Robert Duncan Brownlee
The story of Robert Duncan Brownlee founder of R. Brownlee & Company Sawmills at Ourimbah, Central Coast, NSW Australia. Also his son Robert William Brownlee who took over the sawmilling operations.
Robert Duncan Brownlee was born at 52 Union Street, Hamilton, Scotland in 1879. The family left for New Zealand in 1880 and stayed there until 1884. After leaving New Zealand, they settled in John Street, Leichhardt in N .S. W. Australia.
Not a great deal is known of Robert’s early life but he married Annie Johnson, who was born in Cheshire, England on 29 March 1877. Her parents William and Mrs. Johnson lived in Susan Street, Annandale, and it was here, about 1899 that Robert started his box factory, which was situated on the Johnson’s property. He would buy second hand crate and box material to make up boxes for William Arnotts, who manufactured biscuits.
After Robert and Annie were married they bought a house in Haldon Street, Lakemba. Their first child, Catherine Brownlee, was born here on 11 March 1900, and their second child, Robert William Brownlee, was born 18 February 1905 in the Johnson's home in Susan Street, Annandale.
By 1907 Robert and Annie were well established in their home at Lakemba. Robert had built stables up the back and had bought “Tuxedo” a trotting mare. He decided to send her to “Cashmere” for service – “Cashedo” was the result, a beautiful stallion. Robert would come home from work of a night and go up into the stables and groom “Cashedo”. Robert W. remembers one instance when he was only a crawling toddler: “Dad and I were out in the stables and Mum had come out looking for us. When she walked into the stables, here I was crawling around underneath Cashedo and Dad was asleep in the stall”. Robert D also bred “Pickedo” and the “Coon”, they were both from Picanini by Tuxedo. He called one horse the “Coon” because he was such an ugly looking horse and was black like his father.
About 1908 Robert D. bought a small sawmill in Chittaway Road, Ourimbah, a very small place with a shack at the back. There was a fireplace at the end of the cabin, with an opening at the base on each side which enabled a full log to be passed through the opening. The fire was started and as the log burned away the bullocks would pull the unburnt section of log into the fire. The hole in the chimney of the fireplace was about three feet wide by three feet high and bags were hung over the opening to prevent a draught coming into the cabin.
The following extract was taken from “Karagi – Stories & Poems of Wyong Shire, NSW” by Bert Shackleton.
“Ourimbah rounded the turn of the century a bustling place, the railway a boon to the town. In 1908 Robert Brownlee arrived to enter the timber trade as a miller on the bank of “Cutrock” Creek. The area was still the hub of the hardwood world. From daylight to dark the whine of the big saws of eight mills rent the air of the flat. To keep pace with demand, upward of sixty teams hauled from the deep forests of Kulnura, Yarramalong and Dooralong.
The old days and the pioneers of several decades before were slowly passing into history. Quietly, one by one, going to rest in the little Lisarow cemetery clinging as it seems to precariously to the hillside half a mile south of Cutrock Bridge overlooking the railway line.
With the early 1900’s came the Humphries’ and the Sharps, Keegans and Archbold, Sohiers, Scaddens and Collins. The Preston family settled at this time at Palmdale on part of the old Stoddart Grant mentioned in my second book “Shavings” published in 1978. These families all made proud contributions to Ourimbah. Their remnants are still to be found here today. Places and streets bear many of their names.
Timber continued to dominate the life and pulse of the town. The citrus industry grew steadily to become by the 1930’s the centre of the orange growing areas of our State, although it can be safely said timber was the life blood of its growth as it kept pace with home and export demands for this commodity.
Hardwood continued to roll south out of our district well into the late 1920’s when a world slump in the building trade heralded the great depression. This was to continue until the 1930’s with devastating results. The big days of Ourimbah were over, never to return again. Bullock teams that ground her streets to dust or mud were replaced by the motor jinker. The car took over from the horse and sulky, diesel followed steam in time. Now even oil is doomed. The depression went when man was good and ready. He fought his wars. He went to the moon, and half his world is hungry, but Ourimbah lies quiet at the foot of the hills, her work done.
When I came to settle in the lakes district in 1945, several bullock teams still operated in the deeper forests and gullies where trucks could not penetrate. Chief of these were Joe Buckton of Tuggerah and “Toby” Fernance of Brush Creek. Even these are no more. But what of today? Let the scent of orange blossom here at Ourimbah and the occasional whine of the saw at the last remaining mill be a constant reminder to us that the “never give in” attitude and courage of the pioneers of Blue Gum Flat is the real wood upon which Ourimbah is grafted.”
