John Mackellar Brown (born circa 1844 / 1845)

John Mackellar Brown was born probably circa 1844 London, or perhaps Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He appears in the 1861 census in Britain, living at 7 Up Hyde Park Gardens, Paddington, London, aged 16, born in London. He would therefore have been born sometime from 8th April 1844 to 7th April 1845 inclusive (although this might be inaccurate as I have found considerable inaccuracies in census returns - including showing his parents' place of birth as Dundee). (He died August 21st 1910, aged 66. I have not yet worked out how this affects the likely birth dates though I think this would be between August 22nd 1843 and August 21st 1844, narrowing down the range to April-August 1844 from the census figures). His given occupation is scholar, but he did not attend the same school (Highgate) as his brothers James, Claud and Thomas. He attended Rugby School 1859-1861. As he was 15 in October 1859 according to the school register this refines his possibel date of birth to between April and october 1844. He does not appear on subsequent censuses living with his family. This may be because it appears that he married in Australia in 1867 and probably lived there until around 1883 although I have as yet not found any reference to him in census returns for England in 1891 or 1901. Perhaps he moved to Scotland?

I uncovered the following reference to a John McKellar Brown on the Aussie Heritage website:

"Parma House was built in 1873 and according to a reference in Nowra Museum was completed in 1874...

"Settlement in the South, Antill p.37 notes John McKellar Brown (Parma) as being a member of the inaugural Shoalhaven Agricultural and Horticultural Society formed after a Public Meeting at Terrara on 6th March 1874.

"John McKellar Brown was known as Parma Brown to distinguish him from Bernard Brown who was First Constable south of the Shoalhaven River and also first mayor of Nowra. Designer and builder of Parma House are not known.

"The Shoalhaven Telegraph, December 20th 1905 ... shows that the present property ... was purchased from the Estate in 1905. Apparently there was a time span of 22 years from the time Parma Brown left Australia until the Estate was broken up. Reports from older residents (since deceased) indicated that Mr. Harry Bourne may have leased the Estate from Parma Brown from 1883-1905 and operated a very successful racehorse breeding and training establishment ranking closely to the well known deMestre Stables.

"Parma passed to one of Harry Bourne's sons "Sonny" who sold it in 1932 to Mr. Homburg. He sold the property in 1945 to a Sydney partnership, Brown and McMillan ..."

The property now appears to be rented for holiday purposes as Parma Farm, the owners of which kindly provided me with the following information:

"John Mackellar Brown bought the property in the early 1870ís and commenced building Parma House in 1873. John Mackellar Brown (whom later become known as "Parma Brown" so as not to be confused with Bernard Brown who was another prominent landholder south of Nowra) was the eldest son of John Wyld Brown of 78 Lancaster Gate, Bayswater, London and he married Alice Louisa Rowe, eldest daughter of T.G. Rowe of Narraville, at St Mathias Church Paddington, Sydney on 4th May 1867. Their first child Maude Mary was born the following year at Paddington. Her sister, Ethel Alice, was born at Genda, Queensland in April 1871. The family returned to NSW after two years at Genda and set about making a home from which Mr Brown could supervise the working of the 2560 acres of the newly acquired property.

"John Mackellar Brown commenced work on Parma House in 1873 and it was completed the following year utilising local hardwoods and Australian red cedar. The thirteen-roomed house featured thirteen-foot high ceilings, four fireplaces, servantís quarters and French window doors opening onto broad verandas. The structure is thought to be a good example of Australian architecture.

"A mortgage document, dated 10th October 1873, reveals that "Parma " Brown borrowed four hundred pounds from William Piesley of Sydney, which one would assume would be to fund completion of the homestead. The terms of the mortgage that one hundred and fifty pounds interest would be charged and monthly instalments of twelve pounds and ten shillings be repaid until the loan was repaid.

"Apparently Parma Brown was a keen photographer but when the Bournes (I think) bought the property, they cleared out the house and burnt all the photographs that were there. I'm sure Parma Brown would have stayed longer if he hadn't run out of money!"

I found a reference to a John M Brown who died in 1910 in Woollahra (a suburb of Sydney) with parents' names John W and Mary. (Registration Number 11817/1910). The Sydney Morning Herald reported his death as being on the 21st August, 1910, in his residence in Hamilton Street, Rose (?) Bay, aged 66. There is an indication that he left Australia sometime after leaving Parma House, perhaps when the farm was leased in 1883, but he must have returned to Australia. I also found reference to an Alice Louisa Rowe who was born in 1848 and christened on 15 Feb 1849, Church Of England, New South Wales, Australia, to parents George Taylor Rowe and Phoebe Melville.

There are records of a marriage of an Ethel Alice Brown in the UK; in Oct / Nov / Dec 1892 (Paddington 1a 31), and also (Paddington 1a 117) in Apr / May / Jun 1893. There is also one in Jul / Aug / Sep 1902 ( Ashby Z. 7a 211). There are six references to a marriage of Maude Mary Brown between 1892 and 1909. The problem is that one also has to include name variations, .e.g. those without the middle name, and this would involve too many extra possibilities.

To summarise the above, John Mackellar Brown married Alice Louisa Rowe in Sydney, Australia in May 1867. They may have left Australia for England, or perhaps Scotland, in 1883. They had at least two children:

  1. Maude Mary Brown, born 1868, Sydney, New South Wales
  2. Ethel Alice Brown, born April 1871, Genda, Queensland

Possible and likely name variations for the mother:

Possible and likely name variations for the father:





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