Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Rewriting history.

Two of Kenneth Brown's horses listed as Melbourne Cup entries for 1873 - Hindu and Victorian.  There was a third, Asteroid, not listed here. (The Empire, Sydney 18/08/1873)

Hung for the murder of his second wife, Kenneth Brown, explorer and pastoralist of Western Australia, had a previously unknown connection to Thames, NZ which came to light when I was researching my blog 'Against her heart'  (July 2014).

Intriguingly, I was unable to find any mention of the Brown's time in Thames or New Zealand  in Australian newspaper reports or  Australian information sources.  All reports said the Brown's spent that year or so in Melbourne before returning to Champion Bay, ten weeks before Mary's murder.  

It's fascinating how the internet has made the often murky past accessible, particularly the digitising of documents and newspapers where details only guessed at by generations before us are suddenly fleshed out.  Stories that have been lost in time, mis- remembered or deliberately hidden start to take shape under the electronic glow of the internet.

In an eerie coincidence, Aidan Kelly, lawyer of Fremantle, WA , was working on a presentation of Kenneth's life to be given in Champion Bay, WA,  at the same time I was researching my blog story. 

 He had noticed the appearance of the name Kenneth Brown in NZ records but didn't think it could  be the same person.  When he came across my  just-posted blog , which was based on the story of the domestic violence against Mary Ann, the penny-dropped. 

We began swapping notes and the missing parts in the  life of Kenneth Brown came into focus.
Aidan gave his talk in  Champion Bay on 20 August 2014 which was reported in the Geraldton Guardian 27/08/14.  His interest in Kenneth Brown had been sparked  last year when he started researching a documentary on the rare, nearly extinct Australian night parrot.  (Kenneth Brown had  shot the type specimen in 1854.)

Kenneth was also the first Western Australian to enter the Melbourne Cup .  He took his best horses Victorian, Hindu and Asteroid and trainer-jockey Henry Woolhouse. 

There was a lot more to Kenneth Brown than his inglorious end and he became famous for all the wrong reasons and 
I am pleased to have been able to play a small part in the search for Kenneth Brown.

For more on Aidan Kellys' quest  -

Mary Ann Tindall Brown - it was "against her heart" to testify against her husband. 

Kenneth Brown -  an enigma to this day. 

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