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  • Author:agent C. J. Dennis
Issue Details: First known date: 1928... 1928 The Late Frank Brown : A Versatile and Typical Australian
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Transcript of Dennis's obituary:

'Probably no contemporary Australian had such a varied and picturesque career as the the late Frank Paterson Brown, who is today mourned by friends in twenty different walks of life - close and intimate friends, who loved him for qualities that, in the last reckoning, are remembered most vividly as the real test of a man's true worth. He was my friend, and the sudden and unexpected news of his death recalls a hundred little episodes that bring with them nothing but admiration and deep regard for a man with whom the game always came first, and by whom thoughts of reward were seldom if ever considered. Such things are commonly recalled in sad moments such as these; but in the case of Frank Brown, the remarkable thing is the number and variety of men who will recall them as the news of his death spreads throughout Australia and beyond.

I can think of no man who was, in his ambitions, his enthusiasms, in all the qualities that go to the making of a fine, clean-living man, so typically Australian as Frank Brown. He was essentially an out-doors man prominent in many sports, yet he had, too, many remarkable talents that one rarely associates with a sportsman. His versatility was amazing. As a schoolboy he became the 440 yards hurdle champion of Australia, and established a record that has never been beaten. A little later he studied art at the National Gallery, and, through association with his uncle, the late John Ford Paterson, became no mean judge of pictures. He was an amateur boxer of distinction, and wrote plays that have been performed with success. He led a vaudeville team of wild Australian woodchoppers and whip-crackers upon a successful tour of the United States, and wrote topical verse of remarkably good quality. He was a friend of Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson, in their early days; he joined a rush to the Alaskan gold fields, and pioneered the first of the famous cowboy rodeos. As a buffalo shooter in the Northern Territory his prowess is a byword, and many a friend among the real bushmen and among his beloved aborigines of the north will mourn his passing. He gathered aboriginal lore, learned their dialects, and wrote songs for them in their own language. It was Jack London, the famous author, who inspired Frank to seek these Northern Territory adventures.

Frank met London in Tasmania, and complained that the world nowadays lacked adventure. He had, he said, seen all his own country, and indicated the coastline he had explored. Jack London sent for a map, and, pointing to the vast interior of Australia, asked: "What about all this?" In less than two weeks, Frank had crossed the straits, picked up two experienced bushmen en route, and was already on his way to walk from Bourke to Darwin. He accomplished that walk, and incidentally discovered the Mount Maroomba mine on the way. Self advancement in any of these fields was the last thing he thought of. He was all for the adventure. Self-seeking was foreign to his happy nature, and to the end he retained those boyish qualities and those healthy enthusiasms that made him so well loved.

During the war, Frank Brown was attached to the 8th Field Artillery Brigade, and fought until the armistice. Upon his return he devoted his energies to sporting journalism. Into this, as into everything, he threw his whole energy, and his name ever stood for honesty and integrity in sport. During this later period he brought to see me many of his brawny friends of the wrestling and boxing ring, and the respect and almost slavish regard with which these strong men looked up to Frank was eloquent tribute to a character esteemed and admired in many a higher circle. Frank talked little of these amazing exploits of his, but, when he was in the mood, he was a story teller worth listening to. It is with poignant regret that I now realise he will never again sit by my fire telling absorbing tales of his buffalo shooting days, of waterless tracks, of the blacks, who regarded him as very near a god, of his American experiences, and of his friends, the sterling men of the bush. And the telling of them so lacked the bragging spirit that one wondered at times if this modest, ingenuous fellow really was the man who had gone through such astounding adventures. The pity of it is that these tales will now be lost. Frank Brown was a friend to value and a man to admire. It was as a sportsman that the public knew him best - a sportsman in the best and most exalted sense of the term. And, in every sense, he was a straight dealer and a lovable man.'

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The Herald no. 16078 27 November 1928 Z1557138 1928 newspaper issue 1928 pg. 4
Last amended 2 Feb 2009 12:53:37
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