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Brown, George Anthony (c. 1846–1907)

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This entry is from People Australia

George Anthony Brown (c.1846-1907) Christian Socialist preacher, debater and writer 

Birth: about 1846. Death: 5 October 1907 at Lincoln, England. Religion: Baptist and Christian Socialist

  • Began his Baptist ministry in 1866 without formal training. Adopted unorthodox ideas on the soul’s immortality, notably the doctrine of Conditionalism, from H. L. Hastings while visiting the United States of America. Returned to England in 1877 and became minister at Mint Lane chapel, Lincoln, and editor of The Bible Standard. Was a leading figure in calling the Conditionalist conference of 1878 and forming the Conditional Immortality Association that year.
  • Resigned as pastor at Mint Lane chapel for health reasons and sailed to Auckland, New Zealand in 1879. Founded the Church of Auckland in 1880.
  • Beginning in January 1881 he became editor of a monthly journal, The Bible Standard [New Zealand]. In 1884 he resigned as editor and from the church, and sailed for the USA, where he is known to have visited the Kingdom of Heaven commune at Walla Walla, a breakaway from Mormonism, in Washington State.
  • By April 1885 Brown had arrived in Victoria, where he met with the first party of Seventh-day Adventist missionaries. In Collingwood he also became involved in the dairy industry, as manager of the Gippsland Dairy Company from 1886 to 1890.
  • Moving to Melbourne he delivered a series of lectures on various topics. In the early 1890s, a leading activist in the Christian Socialistic Association, he published the monthly Christian Socialist, proclaiming that Christ was ‘the greatest socialist that ever lived.
  • In March 1890 Brown’s association founded a ‘Christian settlement’ near Drouin in West Gippsland. The community was abandoned, however, within two years. Thereafter, he concentrated on missionary work in Melbourne, publishing a new monthly journal, The Word of Life and Prophetic Times, from September 1893 to November 1894.
  • Brown returned to England in 1905, participated in the Glasgow Conditionalist conference of 1906 and resumed journal editing.
  • He died after falling unconscious while preaching in Mint Lane chapel. Cause of death locomotor ataxy, from which he had suffered for three years. His death was registered by F. Brown, daughter, of 70 Richmond Road, Lincoln.
  • His Christian Mission in Melbourne and the Church of Auckland survived long after his death.

Sources
Verity Burgmann, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885-1905 (Sydney, 1985); G. Featherstone, ‘Co-Workers with Christ: George A. Brown and Christian Socialism in Victoria 1885-1894’, Victorian Historical Journal, vol 77, no. 1, 2006, pp 16-33; Leroy Edwin Froom, The Conditionalist Faith of our Fathers, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C., 1965).

Citation details

'Brown, George Anthony (c. 1846–1907)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://labouraustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/brown-george-anthony-33084/text41252, accessed 29 January 2023.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Birth

c. 1846

Death

5 October, 1907 (aged ~ 61)
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England

Cause of Death

locomotor ataxia

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence
Occupation