go. Out with the Women's Division Cookbook; one pound of runny butter to one pound of flour. It took about six cups of flour to make it workable. They filled every dish they could find and then the oven would'nt get hot enough. The pies were strong enough to walk on! Russell could eat anything he wanted so long as it was Peach Pie, until finally they went mouldy.

Russell bought the 13800 hectare (34000 acre) Nevis Station in 1966 to give himself more scope - it runs right back to the top of the Remarkables.

They retired in 1876 and built a new home in Cromwell, but Russell needed something to do, so he bought a 60 hectare (150 acre) farmlet, close to home where he could run a few hundred sheep and work his dogs. He enjoyed a bit of dog trialling and gave an impressive demonstration, fetching half a dozen sheep down from the skyline.

Ray was a school teacher before she married and was called on for a bit of teaching when they moved into Cromwell. They had three children.

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