Founder of Rubyvale Gem Gallery Peter Brown sadly passed away in March, 2021.
Founder of Rubyvale Gem Gallery Peter Brown sadly passed away in March, 2021.

CQ farewells a ‘kind friend’ and respected sapphire miner

A much respected Central Queensland’s business owner and mentor has been remembered as a “pioneer of industry” who was a passionate advocate for town in which he lived.

Peter Brown, owner of Rubyvale Gem Gallery, died earlier this week.

Mr Brown was as passionate about the Sapphire Gemfields as he was about the gems he found in the earth.

“The moment I held that stone up to the sun and saw a deep vibrant royal blue colour throughout the sapphire … I knew I was hooked,” was how he described unearthing his first sapphire in 1974.

Although his best find was American backpacker Eileen, the love of his life and wife of 40 years, a tribute by Capricorn Enterprise revealed.

Together, the couple welcomed three sons, three daughter-in-laws and three grandsons.

Since opening Rubyvale Gem Gallery in August 1988, Peter and Eileen Brown have been trailblazers in the local, regional, state and national tourism industry.

Peter and Eileen Brown. Photo: Nine Now
Peter and Eileen Brown. Photo: Nine Now

Their sons Tyler and Mitch returned to the business a few years ago to work alongside their dad and learn the tricks of the trade, so they could continue the family legacy at Rubyvale Gem Gallery, Rubyvale Gem Gallery Apartments, with the addition of the brewery as part of the cafe.

The thriving family business is one of two tourism operators located in Queensland that has won the prestigious “Australian Tourism Award for Specialised Tourism Service” alongside Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, among several other awards over the years.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said Mr Brown had made a profound impact on the local tourism industry and would be dearly missed.

“People like Peter Brown are as precious as the sapphires he mined and he will be missed by his tourism family,” she said.

“On behalf of Capricorn Enterprise and the broader tourism industry, we extend our condolences and continued support to Eileen and the family.”

Peter Brown cutting a Blue Sapphire. Photo: Mark Calleja
Peter Brown cutting a Blue Sapphire. Photo: Mark Calleja

Central Highlands Development Corporation released a statement on Wednesday, extending its deepest sympathies to the family.

“The founder of the multi award-winning Rubyvale Gem Gallery made a tremendous contribution to our region’s tourism industry ever since his arrival in 1974,” it read.

“Peter was a generous collaborator with CHDC.

“He provided valuable guidance and input over the years in our work to grow the visitor economy.

“He was a trailblazer and a gentleman, a kind friend and mentor to many, and a much-loved member of the Central Queensland Highlands community.

“Peter, you will be greatly missed.”

Mr Brown’s service will be held on Monday, March 29 at 11am at the Rubyvale Cemetery, followed by his wake at Rubyvale Flats (Miners Reserve).


Audit reveals challenging times for CQ councils

Premium Content Audit reveals challenging times for CQ councils

How CQ councils fared in Director-General’s Local Government audit.

Capras young gun signs with the Bulldogs

Premium Content Capras young gun signs with the Bulldogs

Guy Williams: ‘This deal is reward for his hard work over a long period of...

TALENT ALERT: Capras 18s line-up for semi showdown

Premium Content TALENT ALERT: Capras 18s line-up for semi showdown

What each of the 17 players brings to the team.