BROWNE, John Harris (1817-1904)


BROWNE, John Harris (1817-1904)
explorer and pioneer pastoralist
was born in England on 22 April 1817. He was well educated and qualified for the medical profession at Edinburgh university. He went to South Australia in 1840, took up land, and in 1844 was asked by Charles Sturt (q.v.) to join his expedition to central Australia as surgeon. During this journey he was of the greatest assistance to Sturt, and when his leader fell ill with scurvy, took command of the party on the return journey and brought it to safety. He afterwards became a highly successful squatter and held an enormous amount of land in South Australia. In his later years he lived for long periods in England, and died there in January 1904. He married and was survived by a son and daughter. He was a kindly, modest and courageous man who never sought publicity; but both in the official biography and in Sturt's own account of the journey to central Australia we have many references to Browne's ability as an explorer and his loyalty to Sturt, who probably owed his life to him.
Browne's elder brother, William James Browne (1815-1894), who also qualified as a physician, arrived in South Australia in 1839 and became a very successful pastoralist. He was a member of the house of assembly from 1860 to 1862. He left South Australia for England with his family in 1878 and in 1880 was an unsuccessful candidate at an election for the house of commons. He died at Eastbourne, England, on 4 December 1894. As a pastoralist he did valuable work in experimenting with grasses and fodder plants, and with fine wools from crossbred Lincoln and Merino sheep.
Pastoral Pioneers of South Australia, vol. I; Mrs Napier George Sturt, Life of Charles Sturt; Charles Sturt, Narrative of an Expedition into Central Australia; John Blacket, History of South Australia, p. 322.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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