John Brewer

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Hanson Photo, John Brewer [detail] from Pioneers of the Ovens &​ Townsmen of Beechworth, 1899. State Library of Victoria Collection.


John Brewer was born on 17 August 1832 [1] at St Minver,Cornwall, England.[2] He was the son of John Brewer and Mary Randall.[3]

In 1849 John Brewer migrated to Australia on the Wellington,[4] and he worked transporting cattle and sheep to New Zealand. He became a miner after gold was discovered in Victoria.[5]

Marrying Charlotte Warren in 1854 St Mark's Church, Malvern, Victoria, the couple at nine children. [6]

John Brewer died on 13 August 1915 and is buried in Beechworth Cemetery, aged 82.[7]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

John Brewer was mining for gold at Ballarat in 1854, and was present at the storming of the Eureka Stockade on 03 December 1854. [8]

Post 1854 Experiences

Brewer moved to the Ovens district where he started a dairy business at Wooragee. [9]

John Brewer was a member of the jury at the trial of Ellen Kelly, the mother of notorious bushranger Ned Kelly. [10]


The Children of John and Charlotte Brewer were:

1. John David Brewer (1863–1938)[11]

2. Richard Brewer

3. William Brewer

4. Mrs Hitchems

5. Elunore Brewer

6. Mrs Kennedy

7. Cecelia Brewer (B. 1866, Beechworth. M. James William Denier. D. 1950) (1863–1938)[12]

8. Charlotte Grace Bosence Brewer (B. 1870, Beechworth. M. Thomas Asser White. D. 1948)(1863–1938)[13]

9. Mrs Nichol


Obituary. MR. JOHN BREWER. The ranks of the old pioneers of this district have been further depleted since our last issue, and it is our sorrowful duty to record the passing away of two highly respected residents who have been associated with the town for over half a century. The first to pass to that bourne from which no traveller returned was Mr. John Brewer, of Wooragee, who died after an illness extending over several months at Nurse Edwards' private hospital at midnight on Friday last. The deceased gentleman was a native of Cornwall, and in 1849 came to Australia, where he was engaged in taking cattle and sheep from this contintent to New Zealand in a sailing vessel. On the discovery of gold in Australia Mr. Brewer relinquished the sea-faring life, and entered on the quest for gold. He was at Ballarat in the early days, and was on the field at the time of the Eureka riots. :The Ovens gold field subsequently claimed attention, and hither Mr. Brewer wended his way, and for a time was engaged in mining. He afterwards commenced a dairy on the Wooragee road about three miles from Beechworth. By hard work he prospered, and later he bought some valuable properties at Wooragee, where he afterwards went to reside. Although well advanced in years, it was his practice until recently to personally deliver milk to his customers, and he was remarkable for his punctuality. He always enjoyed good health until recently three months ago, when he was compelled to come to Beechworth for medical treatment, and although for a time his health improved the inevitable end came on Saturday night last, and Mr. Brewer passed peacefully away within a few days of being 83 years of age. As a matter of fact, he would have celebrated his 83rd birthday yesterday (Tuesday).
The late Mr. Brewer was married at. St Mark's Church, Malvern, 61 years ago to a sister of the late Mr. Richard Warren and last year he and his wife celebrated the diamond jublee of their wedding. In addition to his widow, a grown-ups family of nine sons and daughters, all highly respected, is left. The sons are Messrs. John (Victorian. Railways), Richard (Malvern) and William (Wooragee); and the daughters, Mrs. Hitchens, (Malvern), Miss Elunore Brewer (Wooragee) Mrs. Kennedy (Geelong); `Mrs. J. W. Denier (Hastings), Mrs White (Malvern) and Mrs. Nicholl (Sydney). The funeral took place Sunday afternoon when the remains were followed to Beechworth Cemetery by a large concourse of friends. The burial service was conducted by the Venerable Archdeacon Potter and Mr. W. J. Edwards carried out the mortuary arrangements.[14]

DEATHS AT WOORAGEE. - In the space of 24 hours three very old and highly respected Wooragee residents passed away this week. ... Mrs. Charlotte Brewer, relict of the late John Brewer, dairyman, died on Friday aged 83 years and is to be buried at Beechworth this Saturday, afternoon. ... [15]

In the News

Bushfires in the Beechworth district assumed large and disastrous proportions On Saturday. A terrific North wind drove the flames onward at great speed, and despite the fact that hundreds of men did their utmost to combat the flames, some thirty homes were destroyed, and three lives were lost, while several persons had narrow escapes. A lad named Wm. Elliott was the first victim. He went out to a paddock two or three miles from home at Wooragee to let cattle out, and nothing further was seen of him till Sunday morning, when his charred body was found alongside the charred remains of a bullock. Two homestead leases, these of John Brewer and David Murray, have been totally destroyed, and the loss in grass, cattle and sheep has been very great. In the afternoon the gale veered round to the West, bringing with it flames from the direction of Everton, and travelling at the rate of 15 miles an hour. [16]

DIAMOND WEDDING. - Mr. and Mrs. John Brewer, of Wooragee, have celebrated the diamond jubilee of their wedding. Mr. Brewer, who was the son of Captain John Brewer, ship-owner, of Padstow, Cornwall, arrived in Adelaide early in 1850 by the ship Wellington, being fourth officer of that vessel. He went to the goldfields in Bendigo in 1851, and three years later was married to Charlotte Warren in St. Mark's Church, Fitzroy. They settled in Beechworth in 1855, and have resided here since. Nine children born of the marriage are all still alive, and there are 21 grandchildren. [17]

WILLS AND ESTATES.- ... John Brewer, of Wooragee, farmer, who died on August 13, left, by a will dated January 24, 1913, real estate valued at £3875, and personal estate valued at £313, to his widow and children. [18]

See also

Beechworth Cemetery

Further Reading

Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


  1. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 18 August 1915.
  2. ', accessed 27 April 2022.
  3. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  4. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 4 November 1914.
  5. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 18 August 1915.
  6. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  7. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 18 August 1915.
  8. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  9. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  10. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  11. ', accessed 27 April 2022.
  12. ', accessed 27 April 2022.
  13. ', accessed 27 April 2022.
  14. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 18 August 1915.
  15. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 12 October 1918.
  16. North Queensland Register, 1 January 1900.
  17. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 4 November 1914.
  18. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 16 October 1915.

External links