NAME: Thomas BROWN
SERVICE NO: 41
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1883
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hamilton
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 20 March 1916
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Ballarat
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 33
UNIT: 39th Battalion A Company
EMBARKED: 27 May 1916
TROOPSHIP: HMAT A11 Ascanius
FATE: Returned to Australia – 3 March 1918
Thomas Brown was born in 1883, a son of Hamilton butcher Thomas Brown and Mary Ann Cameron. The family lived at Weeroona in McIntyre Street, Hamilton. After finishing school, Thomas worked for stock and station agents Fenton & Co. in Gray Street, becoming an auctioneer. His father Thomas died in 1903.
In 1910, Thomas travelled to Brisbane by the ship Wyreena and had some excitement when calling into Sydney when the Wyreena collided with another ship. The Hamilton Spectator reported on his “thrilling experience” which Thomas said made his “hair stand on end”. From Brisbane, Thomas travelled on to Longreach and worked for L.C.Wooldridge & Co., stock agents and auctioneers. He wrote home there were no ticks or rabbits in Queensland and the roads didn’t hold up well after rain. Not like the metal roads in “good old Hamilton”.
Thomas made his way back to Victoria and in September 1911, he and his brother Joseph announced they were opening an auctioneer, stock and commission agents business in Warracknabeal called Brown Bros. They were given a send-off at Hamilton before the brothers set off on their new venture.
In 1913, Tom returned to Hamilton. He worked with his brothers overseeing their late father’s property Meadowlands raising livestock for the family butchering business.
Thomas enlisted on 20 March 1916 at the age of thirty-three and left Australia on 27 May. During the voyage on July 1916, he sought medical assistance as he was showing signs of rheumatism and was admitted to the ship’s hospital. He was there eleven days and when they disembarked he went to the admitted to the Devenport hospital where he stayed eleven weeks. He was discharged on 27 October 1916.
Thomas stayed in England with depot duties but in November 1916 he was unfit again. It was decided he should return to Australia and he left England on 10 January 1918. He was disappointed to be going home and had tried his hardest to train but the pain in his legs hands and was too great and was only aggravated by marching. He arrived in Australia on 3 March 1918. In August 1918, in a planting ceremony, Thomas’ mother planted a tree in his honour along the Clarke Street Memorial Avenue
On his return to Hamilton, Tom continued to reside with his mother at Weeroona until his marriage to Daisy May Kopke in 1924. They went on to have two sons. He continued in partnership with his brothers and farmed on his own property Ulva at Hamilton. Thomas was very active in the Hamilton community. He was a member of the Hamilton Bowling Club for forty years and one year was the club champion, as well as the Western District champion. He also had a term as club president. Thomas was also a good cricketer in his early years. He sang baritone solos at music competitions and concerts around the district. He was on the Cemetery Trust and Mechanic’s Institute committee and was a member of the local repatriation committee. A Presbyterian, Thomas sat on the board of management of the St Andrews Presbyterian Church for fourteen years.
Thomas and Daisy later lived at 48 McIntyre Street Hamilton. Thomas died in 1953 at Hamilton aged seventy. A returned serviceman’s funeral was held and local musician Jack Cartasso played the Last Post.
Along with the Clarke Street Memorial Avenue, Thomas Brown’s war service is remembered on the Borough of Hamilton WW1 Honour Roll.