The following extract is from “Blue Gum Flat to Budgewoi” by Charles Swancott.
“In 1908. when the late Robert Brownlee came to Ourimbah to commence operations in the saw milling industry it was essentially a timber town.
It remains today the centre of an amazingly rich and varied timber area, although, in addition it is the centre also of one of the wealthiest citrus growing areas in Australia.
When “Old Bob” Brownlee commenced there were eight mills operating in Ourimbah each employing an average of eight men. Then, there were at least 25 bullock teams around Ourimbah. Today R. Brownlee and Co.’s Sawmill (now owned by R. Love), employs 10 hands who, with the help of electric power and modern appliances – tractors and trucks have displaced the old time bullock teams – bring in and mill more timber than all of the old mills combined.”
The mill was well established when Robert D., Annie, Catherine and Robert W. came to Ourimbah in 1910. Robert D. let a place from old Alf Jaques, who ran a wine saloon down the other end of town – on this site today stands the Tall Timbers Hotel. The family lived at this house for about twelve months and in 1911 they moved to a house in Chittaway Road. Robert D. also owned a weekender at The Entrance, which took just under an hour for the old horse “Coon” to pull the sulky the fourteen and a half mile journey. Travelling to The Entrance from Sydney at this time usually meant a trip by rail to Wyong, then by launch down the Wyong River and across the lake to The Entrance. The Taylor Brothers had a number of boats that ran from Wyong, they were the Maheno, Loongana, Waiwera and Kiora. They also owned the Niora and Miora.
Robert Duncan Brownlee's first boat was the “No Name” which was a converted sixteen foot sailing boat, with an engine and a glassed-in canopy. The “No Name” was used as a passenger boat from Wyong to The Entrance.
About 1915 Robert D. bought the “Bunyip”, a twenty one footer with a battery started four horsepower engine. The “Bunyip” was bought from Harold Hughes at Wyong – Hughes and his son also built the “Dreadnought”, which was brought in to service at Christmtas time and Easter, to supplement the Taylor Brothers’ service from Wyong to The Entrance. The “Dreadnought” was a very nicely built boat and would carry at least 100 passengers.
Robert William remembers going to Wyong with his father to buy the “Bunyip” and he was just old enough to have the strength to pull the flywheel over. Another boat Robert D. had was “The Penguin”. This was only for private use and was originally bought from the fisheries department. It had been used by the fishing inspector.
By 1917 Robert D. had his two brothers, William Somerville Brownlee and John Brownlee, working for him. William was the number one bench man and John drove a horse team, carting logs from near Ourimbah Creek Road, about six miles from Ourimbah.
About 1917 Robert D. bought out an old brickworks at Gosford. The boiler and steam engine were taken to Ourimbah to power the mill. The boiler was sixteen feet long with a diameter of six feet and had thirty two, four inch tubes running through it. The steam engine was fifty horsepower and had a twelve feet diameter flywheel. It had a twenty eight inch stroke and a speed of one hundred and twenty revolutions per minute. The steam engine weighed five tons. The brick kiln was knocked down; the bricks were cleaned, and then carted to the mill. A chimney was constructed from these bricks and would have been at least fifty feet high. The boiler didn’t have a fire box in it, but the fire went underneath then back through the tubes and round the flue on each side. The whole unit was about fifteen feet long and was bricked in above the boiler, with the chimney at the back. The saws were driven by twelve inch belts from the shafts.
Robert D. and Annie Brownlee had their third child on 13 June 1911, they named her Irene Myra Brownlee and on 21 January 1915 their fourth child William James Brownlee was born.
The Gosford Times on Friday 15 November, 1915 reported:
“The “Sawdust” team, which played the Fishermen at The Entrance last week, suffered defeat by the narrow margin of 16 runs only. On a previous visit to The Entrance Mr. R. Brownlee was instrumental in saving the life of Black Harry from drowning, which the Entranceites did not forget, and Mr. James Gault was instructed to present him with an iron cross for bravery, but to Mr. Brownlee’s consternation, when he turned the cross over he found a word with 4 letters.
The Fishermen far exceeded expectations as regards the dinner. All Ourimbahites fully agree that it was the best “spread ever”.
