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National Trust of South Australia


Brown, John Stacy (1828-1882)

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1828
Place of birth Devonshire, England
Date of arrival 1841
Principal occupation Farmer
Date of death 1882
Place of decease Springbrook Farm, McLaren Vale (Willunga)

John Stacy Brown was born 18 February 1828. He was the oldest son of John Brown (1843-1881) and Jane Smyth Stacy, who married on 14 May 1827 and lived at Exmouth in Devonshire, England. He arrived in SA in November 1841 on the ship Orissa, together with his parents and five siblings -Thomas Stacy (b. 1829), Sarah Stacy (b. 1831), Robert Henry Stacy (b. 1833), James Stacy (b. 1835), and Samuel Stacy (b. 1839).

John Stacy Brown’s father was a farmer and the family initially settled on a property called Exmouth Farm between Willunga and Meadows. In 1843 they had 7 acres of wheat, 4 acres of barley, a ¼ acre garden, 400 sheep, 16 cattle and 1 pig. By about 1850 the Brown family had moved to more productive land at Monapilla on the top of the Range halfway between McLaren Vale and Willunga.

John Stacy Brown married cousin Sarah Jane Stacy at McLaren Vale in 1854 and the newlyweds settled on their farm Springbrook, on Section 706 on Edwards Road, so named because of a small perpetual creek on the property. Sarah Jane had arrived in SA with her parents James Smyth Stacy and Elizabeth in the Anna Maria in 1849 [Note 1]. Prior to her marriage she lived with relatives on the Stacy family farm Waybrook on Edwards Rd.

John Stacy and Sarah Jane Brown had ten children:

1. Mary Jane, born 1855, married Robert Moore.

2. Jessie, born 1856, married Alfred Mercer.

3. Emily Langford, born 1858, married James Frederick Scrymgour.

4. Alice Sophia, born 1860, died 1926.

5. Samuel Stacy, born 1862, married Elizabeth Bigg.

6. Elizabeth Mary, born 1864, married Robert Moore.

7. Florence, born 1866, died 1867.

8. John Stacy, born 1868, married Martha Jane Hodge.

9. Florence, born 1870, married Arthur Evans.

10. Walter Henry, born 1873, married Alice Emily Strout.

John Stacy Brown and his wife Sarah Jane were farmers who were well known throughout the Willunga and McLaren Vale district. They continued the Brown family’s involvement with the newly formed Congregational Chapel at McLaren Vale, built in 1844. On May 15th 1860, shortly before the laying of the foundation stone for the second larger Church, John Stacy Brown was elected as a Trustee of the Church, along with Charles and George Manning, Thomas Colton and Henry Scotcher, among others.

John Stacy Brown was a supporter of Tsong Gyaiou, the private school in McLaren Vale founded by Mary Ann Aldersey. When she died in 1868, he was one of the named dignitaries who followed her coffin to its final resting place in the Congregational Cemetery. His youngest daughter Florence was a weekly boarder at Tsong Gyiaou during the 1880s. (His son John Stacy Brown (Junior) later bought the school property and lived there for a few years in the early 1900s).

John Stacy Brown died on 18th November 1882, at his home at Springbrook Farm, McLaren Vale, aged 54 years. He was buried in the McLaren Vale Congregational cemetery, as were his parents before him.

Sarah Jane Brown continued to live on the Springbrook property which was farmed jointly by her three sons. She died at home on 9 May 1906, aged 72 years. She too was buried in the McLaren Vale Congregational cemetery.

Springbrook Farm was then run by John and Sarah’s son Walter Henry Brown and his wife Alice who had married in 1904. Then followed her grand-daughter Rita and her husband Frank Bald until the mid-1980s. The Cawte family purchased Springbrook in the late 1980s.


  • Note 1: from page 40 in Stacey below but not able to be verified in SA shipping records
  • SA Land Returns 1843
  • Albert E Stacy Colonial Cameos and Genetic Gambles 1986 (FH/Brown at Willunga Courthouse)
  • Notes by Ruth Baxendale Willunga Courthouse folder 40-41
  • Ira Nesdale The Third Bridge: Tsong Gyiaou 1980.
John Stacy Brown (1828-1882)
John Stacy Brown (1828-1882)
Spring Brook, Lot 706 Edwards Rd McLaren Vale, 1898
Spring Brook, Lot 706 Edwards Rd McLaren Vale, 1898
Sarah Jane Brown and six of her children, c 1885
Sarah Jane Brown and six of her children, c 1885
"Spring Brook", Section 706 Edwards Rd. McLaren Vale
"Spring Brook", Section 706 Edwards Rd. McLaren Vale
Brown headstone, Congregational cemetery McLaren Vale, 2020
Brown headstone, Congregational cemetery McLaren Vale, 2020

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