Marcus Brownrigg


St John's church Launceston the year before Brownrigg became Rector (AOT, PH30/1/18)

Marcus Blake Brownrigg (18351890), Cambridge-educated polymath, came to Australia in 1852 and was ordained in 1860. Arriving in Tasmania in 1867, he built a new church at Ross in his year there, lectured at the Mechanics' Institute on atmospheric phenomena, and later tried to establish the 'true longitude' of Launceston, where he became rector at St John's in 1868. He practised and studied homeopathy, astronomy and navigation, and became a competent painter and a capable musician. His descriptions of Aboriginal missionary voyages to the Bass Strait islands, often in small ships of his own construction, provide significant accounts of life in the Furneaux Islands, profits from his published writings supporting education projects there. He was made canon of St David's Cathedral, Hobart, in 1878, and returned to Sydney in 1889.

Further reading: ADB 3; M Brownrigg, The cruise of the Freak, Launceston, [1872]; M Brownrigg, Mission to the islands, Hobart, 1987.

Jeff Brownrigg