A return match will most likely be played in about three weeks’ time. The majority of Ourimbahites are quite willing to undertake the trip.
The most conspicuous gent next to Mr. Brownlee was a person rejoicing in the name of Diver Duncan, who was “some goods” as regards cricket, &c. He only had on four leggings, and armed himself with a shovel as well as a bat, and eventually headed the list of scorers, to say nothing of a four-round spar with 173 bees that tried to stop his gallop. “Diver” finished up by giving a vocal turn entitled “Only Once a Year”, which brought down the house. Everybody seemed pleased with themselves, especially with the manner in which Sid served the liquid refreshment.
Walter reckoned it was the best tea he had ever tasted. The climax of the afternoon’s sport came to an end by Tom Robson who sang “Coo-ee” in reply to Diver. Then one of the audience remarked to Tom, “Why don’t you enlist?” but much to the discomfiture of the interjector, Tom told them that he had tried but failed, and he showed his rejectment paper, with the remark “Why don’t YOU enlist?” But the interjector collapsed. He is not to be invited to the next soiree, anyway.
Walter finished up the outing with a few lines from the 31st chapter of St. Jacob’s Oil, and announced that he would say a few words on the next occasion from the 5th chapter of a packet of cigarettes.
On Sunday a cricket match was played between Ourimbah Sawmills (Sawdust) and the fishermen of Tuggerah Lakes (Scales), neither team having any objection to bowling and batting on the Sabbath. A very enjoyable game was the outcome, and at the finish the Scaleites defeated the Sawdustions by about 30 runs. Your correspondent noticed several casks, which were certainly full weight on arrival, but were as “light as a feather” towards evening. Consequently many of the players joined in the grass dance to the music of melodious accordion. And all on a Sunday, too”
About 1919 Robert D. bought three blocks of land in Ocean Parade, The Entrance. They were just above the present site of the ocean baths. He built four cottages on the land, three of which were used for letting purposes and the other, a larger cottage, for his own home.
John Brownlee transported the timber that was used in the construction of these four cottages from the mill at Ourimbah, fourteen and a half miles to The Entrance. Overall the trip would take two days, as on the first day it was only possible to get as far as Tumbi, which is about three miles from The Entrance. After camping overnight on the top of Tumbi, almost a full days travelling was required. The roads were very rough in fact, in some parts non-existent. The team had to pull the wagon across the treacherous sand dunes. The few trees which were growing were used along with a block and tackle to pull the wagon up the dunes. On arrival at The Entrance the timber was unloaded, then after a night's rest, there was the long haul back to the mill. Tea trees were plentiful at Killarney Vale, so to save time and to make the trip worthwhile, John would cut about six or so of these trees and haul them back to the mill. Here he would be paid an amount per tree.
When Robert W. was about 13 or 14 he would work at the mill after school. He would offside with his uncle Jack (John Brownlee) on the horse team, help to keep all the log books and make up the wage books at the weekend. On Fridays, if his father was out, he would pay the wages and would even sign cheques, the bank manager accepted his signature even though he was only of school age.
By the time Robert W. was 15, he was working at the mill full-time. Fisher Morris used to fire the boiler and one day collapsed at work, so another man, Mr. Freeburn took over, but he also fell to the same plight. Robert W. was then given the job, being young he was able to put up with the heat much more than the older men. The basic wage at this time was about 2 pounds fourteen shillings and the award rate for a boiler attendant was four pounds ten shillings, which made Robert very well paid, considering his age. It was arranged to have an inspector come to the mill and put Robert through the tests. Robert passed and was given a certificate to work the steam engine and fire the boiler. Working on the boiler meant weekend work – Saturdays were spent blowing down the boiler and Sunday mornings he would clean out all the tubes ready for the mill to re-commence work on Monday morning. It was necessary to start at 5.00a.m. on Monday to fire the boiler and built up enough steam to get the mill operational.
Trotting had become an important part of Robert Duncan Brownlee’s sporting life and in his time he had reared and owned many well-known trotters, that raced in the Central Coast area. Quite often he invited friends up from Sydney to see his horses. He had “Cashedo”, a beautiful stallion, who was looked after by his brother William, “Milk Lad”, another stallion, “Pickedo”, “The Coon” and “Little Tuxie”. Robert won many prizes with these horses at the various Wyong and Gosford shows. His son Robert W. also drove trotters in the shows, his horse was “The Coon”. This horse was finally destroyed after it broke two of its legs while being driven on John Brownlee’s horse team. “Tuxedo” died at the ripe old age of 24 years and was buried by Robert W. at Ourimbah.
