John was born to Albert and Kathleen Brown of The Parade Yea 3717 on 27th December, 1948. The 5th child in a family of 11 children.
John was born the same year his mother's father was killed in a road accident. Kath had had a very strong relationship with her father and had often travelled with him to various venues where he had spoken with enthusiasm on a wide range of topics that included The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Which was signed only a few weeks prior to John's birth), discussion on evolution and her father's championing of many of Wallace's views. John recalls his mother laughing at some aspect that often prompted her father to make a statement along the lines of 'Charlie D may well be right but Wallace is correct when he says ...'. His discussions with his mother on these topics remain today some of his most treasured memories of the uniqueness of his experience of his mother and those of her family who came before her.
John tells his own story from here onwards
I recall a fellow came to Yea to look at the fossils that the local council were grinding up for road base. *these in fact were early fossils that helped lead our understanding of the development of the Australian continent - the book The Greening of Gondwana show photos of the leaves found on that roadside cutting where those earliest fossils still show through for anyone to see. I was working at the Chronicle when he came in and asked about them. I finished up taking him to the spot and then invited him in when he dropped me off at home. I watched my mother light up in a way I had never seen before and she later told me that her conversation with this very polite Canadian scientist fellow was so very much like those she had had with her own father. It was a joy to have been a part of a real conversation with her on that and on other occasions. *When I came back and read this last line I realise that often in my life I have yearned for the honesty and openness and the ease of conversation she had on many aspects that science was or had been working on. It seems it came about from people who had an interest to know more about their environment and or read or talked about scientific achievements without fear of being raped and exploited simply because you did not believe in their imaginary god.
Those were the happiest moments I saw my mother experience.She said the conversation had remindeded her so much of her own father and she found so much to laugh and to smile about in doing that.
It only came to my understanding more recently the uniqueness of the relationship I had with my mother. While I had understood for many years that my survival had come about only because of her actions on more occasions than a mother should find necessary however she simply was that sort of person and was on the ready to protect any of her offspring. I have feint recall of being swept away down the river when we used to swim there and mum apparently dived in grabbed me - those were the obvious times yet there were many other occasions where her intervention saved or protected me in some way.
JohnB October 7, 2016
For many years my earliest recollection was of a day at around 3 and a half years of age playing in the dry dirt under the house with a little girl from next door (white haired just as I was). She was the child of refugees from Western Europe after the end of WWII.
My father came to the little door that led to under the house and asked where my older brother Robert was. I pointed to the cubby under the bathroom corner.
My father walked over and opened the door. Inside was Robert who would have been about 8 years of age at that time and the lady refugee; she had been sexually molesting my brother.
Robert was blamed and was punished terribly by my father to the extent that Robert was forced to dig a hole in the back yard and put his small black and white Fox Terrier dog into the hole and my father shot it as punishment.
It is difficult to describe the horror of that today - what it must have been like to live through is difficult to describe. Many events like this led to my eventually developing my understanding of the abuse of children within the Catholic religion and the importance of the deeply embedded trauma of the Catholic childhood experience. This was also the beginning of bullying from brother Robert to the extent that my mother sought refuge for me with the nuns at the local convent.
"Pretend John if you have to". Words my mother spoke to me on a number of occasions with regard to my disbelief in the Catholic notion of a god. On the last time I saw her she smiled and said she was having two bob each way. If there was an afterlife then she would be getting back to me.
Come back later