The three Australian branches of the family are descendants of the Beachborough Line. Due to the tyranny distance and modes of communicating, the Australian Branch in the 1936 family tree book was not done well and had some omissions and errors. Subsequently, in 1986 Alan Jackson undertook the task of trying to compile a comprehensive family tree for this branch of the family. In 1993, Alan published the 'Brockman and Drake-Brockman Family Tree - The Australian Branch 1830-1993'. At the time, this branch contained about 1,200 members and included many photos and a small 'Who's Who' section on as many individuals as possible. Prior to the book's publication, the family tree was reviewed by well over 100 descendants who attended a family reunion, which was held at Guildford Grammar School in Perth, Western Australia. Only 550 copies of this book were printed and all were pre-sold to family members so if you have one, treasure it as they are now highly sought after. If you are ever looking for a copy of this book in Australia, your local library should be able to help as a number of copies were sold to the state library in Western Australia and in other Australian jurisdictions.
The Australian Branch consists primarily of three sub-branches. The first two branches originated from two brothers William Locke Brockman and Robert James Brockman being the sons of Rev. Julius and Harriet Drake-Brockman (nee Locke). They were also grandsons of Rev. Ralph Drake and Caroline Brockman. The third branch of the Australian family originated from James Groves Birdwood Drake-Brockman who was a nephew of William and Robert.
It is interesting to note that both William Locke and Robert James Brockman dropped the ‘Drake’ from their surname when they came to Australia. There has been much speculation over the years as to why this happened. William and his wife Anne (nee Hamersley) eloped to be married at Gretna Green (Scotland) against the wishes of their parents. They were reconciled with their parents and Anne’s father being the Vicar of Oxford, conducted another marriage ceremony. One assumption for the name change was William may have been ordered to ‘go to the Colonies’ after the embarrassment he caused by eloping. Hence, he may have wanted to cover up any connection to this incident in the very English society in which he found himself at the new Swan River Colony. Remember, the Swan River Colony was not a penal colony unlike the rest of the Australian settlements. It was based very much on an English feudal society. Subsequently, out of respect for his elder brother, Robert may have also modified his surname when he arrived a year later.
The changing of the surname from Brockman to Drake-Brockman occurred when James Brockman, being the last Brockman heir and a bachelor, bequeathed his Estate including Beachborough to his nephew the Rev. Ralph Drake who had already married Caroline Brockman. A quote from James Brockman's 'Reflections', London 1764 substantiates this, ... "As my family has been of some standing at Beachborough where I have principally resided near forty years, I am desirous to have the house continue to be inhabited by one who may prove to be a useful Member of Society in general, and to the neighbourhood in particular. I have therefore now plac'd the Revnd Mr. Ralph Drake there, who having a promising Issue and both he and his Wife being of my nearest relations, I intend no other than to leave the whole of my Real Estate to him or in his Family."
James Brockman died in 1767 and an Act of Parliament was later passed in order to allow Rev. Ralph Drake to inherit the armorial bearings and surname Brockman, which then saw the Brockman surname changed to Drake Brockman. The Rev. Ralph Drake Brockman was William’s grandfather, so perhaps in William's mind, the Brockman surname may have had a more influential social standing than the recently changed surname of Drake Brockman. Also bear in mind that land in the new Swan River Colony was being allocated based solely on the value of a gentleman’s goods and chattels. On the ships bringing out new immigrants, gentlemen of good standing would value each others goods and chattels so the second supposition is that perhaps William decided to use the Brockman surname to try and enhance his social standing in the new Colony. Irrespective of the reason why William Locke Brockman chose not to use his birth surname of Drake-Brockman, the family in Australia now has both Brockman and Drake-Brockman descendants although really all descendants should be known as Drake-Brockman’s.
William Locke Brockman arrived at the Swan River Colony on the ship Minstrel in January 1830. He arrived with his wife Ann Hamersley and his first-born son named Edmund, a prefabricated house, seven servants, and his livestock (sheep), which included three rams and 46 pure merino ewes. He was the ninth landowner of the new Colony being granted Lot 9, Swan River Colony by Captain James Stirling and the Surveyor General, John Septimus Roe. His younger brother Robert James Brockman arrived on the ship Egyptian on December 1831, and their nephew James Groves Birdwood Drake-Brockman, arrived many years later in 1872, after serving in the Indian Police.
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