Robert D. and family moved into their new home in Ocean Parade, at The Entrance in 1920. He retired from the mill, leaving John Brownlee in charge. Robert D had a place at Picnic Point. It was a permissive occupancy and he had a boat shed attached and here he had men employed cutting and building boats. He went into partnership with Austin, Louis and Irvine Taylor. Their first boat shed was directly in front of Pinehurst Guest House, which was built in 1903 by A.C.L. Taylor, son of The Entrance pioneer R.B. Taylor. The boatshed was also owned by Mr. Taylor. After a while they found it necessary to expand, so they built a boat shed on the left side of the bridge at The Entrance and timber that was carted from the mill was used in its construction. Robert William Brownlee, only a lad at the time, helped to put the piers down and the boat shed still stands today (1982), sixty two years later. The business was known as Taylor Brothers and Brownlee Boatshed and the association lasted until 1935, when Robert Duncan Brownlee passed away. Taylor Brothers and Brownlee basically built, repaired and let out boats and launches. Robert D. Brownlee virtually ran the boat shed and most of young Robert W. Brownlee's spare time was spent painting and helping to build these boats.
The following is an extract from The Entrance and District Historical Society's booklet “Historical Tour No.1 - The Entrance District”
“When the Government resumed the waterfront in 1914, some leases of waterfront were given. These included the site of the Brownlee Cottage at Picnic Point and the Duffy store near the point where the waterfront road turns south. All such leases lapsed in due course and the buildings on them have gone. Mooring sites and boat shed leases are, however, still operating.
As we move off for our tour we pass almost immediately through the land resumed on 7/1/1898 for the Fisheries Inspector. It is clearly defined by the row of Norfolk Island Pines both at the front and at the rear. The new house now built is the second Fisheries Inspector's Office and Residence on the site. An allotment on the eastern side which had been resumed was sold to Florence Bateman. The Bateman family still operate the Pinehurst Guest House on the adjacent area. We pass some very old Moreton Bay figs on the waterfront and then the Public Wharf. This wharf and the neighbouring boat house of Taylor Bros., Dennis and Brownlee remind us that until trafficable roads were built in the 1920’s all access after 1889 to The Entrance was by launch from the railway at Tuggerah or Wyong. The first guest houses were close to the wharves on either side of the channel and of these original guest houses we can see that Pinehurst and Lakeside are still very much operative.”
In 1921 “The Penguin” sank on the sand flats off Picnic Point. It had been there a while and Robert W. asked his father what he planned to do with it. He said that it was no good and that it was only scrap, so Robert asked if he could have it and his father agreed. Robert W. retrieved “The Penguin” by digging it out of the mud and found that it was made of New Zealand Kauri which is a timber that never really dies. Robert W. pulled it up onto the bank, hosed it out and let the timber dry out. The timber was so soft that it was possible to scrape it away with your fingernails. “The Penguin” soon dried out and Robert built a lay back cabin, then oiled it, which brought it back to its original condition. He also put in a large four cylinder engine which used to get 18 miles to the gallon.
Robert William Brownlee left the mill in 1922, at the age of 17 and came out to The Entrance to look after his father's cottages. There were four on Ocean Parade, The Entrance, two at North Entrance and twelve at Picnic Point. The cottages at Picnic Point were owned by Les Taylor and Robert D. had secured a lease for Robert W., who was still a minor. Robert W. ran these until he was married in 1924. He also used his father’s boat “The Bunyip” to run fishing parties up the lake. He would get twenty five shillings for a half day and fifty shillings for a full day.
Robert William Brownlee married Myra Maude Mary Clifford at the Church of England Church in Wyong, N.S.W. and on 19 November 1925 they had their first child, Laurel Myra Brownlee. Robert decided that he would like a change from what he had been doing and thought of becoming a driver, but he wasn’t in possession of a driver’s licence, although he had driven an old Ford, owned by his father. He finally decided to go for his licence and hired Perce Simon, a taxi driver at The Entrance, who drove him to Wyong to go for the test. Robert passed the test, then travelled to Sydney and asked his Uncle Tom (Thomas Duncan Brownlee) to allow him to drive one of his two ton trucks into the city, to get a bus driver’s licence. Thomas agreed and went with Robert into Sussex Street, where he was awarded his licence.
