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Andrew Brown was the first European settler of the Lithgow Valley [1] and was instrumental in the founding of the township of Lithgow as well as a number of Presbyterian educational institutions.

Early life

Andrew Brown was born in Methven, Perth and Kinross, Scotland. In the period between 1824 and 1826 Brown acquired land at Brownfels, effectively creating the first European settlement in the Lithgow Valley [2]. He then acquired 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land in the valley, around Cooerwull Brook (now known in Lithgow as Farmer's Creek). The property originally used for grazing, became known as Cooerwull after the small blue flowers which grow in the area. A suburb in Lithgow still retains the name.

Development of Lithgow

The next phase of life was replete with a number of changes to his property which fostered Lithgow's economic development. In 1837 Brown established a water driven flour mill on Cooerwull Brook to process the wheat grown both on his own property and on other properties in the Lithgow Valley. In the 1860s another major achievement of Brown's life occurred, being the first person to exploit Lithgow's extensive coal reserves using it to power his flour and later tweed mill. Coal was later to become and still currently is one of Lithgow's major exports, although the road system of the time did not permit this coal to be exported east to Sydney [3].

Philanthropy

As well as being an enterprising industialist, Brown is also remembered as being a major contributor to the social fabric of the Presbyterian community of Lithgow and even New South Wales. In 1851 he founded the Cooerwull Academy, a Presbyterian boarding school for boys, and also built the Metheven church and the current Brownfels Presbyterian church, as a school house for the children of itinerant rail workers in the area [4].

He was also a leading force in the creation of St Andrew's College at the University of Sydney[5].

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