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James Brown

ID: 149c



Is / are:


Age group:

55 plus


Retired Farmer Builder

Preferred locations:

All Australia (full regions list)

Reply rating:

5 out of 5

More information about this house sitter

We are married and have 4 children 21 to 27 year old.
With my first wife and I pioneered Waigani a 4000 acre new land farm at West Dandaragan in WA 1968. It was a bush block, Black Butt, Black Boy gravel and sand country. Very hard years no money I went shearing 10 years to provide income to develop farm.
We were leading conservationists in the area at the time as we left all the viable trees in a Park Land clearing system. We also fenced off large areas of the natural bush.
After setting up a piggery in the first year we hand cleared our first paddock and purchased 127 first cross Border Lesister ewes and 4 poll Dorset rams. Every year we developed another paddock and by year 16 we ran 4500 sheep with a focus on fat lambs 1st cross border leister ewes with Poll Dorset rams. We were consistent winners of lamb carcass competitions. We also had a flock of merinos. We cropped around 1000 acres barley and lupins mainly, in fact we were one of the first lupin growers in Australia. My first wife died in 1984 from cancer and I battled on for a few years whilst teaching myself to fly a gyrocopter. I became the first powered pilot in WA. I sold the farm and went on to set up Challenge Rotorcraft WA manufacturing gyrocopters for agricultural uses. Mustering, spraying, tree conservation, prospecting, coastal surveillance were a few of the uses. I also ran the Challenge Flying School to teach my customers to fly. I became Australian CFI (Chief Flying Instructor) for the type. We sold 36 aircraft and taught some 65 pilots to fly, we also pioneered the large diameter rotors which we sold locally and internationally.During that time I meant Mary Teresa Burt who was working as a solicitor for the Aboriginal Black Deaths in Custody Royal Commission. By then I had set up a voluntary organization called Youth Australia assisting mainly unemployed WA Graduates to set up new businesses or find employment. This was in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there was high youth unemployment. I also set up a recycling company Diskbank run by young people. During my time at Youth Australia we helped some 800 young people to start a new business or find employment. I enjoyed wide corporate support with people like Janet Homes a’ Court among my closest supporters. Youth Australia became well known and attracted several front page news through its initiatives like “Youth Business Incubator” “The One Page CV Program” and “DiskBank”. All these programs were self-funding.
Mary and I married in and for a while lived in Perth and had two boys Nicholas and Christopher then we moved to Canberra and had two girls Isabel and Madeleine. In 2000 we all went to do volunteer work in Papua New Guinea at a place called Aitape. Our children were 18 months to 4 years old. We discovered later that Aitape was regarded as the malaria capital of the world! I was Diocesan Manager or a sort of a general manager and part of my many duties was a building program in jungle areas building schools and teachers houses from local manufactured materials. Mary didn’t practice law in Aitape but was very involved with the local community and much loved. She was the first white woman to be part of a sing sing group. The local women actually partitioned the Bishop in an attempt to get her to stay. One of my jobs was to localize the diocese so most of our friends were local people. I also set up a timber export operation which was really interesting.
We moved to Yass eventually and Mary worked for the Federal Government and our kids attended the local catholic school. I got involved in building and we moved and renovated two houses eventually we purchased the old house we have just sold and subdivided the land. The kids and I build two new houses with Mary supplying the capital through her wage. In 2007 we embarked on a 6 month camping holiday with our four children up through the centre and home via the west and south coasts. More recently we worked as volunteers at Kalumburu Mission in the far north of WA.

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