Robert W., Myra and baby Laurel moved to Sydney in 1926, where they stayed with Myra’s sister, Hilda and her husband Bob Arthur ... . Robert applied for a number of jobs, including Stuart Bros. at Leichhardt, but he finally accepted an offer from Charlie Jacks to drive buses to Rhodes, Cabarita and Moore Park. Before he took the job on he travelled on the buses so as to familiarise himself with the route and operation of the bus.
Then came the day when Robert had to go for his inspection. Robert sat in the office waiting tor his turn. Charlie Jacks was there and when the big “white” bus came to a standstill and the driver alighted, Robert knew that this was his chance. He positioned himself in the driver’s seat and Charlie Jacks settled himself close by. Robert started the engine, selected first gear and drew out onto Parramatta Road, up Tavener’s Hill towards the city. He had only travelled two blocks and Charlie moved to a seat at the rear of the bus to have a cigarette. Robert called the conductor over and asked him if he would tell him where he had to stop. After he passed his inspection Robert drove these buses for about eighteen months until one day Irvine Taylor, from The Entrance, got onto the bus at Central. He asked Robert if he would be interested in coming to The Entrance to take charge of a new bus service, which the Taylor Brothers had planned to start. The Taylors had decided to replace their ferries with a bus service to The Entrance. Robert had been earning the weekly sum of five pounds ten shillings, so Irvine offered him seven pounds ten shillings and he accepted the offer. Robert wasn’t happy about joining the union, so the Taylors put him on staff and in 1927, Robert drove the first bus from Wiseman’s Ferry. Robert was not only their driver, but their mechanical man as well.
Robert drove on this service for 5 years and by 1932, the Depression had started to have an adverse effect on the company, so Austin Taylor approached Robert telling him of the problems, saying that unfortunately his wages would have to be cut down. Disappointed, Robert agreed, but said that because of his commitments, he would have to try to get something better.
Robert Duncan Brownlee had also noticed a definite decline in business at the mill and was seriously thinking of selling the company. Robert W. was paying his father for a house in Ocean Parade, The Entrance, where Robert D. had lived for some years. Robert had paid his father about seven hundred and fifty pounds, which was quite a considerable sum at this time. The two came to an agreement whereby Robert W. gave back the house and took over the mill along with a small cottage in Chittaway Road, Ourimbah. Two weeks after Robert W. left the Taylors Bus Service, it closed down.
When Robert took over the mill there were only about seven men working for him. The business needed a boost, but these were Depression years and things were hard. Robert worked many long hours to get the mill back on its feet. He purchased a second hand truck on hire purchase and carted sleepers on weekends to help to make the repayments. He carted his own logs, sharpened the saws at the mill of a night, anything to keep the pot boiling.
The difficult years slowly went by and it was towards the end of the Depression on 27 October, 1935 that Robert Duncan Brownlee, founder of R. Brownlee and Company Saw Mill, passed away. In his will the saw mill was left to his sons Robert William Brownlee and William James Brownlee. The share of Taylor Brothers and Browlee was left to Annie, his wife, who sold it soon after.
The Depression eased and business at the mill started improving dramatically, so Robert began to modernize its operation by introducing trucks and tractors to replace the old bullock teams. Vehicles now in use at the mill consisted of two tractors, two winches and about eight trucks. Softwood timber was hauled out of the gullies by tractors and wire rope, then loaded onto trucks and taken to the mill. Timber was delivered by road to Sydney and among the clientele were William Arnott Ltd., biscuit manufacturers and A.C.I., manufacturers of window glass.
On 12 April, 1938, William James Brownlee undid the chain holding the logs on the truck. A twenty foot log dislodged from the top of the load and rolled towards William. He tried to dive under the truck, but the log caught him in the back and broke his pelvis. He was rushed to hospital, where all the men who worked at the mill, offered blood, but it was all in vain as William died in the early hours of the morning of 13 April, 1938.
Business started to expand at the mill and by the time it had reached its peak, a staff of eighty three was employed in various activities. Among these were twelve men driving lorries, sixteen men cutting logs and two gangs of timber getters working in the bush. Timber was being supplied to a builder in the Bankstown area, who was assembling ready cut homes. This builder found himself in financial difficulty and unable to settle his accounts for timber purchased from the mill. An agreement was made, whereby Robert took over his business and commenced cutting and assembling ready cut homes at the mill in Ourimbah. Material for the homes was supplied from Wollongong in the south and Newcastle in the north. This became so successful, that eventually Robert decided to commence erecting homes and at one stage he had five gangs building homes. In excess of two hundred homes were erected in the Central Coast area.
