Brown, Dr George
1835-1917; e.m. 1860

Missionary in Australasia. He was born on 7 December 1835 at Barnard Castle, the son of George Brown, editor, barrister and Unitarian preacher, and his wife Elizabeth, née Dixon, sister-in-law of the Rev. Thomas Buddle, WM missionary in New Zealand. While living with Buddle at Onehunga, he was influenced by Methodist preaching, became a local preacher and was designated a missionary for Samoa in 1860.

He served in Samoa until 1874, where he came to know Robert Louis Stevenson; then in New Britain 1875-1881, New Guinea 1890-91 and New Georgia, Solomon Islands in 1892. He was General Secretary of the Australian Methodist Foreign Missions from 1887 to 1908; President of the New South Wales Conference in 1891 and of the General Conference of the Methodist Church in Australasia in 1913. Stevenson described him as 'the man who made the War in the Western Islands and was tried for his life in Fiji … a man that knows and likes the natives, qui paye de sa personne, and is not afraid to hang when necessary'.

His doctorate was conferred by Wesley College, McGill University, Montreal. Among his publications were A Brief Account of Methodist Missions in Australia, Polynesia and Melanesia (Sydney, 1904), a Report of the Commission on Public Affairs in Fiji (Sydney, 1903) and Melanesians and Polynesians; their life-histories described and compared (London, 1910). His autobiography, George Brown DD, pioneer missionary and explorer was published in London in 1908. He died at Gore Hill, NSW on 8 April 1917.

  • Margaret Reeson, Pacific Missionary George Brown (2013)
  • Methodist Recorder.18 August 2017
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography