Rev Dr George Brown 1835-1917; ‘one of the toughest morsels’

Paper for ANU Missions Seminar 2006


The missionary career of Rev Dr George Brown in the Pacific began when he arrived in Samoa in 1860 with his bride Lydia Wallis. Over the years he traversed the Pacific repeatedly, working in various capacities in eastern Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands until his final Pacific journey in 1915. He served the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Australasia as missionary, mission administrator and President, hero and embarrassment, political stirrer and creative thinker, pugnacious peacemaker, pioneer and pastor, shaper of policy and teller of ripping yarns. During his first fourteen years as a missionary in Samoa, years that were marked by discouragement, frustration and conflict, Brown developed attitudes and understandings that informed the rest of his long career. These included his relationships with Pacific Island people, development of models for mission, views on colonial influence in island communities, relationships with other missionary organizations, his active curiosity about Pacific cultures and the critical role of his wife Lydia.

Margaret Reeson

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