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Rev Brown's Diploma

Posted on 22 March 2010 wgleeson

Rev. George Brown was born in England in 1835.  After a wayward youth, which included an attempt to stow away at sea, Brown travelled to New Zealand, where, having undergone a Christian education onboard his ship, he joined the Methodist Society and soon became a lay preacher.


In 1860, he married, was ordained and was sent as a Missionary to Samoa. During his time in Samoa, and then back in Australia in 1874, he urged the opening of a Methodist Mission in New Britain, which he established in 1877 and remained until 1881.  He returned to Sydney, having gained international fame with his contributions to the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, and would next choose the Sydney Morning Herald to launch ten years of support of the Pacific Islands, although this time, he used various pseudonyms to get his point across!


Brown returned to ‘old’ Britain in 1886, where he was lauded in Church and scientific circles.  He also acted as a commissioner of New South Wales.  Also in 1886, Brown was awarded a diploma, granting him honourary membership of the Geographical Society of Thuringen (a region of Germany), “in recognition of his travels and research in New Britain and New Ireland”.  


George Brown's DiplomaHeld in the NSW Synod Archives collection, is what we believe to be the original diploma, awarded to George Brown, during this Northern Hemisphere trip.  The certificate, which is complete, but in two pieces, is dated 18 March, 1886, when Brown received it person, in Jena, a University city in Germany.


Rev. George Brown went on to have a distinguished career in the Church, and also in civil and scientific fields.  Along with maintaining an active hand in Methodists Missions in the Pacific Islands, he wrote regularly as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.  He was President of the Methodist General Conference, Vice-President of the British and Foreign Bible Society and the Australian Native Races Protection Society and was also a contributor to the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, where his papers included The necessity for a uniform system of spelling Australian proper names.


George Brown is remembered at the Centre for Ministry in North Parramatta by the naming of a building in his memory.

Biographical information sourced from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

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