Reg Wingfield Spence Brown did his growing up in a gracious, well-presented Queenslander situated on Stanley Terrace, Taringa in Brisbane. Sadly, his mother, Irish-born Margaret, and his father, Hugh, suffered the heartbreaking loss of 3 little boys, probably from typhoid or diphtheria. This left only Reg and his three older sisters; two of whom never married but remained secure in the knowledge they could always rely on their brother’s support.
|Reg - police-court photo published in the Truth: Feb 9, 1947|
Reg inherited his Irish grandfather’s love of timber. He was renowned for the beautiful furniture he crafted with his grandfather’s carpentry tools. Some pieces, decorated with intricate carving, have been handed down through the family.
Reg tried to join his mates to fight for his country during WWI but was rejected due to a troublesome inguinal hernia. He suffered from this condition his whole life and eventually resorted to wearing an uncomfortable support truss. He did, however, willingly volunteer his services as an air raid warden during WWII.
Reg married Eva, the dark-haired daughter of Richard and Mary Ann Cocks (nee Winterford), owners of Cocks & Sons grocery store on Sherwood Road, Toowong.
at the family home in St Lucia
|Mary Ann 'Annie' Cocks (nee Winterford)|
image courtesy Valerie Herbertson (nee Brown)
Mary Ann’s parents built the Regatta Hotel on Coronation Drive in Toowong and to this day the Winterford name remains synonymous with this iconic watering hole.
|Regatta Hotel - image courtesy State Library of Queensland|
Reg and Eva raised their children Melva, Ian and Valerie in the family home on Ryan's Road, in riverside St Lucia. Reg was a family man, first and foremost, but he also possessed a strong sense of community. Various charitable organisations would benefit from his accountancy skills and every Christmas morning the Brown family visited the Montrose Childrens’ Home to join in the celebrations. Reg was a Freemason with Toowong Lodge No. 59 and was involved with the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australasia (PAFSOA) on Moggill Road.
|Melva, Ian and baby Valerie|
|Ian, Melva and Valerie|
Reg Brown is remembered by his daughter, Valerie, as a gentle father. Ian, his son, describes him as loving and protective. They believe he was a wonderful husband, they know he was an excellent provider and it was obvious to all, he was overjoyed at becoming a grandfather. But above all, Reg is remembered as the man who sat at the dining room table most evenings, head bent, shade low on his forehead, working with figures written up by hand in large leather bound ledgers.
This was until 11 January, 1947 when life took an ill-fated turn.
The final devastating chapter of Reg Brown’s life has been brought to light in the book Lingering Doubts.