Seeking the lost Browne boys: Spiritualism and grief

The spiritualist movement of the late 19th century believed life and death included an in-between realm where spirits were able to exist and communicate with the living. In the case of the missing Browne brothers, their family believed the brother’s spirits could provide some startlingly detailed information about their deaths. Images: National Library of Australia.

The spiritualist movement of the late 19th century believed life and death included an in between realm where spirits were able to exist and communicate with the living. In the case of the missing Browne brothers, their family believed the brother’s spirits could provide some startlingly detailed information about their deaths. Images: National Library of Australia.

Communing with the dead

In tasteful parlour rooms across the world, the mood was set. Accompanied by soft lighting and gentle music, people quietly gathered, waiting not for romance but in the hope of receiving messages from the dead. The appearance of a well-known historical figure would cause a stir but generally, it was messages from loved ones who had passed on which audiences waited breathlessly for.

The spiritualist movement of the late 19th century believed life and death included an in between realm where spirits were able to exist and communicate with the living. In the case of the missing Browne brothers, their family believed the brother’s spirits could provide some startlingly detailed information about their deaths.

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Frank Beaurepaire: Shark Rescue Hero

Photograph of Albert Park State School champions, including Frank Beaurepaire. ANMS1031[081] ANMM Collection Gift from Michael Williams

Photograph of Albert Park State School champions, including Frank Beaurepaire. c 1902 ANMS1031[081] ANMM Collection Gift from Michael Williams

The young school boy standing at the back left of this image would one day grow to be Sir Francis Beaurepaire; Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Olympian, politician and successful rubber goods manufacturer. However in a life that was packed with civic achievements and sporting glory, it was Beaurepaire’s role in a daring shark rescue in 1922 that, for a time, propelled him into the spotlight and captured the public’s imagination. Continue reading