George Brown was the eldest child of Lindsay George Brown, aka Lindsay Murdock Graham Snushall, and Margaret Ellen (Nell) McGlenchy who married in Geraldton on 20 April 1920. George had three brothers, John, Tom and Harold; and three sisters, Dorothy (Topsy), Margaret (Peggy) and Noreen (Billie).
George Brown married Phyllis Meyler Bamkin on 31 October 1942. Phyllis was born on the 21 September 1924 in Fremantle to Frederick and Susan Bamkin. She was a child during the great depression. During World War II, her father served overseas in the Army. Although Phyllis was an only child, she grew up with an adopted brother, Bobby, and later gained a much-loved stepsister Norma. Mum was unaware that she had an older sister living in New Zealand.
During her early years, her parent's owned and operated bakeries in Mullewa and Geraldton. During these school years Phyllis made many enduring friendships. The family later moved back to Spearwood and Phyllis spent several years in Perth.
It was during this time that George and Phyllis married and they had three sons, Trevor, Lindsay and Rodney. The family lived in Aberdeen St, North Perth, and St Albans Ave, Highgate - suburbs of Perth, WA.
As their eldest son, I recall that our family life was very happy throughout our younger years. George was a highly skilled metalworker, panel beater and spray-painter. He was forever utilizing his metal skills by making his children toys, such as peddle-cars, scooters, 3-wheeler bikes and trolleys.
George and Phyllis divorced while we children were still quite young. Phyllis married John Hollingsworth. For reasons that are not clear, the boys were placed into an orphanage where they remained for 6 months until their father could make arrangements to support them. John and Phyllis moved from Perth and managed a number of rural properties over the next few years and had a daughter, Syria, on the 3 August 1957.
George lived with his younger sister, Peggy, after the break-up of his first marriage. He subsequently removed the boys from the orphanage and we went to live with him at his sister's dairy farm at Mount barker. We lived with Peggy and Alan Toovey and their family for a year or two. George met Maureen Herbert, born 23 October 1936 to parents Melville (Pat) George and Beatrice Herbert. They married on 10 December 1955. Maureen was about 19 years of age. We then moved into a number of rented premises in and around Mount Barker, until George and Maureen purchased a house within the township.
George Brown & Maureen Herbert's Wedding Day - 10/12/1955
Grandma & Hawley Gardiner; George & Maureen; Alan Toovey; Cynthia, Pat & Beattie Herbert.
Dad was a panel-beater and spray-painter and worked at a large garage in town. Some time later he set up his own business working from a large shed on the outskirts of the town. He was a good tradesman; a hard worker and he took pride in his work.
There was a significant age difference of about 16 years between Dad and Maureen and she was not much older than me. I have often looked back on those days and realized that it must have been very difficult for Maureen to have the responsibility of caring for my brothers and I in addition to raising a young family. On occasions, my brothers and I resented Maureen and we would often not cooperate when she wanted us to do things.
Maureen and dad had two children before my brothers and I left to live with our mother and her second husband, John Hollingsworth. The first child, Neville Raymond, was born at Mt Barker on 2 February 1957. Leslie Michael was born on 28 May 1958. After we left they had two daughters, Colleen Joy born 9 July 1959, and Gaye Michelle born 6 December 1960.
The four children, Les, Gaye, Colleen and Neville pictured here with their father, were still very young when George and Maureen moved from Mount Barker to Perth. I understand that this move was mostly due to our father's medical problems that had developed. He was not a well man due to a cardiac condition. A change of vocation was necessary and so George and Maureen moved their young family to Perth.
Maureen describes that period of their marriage: We had four kids under four years old. It was a normal, happy life until George became ill with narrowed arteries in early 1962. We sold the business, bought a caravan, hitched it to our EH Holden Station Wagon and headed out. A holiday, but at the same time looking for something less physically demanding to settle into. We bought a little corner store with house attached in North Perth. We moved in on the weekend of 14th and 15th July. On Monday 16th George died of a heart attack, two months before his 42nd birthday. I sold the shop and moved back to Mt. Barker.
George was buried at the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth. Maureen sold the shop and later married Trevor John Herbert at Bunbury on 23 December 1967. Trevor was an ex-soldier who had fought in Vietnam. He later worked as a Prison Correction Officer. He had to take early retirement due to the effects of Agent Orange chemicals that he had come into contact with during the Vietnam War. Trevor was a good husband and caring father to the four children. He and Maureen were to later adopt two aboriginal children, Marianne Herbert who was born 13 July 1970, and Ronald John Herbert who was born on 18 August 1970.
Maureen and Trevor are keen 4WD enthusiasts who would often enjoy traveling to far north remote areas for weeks at a time to pursue their interest in finding and recording the locations of ancient traditional aboriginal water holes and wells way out in the outback, well off the beaten tracks. Maureen and Trevor enjoy deep friendships with many of the traditional owners.
My brothers and I had lost contact with Maureen and the children for many years after leaving Mount Barker. We were not aware of Maureen's marriage to Trevor or that she and our father had two daughters, Colleen and Gaye. It was in 1994, whilst visiting Perth with my family, that I made the effort to seek them out. I found Maureen living in Bunbury and that evening we all got together in Perth. I felt that it was a significant and moving experience to finally make contact with Maureen, Trevor, our brothers and sisters and their spouses and children. Maureen and Trevor should feel proud with the way in which they brought up their children. We've kept in regular contact since that meeting in spite of living in different States of Australia.
Children of George & Phyllis Brown (nee Bamkin):
Trevor John (b.1943)
Lindsay George (b.1944 d.2014)
Rodney Paul (b.1948)
Children of George & Maureen Brown (nee Herbert):
Neville Raymond (b.1957)
Lesley Michael (b.1958)
Colleen Joy (b.1959)
Gaye Michelle (b.1960)