Free Settler or Felon 

William Brooks - Settler

Maps 1 and 4

First Name

Surname / Subject


Use the Search Box above to find your Hunter Valley Ancestor.

Arrival in the Colony

William Brooks arrived in the colony with his wife Eliza Janet on the Hugh Crawford in November 1826. They had been married on 8th June 1826 at St. Pancras, London shortly before sailing.

The Hugh Crawford departed London with the following passengers: Mr and Mrs. James Wilson, Miss Dalziel, Mr. E.C. Richards, Mr. J.P. Webber, Mr. G. McDonald, Mr. Blackwell, Mr. Hudson, Messrs William Stallard, John Bridle, E. Cox, Thomas Pidcock, George Risdon Howe; Robert, William John, Walter, and Mrs. Webber; Miss Webber, Messrs R.E. John and William Elliott; Mr and Mrs. C. Gatehouse; Misses Diana, Mary, Izit, Sarah, Grace, Eliza and Masters John and Charles Gatehouse; Mr. William and Miss Hannah Gatehouse; Mr. William Lyons, Mrs. Lyons; William, John and Henry Lyons.

Land Grant

William Brooks was granted 1280 acres which he selected in December 1828. His estate which was situated on the eastern bank of Cockle Creek was known as Lochend. The area was also known as Milloba and Biddabee and encompassed the present day towns of Boolaroo and Speers Point.

William Brooks' land grant can been seen in the lower quarter of the map below.

Ash Island - Alexander Walker Scott John Laurio Platt Australian Agricultural Company Joseph Weller George Weller William Brooks Jonathon Warner George Brooks Richard Windeyer and Adam Beveridge William Peppercorn Richard Siddons John Maclean G.T. Graham William Sparke Henry Rae Vicars Jacob Francis Shortt Francis Moran John Eales William Bradridge Edward Sparke John Field George Thomas Graham Early Settler Map 1


A daughter Euphemia Janet was born to William and Eliza Janet in May 1827.

In the 1828 Census William Brooks age 35 and Eliza age 31 together with Elizabeth age 11/2 who was born in the colony resided at Dalziel, Patrick Plains on 640 acres. Eighty acres had been cleared and 24 acres cultivated. There were 80 horned cattle and 293 sheep. Mary Dalziel who arrived free on the Hugh Crawford resided with William Brooks. [2]

The nearest neighbours to William Brooks in 1828 were Dr. Henry Radford aged 38, wife Frances aged 25, Henry aged 3 and Charles age 2. They resided at Elderslie the former estate of Alexander Shand until May 1829. The following advertisement is for the estate originally granted to Alexander Shand and acquired by Henry Radford......

To new settlers or others requiring a temporary settlement - To be Let till June 1830, a house of four apartments, with a kitchen outside, five acres of cultivation ground, cleared and fenced, use of stock yard, and liberty of grazing 20 head of cattle. The rent is 35 and entry may be had immediately. Apply personally to Mr. William Brooks at Dalziel, Hunters River, the adjoining land to that on which the house is situated. [3]

In December 1830, William Brooks was granted permission to depasture his stock on land adjoining his own. Certain conditions applied:

1. That he pay rent for the same at the rate of two shillings and sixpence per annum for every hundred acres

2. That he abandon the said lands at any time on receiving one months notice

3. That the lands be distinctly understood to be still open to the selection of authorised grantees or purchasers.

The land William Brooks was permitted to use was 1000 acres bounded on the South by his own land, on the West by the Clergy and School Estate and on the East by Alexander Shand in the County of Durham, parish Marwood.

Convict Workers

Some of the convicts and workers at Dalziel included:
Robert Cook per Lord Melville 1831
Bernard Molloy per Mary Ann
Hannah Battledore per competitor 1828
Michael OBrien employed as shepherd 1828
John Boyd per Countess of Harcourt 1828
William Bagnell per Coromandel employed as a fencer
Helen Cobb per Elizabeth 1828
Mary Carroll per Elizabeth
John Davis per Asia 1828
Honora Barry per Surry
Denis Dunneen per Earl St. Vincent
Henry Hughes per Countess of Harcourt
Michael Geraghty per Southworth
George Lyall per Mary

Eliza Janet Brooks died in 1829. In 1838 Euphemia and her aunt Mary Dalziel were residing with Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld at Lake Macquarie when Euphemia passed away from the effects of influenza aged 11. She was buried in her mothers grave at Christchurch, Newcastle.

Lochend Coal

William Brooks discovered a seam of coal on Lochend and after the monopoly held by the Australian Agricultural Company was challenged by Rev. Threlkeld, William Brooks also appealed to open a mine.

In 1843 in the Maitland Mercury, Brooks advertised that excellent coal had been satisfactorily experimented on at Newcastle and the Stockton Tweed Factory, and that a Cargo had left his wharf for Sydney where it could be viewed at Crofts Wharf in Sussex Street. The coal was extracted from the foothills of the Boolaroo area and transported by trolley down to a jetty at Speers Point. Brooks stated that he could provide a regular supply at the Pit or inside the heads of Lake Macquarie. He charged 7/6- per ton at the pit and 9/- at the heads. Vessels drawing 3 6in when laden could take their cargo at the wharf beside the pit. Vessels drawing 4ft 6in could receive their cargo inside the heads from barges.

