Born at St.
John, Horsleydown, Surrey, England the son of Joseph Brown, a marine captain
and Amelia née Tilley; in 1851 the family migrated to Australia.
After his education at Geelong Grammar School (1856-59) where he won a
number of prizes, Brown worked as a clerk with “Bright and Hitchcock”, a
local retailer before joining the Bank of New South Wales in 1863; he later
resigned in 1875 after an irregularity involving a subordinate was
discovered. That year he opened a stock and station agency at Echuca with
his brother-in-law. But like many leading men, politics was in Brown’s
blood. In 1876 he was elected to the local Shire Council (1876-89) and was
President from 1888 to 1889. After a number of attempts to stand for
election, Brown served in both State and Federal Parliaments - M.L.A for
Mandurang (1886-89), Shepparton-Euroa (1891-1904); and M.H.R for Indi
(1906-10), succeeding (Sir) Issac Issacs (Melbourne General
Cemetery). A moderate free trader, he was a recognised authority on stock
and farming and while representing the seat of Indi, he voted for the
Yass-Canberra site on 8 October 1908 as the future capital of the nation.
In what must be close to a record for the number of electoral defeats, Brown
unsuccessfully contested Mandurang (1883, 1893 and 1894), Gunbower (1889 and
1892), Goulburn Valley (1904) and Indi (1913) as well as being defeated
whilst holding Mandurang (1889), Shepparton-Euroa (1904) and Indi (1910).
After his defeat in 1913, he retired to Moyhu near Wangaratta to
manage his farming properties. He died at St. Andrew’s Private Hospital,
Brighton on 28 September 1925 aged 81 after an operation three days before
survived by his wife Mary née Seward whom he married on 6 January
1874 and bore him three children; Anne (b 1875), Jessie (1878-81) and Joseph
(above) Joseph Brown
(By permission of the
Library of Australia, nla.pic-an23252118)
(above) Gravesite (enlarge
The Argus 26 March 1919, 29 September 1925 &
9 May 1927.
The Age 29 September 1925.
Melbourne Punch 20 December 1906.
Corfield, J & Persse, M., “Geelong
Grammarians. A Biographical Register Vol I 1855-1913” (1996).
Thomson, K & Serle, G., “A Biographical
Register of the Victorian Legislature 1851-1900” (1972).
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