Generation Green: Angel & Tiger Brown, 18
News10 March 2021
Angel & Tiger Brown, 18: Twin sisters and students. Angel studies International Relations, Tiger studies Interior Design.
We’re related on our paternal grandfather’s side to the Tierneys, Quinns and Spencers from Galway. We’re related to the O’Donahues and Suttons from County Cork on our ‘nonna’s’ side.
Remembering Those Who Came Before
We grew up hearing my dad and grandparents pass on tales of our great-grandparents’ experiences in the home country, Ireland. Celebrating our ancestry on Saint Patrick's Day was a big part of their childhood, so it’s almost contagious.
Ireland for us has always meant personal stories of family - as well as Irish history.
Our grandfather, John Brown, has a funny, big personality that lights up the room and seems so Irish. He was Australia’s Minister For Sport and Tourism in the ‘70s and ‘80s and always fought for the underdog. Later in life, he helped raise the funding to build Sydney’s Irish Famine Memorial, which honours the destitute and orphaned young Irish women who came to the Australian colonies during the years of the Great Irish Famine (1848 to 1850), in the very Barracks where they were housed.
It’s so moving to acknowledge the hardships that these Irish girls went through - and so sad to hear that they were sent out here on a journey to Australia at such a young age, away from everything they knew. The memorial is especially moving as we are young girls just like they were, yet with such a free life and so in charge of our own future. Today, girls our age have so many options and can enter any professional field.
Our family has always wanted us to understand morals, world affairs and the history that we all come from, which is why I am studying a social degree at uni; that is what my International Relations course is all about.
Our grandad, a proud Irish-Australian, has been telling us about our Irish past all our lives. Our dad loves showing us videos of Gaelic football - as kids we loved watching the players slide around in the mud. Because we haven’t experienced Ireland first hand yet ourselves, all the clichés seem true to us. Even from Australia you can tell that Irish people are so joyful and cheeky though. My grandfather John has those qualities: he actually came up with the famous Paul Hogan ad for Australia, telling the world to, “throw a shrimp on the barbie”. It’s considered one of the most famous ads in the word, which we think is so cool.
I actually remember picking potatoes in the veggie patch in our garden as a kid. Our father started explaining how people in previous centuries once subsisted on crops and if they failed the family didn’t eat; he taught us about Ireland’s Great Famine.
We come from a big, loud, raucous family and are lucky enough to have had a farm upbringing. We were raised on the Hawkesbury River in Windsor, an hour north of Sydney. Every summer, from eight in the morning till the sun went down, we’d jump from hay bale to hay bale, play on the rope swing, swim in the river and tend our menagerie of animals. The roosters and peacocks woke everyone up each morning at 5 o’clock; there were chickens, horses, guinea fowl. We even named our own little pigs. There were always big farmhouse gatherings of friends and family, eating food that we had grown at home. When we Browns come together there’s lots of noise, stories and fun.
Our farm is at the end of a 10km back road, so as farm kids we were really creative about play. You create your own fun. We had thirty pigs and would nurse the babies all day. Mum has always said that food brings people together. People swoon over her famous homemade Aussie sausage rolls, made with fresh puff pastry. By the time we were 10 she had taught Angel and I to bake our own cakes and roast dinners. When the family all sit down to eat bacon and eggs or a full spread, all prepared from our own garden, Mum and Dad always take a moment to recognise how special that is - it’s pinnacle of life stuff. Life on a farm is pretty random: the other day my dad came home with a new Clysedale horse that a neighbour just gave him. He’ll just add her to the crazy petting zoo!
Double Trouble: Being Twins
We both have the same friends, do the same things and go to the same places. We have always been close and still like being together all the time. People invite us over as a package deal. We’re ‘the twins’: it’s not even Tiger and Angel, it’s Tigerandangel. Angel and I both live in a shared house in the inner city while we study. Even though we have our own rooms, we still share a bed. It’s cosier!
Yes, we do tend to know what each other is thinking - and we rely on each other a lot. Depending on what it is, I’ll be either, ‘it’s fine,Tiger will do that,’ or ‘Tige can’t do anything on her own!’ We share clothes back and forth like crazy. I actually don’t drive and Tiger loves driving. Because we are together so much, I have just slipped into relying on her completely, so she drives us everywhere. We laugh and support each other a lot, so I have an inbuilt friend for life.