Skip to main content
Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.


BROWN, Helen Macmillan



A new biography of Brown, John Macmillan appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

On 9 December 1886, at Lichfield Street, Christchurch, Brown married Helen Connon (1860–1903), who was herself a notable personality in the academic life of Canterbury. She was born in 1860 in Melbourne, the eldest daughter of George Connon, a contractor, and Helen néée Hart. Her parents brought her to New Zealand at an early age and her mother, recognising Helen's obvious ability, encouraged her in every way. Eventually she attended Canterbury University College where, in 1880, she gained her B.A. She thus became the second woman to graduate from a British university – the first being her friend and later colleague Kate Evansne Edger. In the following year she gained an M.A., with firstclass honours in English and Latin. From 1882 to 1894 she was Principal of Christchurch Girls' High School, where her modern curricula and teaching methods made the school widely known. After her retirement in 1894 she visited Europe three times with her husband. Helen Macmillan Brown died on 22 February 1903 at Rotorua. Her name has since been perpetuated in Helen Connon Hall, a hall of residence for women students at Canterbury University, and in the Helen Macmillan Brown Bursaries.


  • Short History of Canterbury College, Hight, J. and Candy, A. M. F. (1927)
  • The University of New Zealand, Beaglehole, J. C. (1937)
  • Life of Helen Macmillan Brown, Grossman, E. S. (1905).


McLintock, Alexander Hare