William Locke Brockman

1802 to 1872

William Locke Brockman was the fifth son of Rev. Julius Drake-Brockman and was born in 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 and set sail for Fremantle, arriving in January 1830. Brockman was more established than most when he arrived as he bought his own livestock with him including merino ewes, rams and a prefabricated house. He was also fortunate enough to bring several servants and became the original grantee of Location Nine, Herne Hill, Upper Swan. He planted crops as soon as possible and is believed to be the first person in the colony to sow wheat. Milling presented problems so he had his wheat ground at Fremantle whilst he built his own horse-mill which was operating by 1837. Most of Brockman’s success came from breeding sheep and horses and stock commanded high prices. He later exported horses to India.

Brockman imported farm machinery and was known to test soils to determine its suitability for successful farming. He made a number of exploratory journeys looking for high quality pastoral land and purchased Seabrook in Northam and Cheriton near Gingin. He also leased several 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 in this role 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’.

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