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Brockman, William Locke (1802–1872)

by Alfred H. Chate

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

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 Minstrel. 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).

Additional Resources

Citation details

Alfred H. Chate, 'Brockman, William Locke (1802–1872)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/brockman-william-locke-1828/text2099, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 22 December 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

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