George Brown Collection / Japanese
Scan of pages from Brown's autobiography.
Scan of cover page of Brown's autobiography.

George Brown: In his own words

The Early Years
and The Call

CONTENTS

Family Background / My father: the able man / My father: the lay preacher / School days / Dangerous Occupations / Going to Sea I / Going to Sea II / Going to Sea III / Passage to America / First Steps / The Great Lakes / Return to England / A Narrow Escape / Passage to New Zealand / Auckland / Finding a Mission / Fit for Mission Work? / A Suitable Helpmeet / A Bush Honeymoon / Our Worst Night / Missionary Heroes / Sydney to Samoa
Acknowledgments & Links


Fit for mission work? < A suitable helpmeet > A bush honeymoon
Sarah Lydia Brown nee Wallis (c.1860)
George and Lydia Brown (nee Wallis)
in September 1860 (taken at Crown Studios, Sydney)
Photo courtesy of Nancy Joyce and Margaret Reeson.
James Wallis
James Wallis
Photo courtesy of Raglan and District Museum.

As soon as I received notice in Auckland of my appointment I began to make preparations for my work. One of the most important was that of securing a suitable helpmeet in the great work to which I was appointed. This necessitated a visit to the mission-station at Waingaroa, where the young lady was living whom I had long thought to be best qualified for that position. There were no railways or coaches in that part of New Zealand in those days, and so I had to make a long journey of five or six days along the west coast before I arrived at my destination. I was naturally somewhat anxious to get there, and on the last day I pushed ahead as long as I could, and arrived on the shores of Waingaroa harbour some time after sunset. There was no boat available, and the distance was certainly too far for any one to attempt to swim ; and so I had to camp down on the sandy beach almost in sight of the mission-station. My poor pony shared with his rider the misery of nothing to eat. The mosquitoes, however, evidently considered that there was a good feed for them, and in order to disappoint them I had to dig with my hands a deep hole in the sand, put my saddle in it, and then lie down myself and cover every part of my body except my head with sand, whilst the poor horse stood patiently by trying to eat the tough bush which grew on the beach. However, the longest night passes, and at early dawn I managed to get a native canoe, which landed me at the mission-station. Here I was fortunate enough to succeed in the important matter for which the journey was made, and I then prepared to return to Auckland, intending to come back in a few weeks to be married. Just, however, as I was starting, a native messenger came from the Rev. T. Buddle, the Chairman of the District, informing me of the date on which I was to arrive in Sydney, which was much earlier than we had expected. It was very clear that there was no time to return to Auckland, and so preparations had to be made for our marriage at once.

I could give, I think, an interesting account of the troubles I had to get a licence from a magistrate living in a wild, out-of-the-way place in the bush, and in inducing a gentleman, who was also intending to be married, to let me have the ring which he had provided for his own expected wife, but this is not necessary. Let it suffice to say that on August 2, 1860, I was married to Miss S. L. Wallis, the second daughter of the veteran missionary, the Rev. James Wallis, of Waingaroa. In this instance the statement that, Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord, received a good illustration.

Editors note: The photograph of Lydia Brown used on this page is taken from Brown's autobiography, and is of her as a mature woman. If you know of a suitable image of Lydia in her younger years, contact us via the Contact page, and please use the subject line ‘George Brown’.

Fit for mission work? < Previous Next > A bush honeymoon Home

Family Background / My father: the able man / My father: the lay preacher / School days / Dangerous Occupations / Going to Sea I / Going to Sea II / Going to Sea III / Passage to America / First Steps / The Great Lakes / Return to England / A Narrow Escape / Passage to New Zealand / Auckland / Finding a Mission / Fit for Mission Work? / A Suitable Helpmeet / A Bush Honeymoon / Our Worst Night / Missionary Heroes / Sydney to Samoa
Acknowledgments & Links