Unfortunately for William Brooks, the difficulties of transporting his coal to Newcastle together with the cost involved proved unprofitable and the mine was closed.

Assigned Convict Servants

Convicts assigned to William Brooks at Lochend included:

John Davis - arrived on the Asia in 1822

Thomas Logan - arrived on the Friendship in 1800


By 1848 William Brooks had left Lake Macquarie. He ran a business from the Commercial Wharf in Sydney as a Commission Agent. He advertised convenient and ample offices and Stores and offered to dispose of produce and purchase supplies for Settlers on the Hunter and Paterson Rivers.

Petition for Land Grant

The following petition to Parliament indicates that William Brooks was still endeavouring to receive land he believed he was entitled to twenty seven years later:

To the Honorable the Legislative Council of New South Wales.

The petition of William Brooks, of Loch end, in the county of Northumberland, now residing in Sydney, HUMBLY SHEWETH That being desirous to emigrate to this colony as a free settler in the year 1826, your petitioner, then resident in London, applied to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to ascertain what encouragement was held out by Government to settlers on their arrival in the colony, and enclosed an attested statement of the amount of capital your petitioner possessed, and intended to devote to the improvement of a grant of land.

In reply to this communication, your petitioner, on the 12th May, 1826, received a letter from the Colonial Office, transmitting him a copy of the Land Regulations of 1824. Your petitioner having, from his earliest years, the most implicit confidence in the good faith of the Government of his native land, left London on the 8th June following with his family, just twenty-seven days after he received the letter before mentioned, to join his ship at Gravesend, and incurred an expenditure for their passage amounting to about 300l. That your petitioner, immediately on his arrival in Sydney, waited on the Governor, General Darling, with the Secretary of States letter, and the Land Regulations enclosed, when his Excellency informed your petitioner that he had brought an obsolete paper, that a new set of Land Regulations were in force, and that your petitioner must take his grant under them.

Your petitioner therefore received a primary grant of 1920 acres, under the Land Regulations of 1826. These Land Regulations, under which General Darling thus placed your petitioner, possessed one advantage over those of 1824 to emigrants who, like your petitioner, actually owned capital, as they contained a specific promise that after expending five times the estimated value of his primary grant in improving it, the grantee should become entitled to a secondary or additional grant, to be awarded in the same manner as the primary grant; that is to say, 640 acres for each 500l worth of property possessed by the claimant at the time of his application, to the extent of a maximum grant of 2560 acres.

With the determined purpose of securing this promised advantage, your petitioner expended far more than the required amount, and then applied for his additional grant, but, strange to say, Sir George Gipps, who was Governor at the time your petitioner made his application, re-jected it, on the ground that your petitioner had emigrated on the faith of the 1824 Regulations, and therefore had no claim under those of 1826. On your petitioner remonstrating, Sir George Gipps seemed to give up that objection ; but he maintained that as regulations respecting the granting of land had been published in the colony in 1826 (addressed, of course, to residents in the colony), when your petitioner was at sea, on his voyage to the colony, that your petitioner actually got his primary grant under them, and Sir George Gipps persisted in this, though the Governor who gave the grant referred to the 1826 regulations published in London.

Your petitioner humbly submits that he bas been unjustly deprived of his rights as a British subject, having emigrated to the colony on the faith of Land Regulations published in London, previous, to his departure -that he has been, by an improper exercise of arbitrary power, placed under Colonial Land Regulations, of the existence of which he must necessarily have been wholly ignorant until he landed in the colony. That his claim for a secondary grant has been unjustly refused, after he had complied with the conditions; which fact had been certified to the Governor General by the Surveyor General of the colony ; and that the injustice he has so long suffered under is the more galling, because all his fellow emigrants of like time, including his fellow passenger, Mr. J.P. Webber, obtained their additional grants with great facility.

Your petitioner, according to his statement of property at the time of his application, was entitled to a secondary or additional grant of 2560 acres, and that fifteen years ago. Your petitioner, therefore, humbly entreats your honorable house to take his case into your careful consideration, that he may obtain through your constitutional interference that justice which has been so long denied to him
. [3]


William Brooks died in Sydney in September 1858

William Speer purchased the 1280 acres in 1870.

Notes and Links

1). Married - On the 28th January 1834 at Parramatta by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, William Brooks Esq., of Dalziel, Hunters River to Elizabeth second daughter of the late John Evans Esq., of Castle Pill, Pembrokeshire. - Sydney Herald 3 February 1834

2). On 2nd November 1834 Mrs. W. Brooks gave birth to a son at Dalziel - Sydney Herald 17 November 1834

3). Married - By special license on 22nd September 1840, Richard Scougall, Esq., Dalziel, Hunters River to Catherine second daughter of William Dun, Duninald, Paterson - Sydney Herald 28 September 1840

Map 4
Archibald Bell James Black William Brooks John Cobb Henry Dangar John Earl John Gaggin William Harper William Kelman John Larnach George Wyndham George White Joseph Underwood A.B. Spark Benjamin Sullivan Alexander Shand Helenus Scott James Mitchell George Wyndham Helenus Scott John Larnach Shaw Stewart Early Settler Map 4


[1] Sydney Gazette 22 November 1826

[2] 1828 Census (3) Sydney Gazette 2 April 1829

[3] Maitland Mercury 16 July 1853

Site Search
search engine by freefind advanced