Sunday, July 22, 2012


Ethel Page, a young white woman, was part of the Aboriginal community long before she met Jimmy Governor.
She spent her first eight years in the Kempsey district on the NSW North Coast where there was, and still is, a large Aboriginal population.
She may have met her future husband, Frank Brown, there.
The mother of Francis "Frank" Joseph Brown had died in 1883, aged 39, when he was 6.
His next eldest brother, John, was 9 and the one after him, Richard, 11.
Their father, Thomas Brown, was about 46.
They appear to have had relatives in the Kempsey area and Frank and his brothers may have been sent to stay with them.
When Ethel's family left the district in 1890, he would have been 13.
Ethel Page was born at Gladstone, a town in the area, on 4 February 1882.
At the time her parents were living at Summer Island on the west bank of the Macleay River.
When they married, on 30 April 1881, they were living on the other side of the river at Kinchela Creek.
Alternatively, Ethel and Frank may have met in Gulgong.
Frank Brown's father had grown up near Aruluen, another goldfield, so he may have gone to Gulgong in connection with gold.
Another possibility is that they met in the Wollongong district where Ethel and her parents appear to have moved seeking anonimity after Jimmy Governor was hanged.
Frank Joseph Brown renounced his Catholic faith when he married Ethel Governor in St Michael's Church of England at Wollongong on 23 November 1901.
As recently as 60 years ago, Catholics were not allowed to even attend weddings at churches other that Catholic.
Marrying outside the Catholic Church would have meant automatic excommunication.