At Brown’s 90th birthday celebration he received congratulations from a large number of relatives and friends. He was described as hale and hearty, had been closely associated with the Methodist Church, Geelong, from the earliest days. He was an enthusiast in Sunday school worker, and was specially gifted in addressing scholars, his addresses being characterised by their originality and effectiveness. He had recently retired from active church and Sunday school work and with his wife, who was also a teacher in the school, are both keen to see the work they loved carried on by a younger generation.
Brown was the superintendent of the Noble Street Sunday School for many years where he was always listened to attentively. He noticed that both teachers and children got into the bad habit of coming late. He announced that each Sunday morning he would tell an interesting story for five minutes before the opening. Very few came late after that.
After Brown’s death, in October 1906, the Geelong Advertiser printed a letter which had appeared in a Nottingham newspaper years prior:
A PLEASANT SURPRISE TO NOTTINGHAM TRADESMEN
HONORABLE CONDUCT OF AN OLD TOWNSMAN
Some people travel a long distance at times, in search of health or pleasure, or to make money; but it is a rare thing for a man to travel sixteen thousand miles to pay old debts. During the last few days, however, several tradesmen in this town have been quite unexpectedly visited by Mr Nathaniel Brown, a former resident in Nottingham, with this object in view.
Mr Brown, who was a stonemason and has been living in Australia since 1854, was (through no fault of his own, but owing to some queer treatment he received in carrying out contracts he had in hand) to ask his friends to accept a composition, as he was not able to pay them the full amount of their claims.
Knowing him to be a very conscientious and honourable man, this was readily done, and a ‘’ ‘deed of release’ signed.
Since that time it has been the ambition of Mr Brown’s life to pay the balance of those debts, and after 37 years of toil in Australia, he has had the pleasure of seeing the day arrive when he is able to carry this desire into effect. He has come over to our town, and, with the assistance of his early friend, Mr EH Gordon, is looking up every one of his old creditors, or their representatives and presenting each with a cheque to cover his old obligations. Mr Brown is of a very modest and retiring disposition, and for himself is content with doing what he looks upon as a duty; but such a rare example of sterling principle ought not to pass without a word of praise, at least one of the recipients of a cancelled and long forgotten debt thinks so, and has communicated this narrative.
Mr Brown is well remembered by some old friends at Halifax-place Wesleyan Chapel, where he worshipped and worked, and was highly respected before he left for the Antipodes.
He was one of the contractors for the Geelong Town Hall. He had run his business, employing many apprentices, at a stone yard opposite the Geelong Post Office. His name is on many monuments which are distributed throughout Geelong and the Western District.
The Mount Duneed Cemetery has many fine examples of his work.
Brien, Henry and Deborah
Dow, Robert and Agnes
Hillard, George and Dorothy
Keith, Andrew and Euphemia
Mackenzie, Margaret and John
Preston, Robert, Jeannie and Isabella Agnes
Williams, Joseph and Hannah
Willson, William Hodgkin Grimley
The Eastern Cemetery has over three hundred of his monuments.