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Justin McCarty Browne (1830–1889)

Suddenly, but to all appearance peacefully, Mr. Justin McCarty Browne passed away to his long rest, at his residence, Davey Street yesterday. For some time past the deceased gentleman, had been in a weak state of health, and although up to the time he retired to rest last Saturday evening he seemed to be in his usual good spirits, his death was not a surprise to his medical adviser, Dr. Harvey, under whose care he had been. Upon visiting his room early yesterday morning Mrs. Browne found him dead in his bed, and after Dr. Harvey, who was at once sent for had seen him, he gave his opinion that death had taken place about midnight, the cause being weak action of the heart, technically termed syncope. All Saturday morning he was transacting business as usual, and he spent the afternoon with his brother-in-law, Sir Lambert Dobson, walking about the grounds around His Honor's residence chatting over things past, present, and future. The suddeness of his death rendered communication with the coroner necessary, but after hearing from Dr. Harvey what the state of Mr. Browne's health had been, and seeing the doctor's certificate, Mr. Belstead considered, an inquest was not needed. By his death Hobart loses one of its best known and highly respected men, his family a kind husband and father, his friends one who was always sincere, always faithful; and many a family of children owed much to him for the care and diligence with which he administered the trusts placed in his hands. No man could have been more exact in business, and no matter how small or how large the transaction he was always the same careful, painstaking and just man. He was never a very successful man in his own business, but in his capacity as trustee for several large private estates, Foster's, Butler's, and others; as a director of some of our principal public companies and manager of one, he was a man whose equal it would have been difficult to find, and whose place it will indeed be difficult to fill. Born in Launceston in August in 1830, he was thus at the time of his death barely 59 years of age, though many would have taken him to be a much older man. His father was the late deeply regretted Archdeacon Browne, of Launceston, and his mother, a daughter of the late Mr. Richard Willis, of Wanstead, Campbell Town, member of the old Legislative Council of Tasmania. The subject of this notice was educated in Launceston, but commenced his career in Hobart as a clerk in the firm of Kerr, Bogle and Co., merchants. At the time, when the gold diggings in California were attracting men from all parts of the world, Mr. Browne went there to try his fortunes, and after spending some years on the Pacific Slope, he returned to Tasmania. Soon after his return he became a member of the firm of Patterson and Browne succeeding Kerr, Bogle, and Co, but Mr. Patterson went to Victoria some time afterwards, and Mr. Browne then carried on business under the style of Justin Browne and Co. For years past his firm has been best known in connection with the P. and O. Steam Navigation Co.'s agency, and no better agent ever represented the P. and O. line anywhere. Mr. Browne was also manager of the Perpetual Trustees, Executors, and Agency Co., an office, he was peculiarly fitted for, and under him the company, though but a young one has made considerable progress. He was Consular-Agent for France, a director of the T.S.N. Co. and Hobart Gas Co.; at one time Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, and a Warden of the Hobart Marine Board; a Lands Title Commissioner, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Tasmania in March, 1867, and a member of the Council of the Society in the following year. He was also a Trustee of the Tasmanian Museum and Botanical Gardens, member of the Executive Committee of the Hobart Benevolent Society, and other kindred societies. In 1867, he married the second daughter of the Rev. R. D. Poulett-Harris, by whom he has a family of four daughters, the eldest, Miss. Caroline Tynte Browne, who was senior lady A A. Degree in 1886, having married in April last Mr Thomas Collins Russell, of Melbourne. Lady Dobson, wife of His Honor the Chief Justice, is a sister of the deceased; Mrs Birnie, of Williamstown, Victoria, is another, and he had another sister living with his stepmother in England. One of his brothers, the Rev. W. H. Browne, was specially selected by the Archbishop of Canterbury and sent as a missionary to Urmi, in Persia; another, Mr. Montagu Browne, is accountant to the Van Diemen's Land Co. at Emu Bay; and another, Mr. Harry Tilly Browne, is a civil engineer in America. During his life-time he has been a most diligent collector of papers and books connected with the history of Tasmania, and as all who have had anything to do with the production of The Mercury can testify a most scrutinising and critical reader of every column. As a result of his researches he was in possession of probably the most complete collection of old files of Tasmanian Gazettes and newspapers, books, pamphlets, papers, coins, and tokens ever gathered together, and we believe it was his intention to bequeath them to one of our public institutions. Mr. Browne inherited an estate in Ireland, Ballinvoher, Castle Town Roche, County Cork, which has been in the possession of the family for upwards of two centuries, but the troublous times which have been experienced in Ireland for the last few years seriously interfered with the revenues he derived from it.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Browne, Justin McCarty (1830–1889)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


30 August, 1830
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia


21 July, 1889 (aged 58)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

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Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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