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William Brockman

William Locke Brockman (1802-1872) arrived in the Swan River Colony aboard the Minstrell, 20 January 1830, with his wife and eldest son Edmund. The Brockman River is named after him.

BROCKMAN, William Locke.,b. 1802 (England), d. 28.11.1872, son of Rev. Julius Brockman, arr. 20.1.1830 with wife & chd. m. (England) Frances HAMERSLEY b. 1809 (England) d. 5.3.1876 while visiting England. dtr. of Hugh.
Chd. Edmund Ralph b. 1828 (Eng.) d. 1908, Elizabeth b. 1831 d. 1908, William Locke b. 1833 d. 1898, Frances b. 1836, Edward Reveley b. 1838 d. 1902, Margaret b. 1841 d. 1862 "Fair Maid of Perth", Julius b. 1842 d. 1860 drowned at Frem. after returning from England, Henry b. 1845, Hugh Thomas b. 1849 d . 1865.
Granted 20,160 acres including Swan Loc 9 ''Herne Hill" where he established his home. Held immense areas of pastoral leases. Bought "Seabrook" at Northam for eldest son, and "Cheriton" at Gingin. JP 1831. Unofficial member Legislative Council 1839 onwards, elected member for Swan 1872: Member Swan Road Committee 1840s and first chairman of Swan Road Board 1871. Member of Agric. Soc. & Guildford Mechanics Institute 1860s. Widely respected as "Father of the Swan". Employed 61 T/L men 1851-1877. Univ. Educ. C/E .

William Locke Brockman (1802-1872)
by Alfred H. Chate
Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 1, 1966; online 2006

William Locke Brockman (1802-1872), pastoralist and stockbreeder, was the fifth son of Rev. Julius Drake-Brockman (b.1768) of Cheriton, England. In 1827 he married Anne Frances Elizabeth, daughter of Hugh Hamersley, the rector of Pyrton, near Oxford. Soon afterwards he sold his Romney Marsh farm to go to the Swan River settlement.

With his wife and son, Edmund Ralph (b.1828), he arrived at Fremantle in January 1830 in the Minstrell. Among his livestock he had three rams and forty-six pure merino ewes. He also brought a prefabricated house and seven servants, whose passage money he had advanced. Brockman became the original grantee of Location Nine, Herne Hill, Upper Swan. Crops were put in as soon as possible but milling presented a problem. In May 1832 he had wheat ground at Fremantle, but by 1837 his own horse-mill was operating. Agriculture was necessary in the infant colony but Brockman's main service was in the breeding of blood horses and pedigree sheep. With Margeaux, the dam of many fine horses, his stock soon commanded high prices and later he exported horses to India. He made a number of exploratory journeys seeking good pastoral land and at his death was one of the colony's largest landed proprietors. He bought Seabrook, near Northam, for his son Edmund to manage, took up Cheriton, near Gingin, as a large farm and fattening station, and leased other properties.

In June 1831 Brockman was elected a foundation member of the Swan Agricultural Society, and served a term as president. He was also on the committee of the Guildford Mechanics' Institute from its inception. He had been appointed justice of the peace and magistrate for Swan district in 1833 and served until his death. In 1839 Brockman was a non-official nominee in the Legislative Council; after reconstruction of the council in 1868, he served for six months in 1872 as an elected member for the province of Swan.

Under an 1842 Act for the construction and management of roads, a central committee and eight district committees were formed. Brockman was appointed a member of both the Central and the Swan district committees. When the Districts Road Act of 1871 created road districts, Brockman was the first chairman of the Swan Road Board. Upon his death on 28 November 1872 at Herne Hill and interment in the Middle Swan Church of England cemetery, an obituary termed him 'Father of the Swan and one of its most persevering and active of settlers'. His widow returned to England and died on 5 March 1876.

Brockman's other nine children were born in the colony. His daughter Elizabeth's marriage on 18 March 1852 to Gerald de Courcy Lefroy formed a link with another prominent pastoralist family of Western Australia as did his own marriage with the Hamersleys.

Select Bibliography
D. H. Drake-Brockman, Records of the Brockman and Drake-Brockman Family (Haywards Heath, Eng, 1936)
A. Burton, The Story of the Swan District 1843-1938 (Perth, 1938)
Inquirer and Commercial News, 4 Dec 1872
Herald (Fremantle), 7 Dec 1872
P. U. Henn, genealogical notes (State Library of Western Australia).

Born in Kent, England in 1802, William Locke Brockman was a member of the Brockman family, a prominent Kent family with a history dating back to the 14th century. Little is known of his early life, except that he was a farmer with land in the Romney Marsh area. In 1827, Brockman married Ann Francis Elizabeth Hamersley (1809–1876). They had six sons and three daughters.
In 1829, Brockman, with his wife and eldest son Edmund, emigrated to the Swan River Colony in Western Australia. They arrived on Minstrel in January 1830. Brockman brought with him a prefabricated house, seven servants, and a number of sheep. Under the colony's system of land grants, this entitled him to a grant of over 81 km2 (20,000 acres). He was the ninth person to be granted land in the colony.
He established himself as a pastoralist and wheat grower in the Upper Swan district. He named his grant Herne Hill, and this name survives today as the name of the Perth suburb of Herne Hill. He was a foundation member of the Swan Agricultural Society in 1831, and in 1833 became a justice of the peace. In 1837, he constructed a mill on his property. His success as a farmer prompted his wife's brother Edward Hamersley to immigrate. Hamersley arrived with his wife and son Edward in February 1837. He ultimately became a successful and wealthy pastoralist, and a member of the Western Australian Legislative Council, and the Hamersley family became one of the most prominent families in the colony.
In 1839, he was nominated to the Western Australian Legislative Council, but he resigned the following year. From around 1845, he began exporting horses to India. He later acquired land near Northam, and was the first person to take up land in what is now the Shire of Bindoon. For this reason, the Brockman River, which flows through the Bindoon Shire, was named after him. Local Aboriginal people showed him the land around Gingin and because it had permanent water, he took up land there in 1841. He called the property Cheriton, after the parish of his father, the Reverend Julius Drake-Brockman. A water-powered mill was built over the Gingin Brook by Alfred Carson, and wheat was milled into flour, helping relieve the colony's dependence on imported flour. Due to favourable soils, the property became the principal source of citrus fruit for Perth, and was especially known for what came to be called Cheriton oranges. It is thought that he had sourced the seeds in the Canary Islands.
In the 1860s, he became involved in the public push for representative government. Eventually, the Governor of Western Australia agreed to hold informal Legislative Council elections, on the understanding that he would nominate those elected. In the informal election of May 1867, he was elected for Guildford, and was accordingly nominated to the council. He held the nominative seat until July 1870, when the council became formally elective. He contested the seat of Swan in the subsequent election, but was defeated by Thomas Courthope Gull. Two years later he contested the seat again, this time defeating Gull. He held the seat until his death at Herne Hill on 28 November 1872.
Two of his sons, Henry and Edmund Ralph, became prominent farmers in the colony and Members of the Legislative Council.

References and Links

Berryman, Ian 1979 ed., A Colony Detailed: The First Census of Western Australia 1832, Creative Research, Perth: no. 251.

Chate, Alfred H. 1966, ADB entry (as above).


Johnston, Ruth 1982, W. L. Brockman: A Portrait, Darelle, Nedlands.

Udell, Hazel 1980, A History of Gingin, 1830-1960, Shire of Gingin.

Wikipedia page.

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