The mill was also supplying timber to A.C.I. for assembly of their crates for plate glass windows and also beer bottles. This monthly turnover with A.C.I. was anything up to ten thousand pounds. Timber was supplied to a man in Yanco, near Griffith. This was used to make crates for citrus fruit.
Robert enjoyed fishing and he had the “Penguin” anchored at Terrigal for some years, where it was used on fishing trips off the coast.
William Hughes and his son built the “Dreadnought”, a large boat with a carrying capacity of one hundred passengers. The two had built another boat called the “Lady Laurel”, which ran from Wyong to Toukley, but sank on the sand flats in the lake.
Prior to this Robert William Brownlee had bought a small passenger boat from Mr. Johnson, owner of the “Lakeside Guest House” at The Entrance. The “Lady Leila” had been under water for about two years and the boat that Robert had purchased from Johnson was far too small for what he needed. With these factors in mind, Robert contacted the owners of the “Lady Leila” and made an agreement to exchange the Johnson’s boat for the “Lady Leila”.
Then came the task of salvaging and repairing the water-logged boat. It was winched from the lake at the slipway and mounted onto a working platform. The water was pumped out, the boat then completely restored and put into service as an excursion boat, from Wyong to Toukley. The boat, named the “Lady Laurel” in honour of Robert’s daughter, Laurel Myra Brownlee, became a popular adventure among tourists and holiday makers. It had a capacity of forty passengers who each paid two shillings for the cruise.
During the war years 1939-1945, Robert served with the naval auxiliary patrol and was stationed at Gosford. The main function was to patrol the Hawkesbury River and coast for enemy submarines. Towards the end of the war the “Bunyip” had been measured up to carry depth charges. It was found that she was just fast enough to drop the charges and was being fitted out when the war finally came to an end.
Robert William Brownlee was elected as a councillor for the first Wyong Shire Council on 6 December 1947. The Chambers were officially opened on 4 February 1948 by the Minister for Local Government, Mr. J.J. Cahill. The First Council elected included Cr. A.L. Taylor (President), Crs. R.W. Brownlee, W. Barrett, T.W. Pearce, V. Church, G.F. Poole and A.G. Watkins; J. Golding, Shire Clerk; J.S. Gowans, Shire Engineer; H.P. Walker, Chief Health Officer.
Members of the first Provincial Council, formed on 20 December 1946, who performed much of the spade work of the new Council were Councillors R. Brownlee, Rev. F. Ballance, W. Barrett, E.P. Braithwaite, J. Cable, A. McElhone, J. W. Seargent, A.L. Taylor and T. Pearce.
Robert Brownlee took over as Shire President in 1949; he remained as President until 1952 and Councillor until 5 December 1953.
Bill Kirkness, friend of Robert William Brownlee, owned a sawmill at Gosford and about 1945 had a yacht built on Brisbane Water at Gosford at an inappreciable cost. Named the “John A. Setrey” in honour of the man who built her, the yacht was a twin masted forty five footer, beautifully constructed from beech, supplied from Brownlee's mill at Ourimbah.
In 1946 Bill Kirkness, Robert Brownlee and two other men sailed the yacht to Sydney, then with Robert as skipper. they tagged along in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. It was said to have been one of the roughest crossings up to that time and although they were not registered competitors, they beat many of the yachts across the line at Hobart. Of course, when the going got rough, they started up the big diesel engines, but they did complete the journey. One of the other men in the crew was an aircraft navigator, so he was in charge of navigation. Previously, Robert had gained experience with dead reckoning and on the return trip they pulled into Eden to drop off their navigator, which gave Robert the opportunity to set the course for Brisbane Waters.
Bob’s wife, Myra, and Robert Kevin Brownlee, had flown to Hobart to meet the “John A. Setry” but had to wait six days for the yacht to arrive.
Over the years Robert played various sports, at school it was football, then tennis and in later years he was a very keen golfer. He also played bowls for a while. Myra too was a keen golfer and bowler; she also had an eye for art and has painted some excellent oil paintings.
Robert William Brownlee died at the age of 79 years on 2 July 1984. He was cremated at Palmdale. N.S. W. on 5 July. 1984.