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Brooker, William (1851–1935)

It is today our painful duty to record the death of one of the most highly esteemed pioneers of the district in the person of Mr. William Brooker, the Grand Old Man of Kangaloon, as he was affectionately called by a wide circle of friends. He died at his residence, 'Forest Lodge,' Kangaloon on Friday last, at the ripe age of 83 years.

William Brooker was the [second] eldest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Brooker and was born at Charcoal (now Unanderra) on 28th May 1851. He came to the Kangaloon district with his parents about 1864, when the land at Kangaloon was thrown open for free selection. His father selected the property known as "Forrest Lodge,' and there the late Mr. William Brooker spent the remainder of his long life.

He married Margaret, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Yeoman, of East Kangaloon in 1882, the ceremony taking place in the Presbyterian Church at Dapto. Mrs. Brooker, two sons (Mr. G. W. Brooker, of Kangaloon and Mr. J. J. Brooker, of Robertson), and two daughters (Mrs. E. Morrow, of Sydney and Mrs. J. G. Noble, of Raymond Terrace) survive him.

Mr. Brooker had a keen sense of humor and a cheerful outlook upon life. He was a good friend and won the respect of all with whom he had dealings and the affection of a wide circle of friends in all walks of life. A deeply religious man, he had friends of all denominations and his benefactions knew no creed.

He took keen interest in all matters relating to the development of the district and especially in those affecting dairying and kindred industries. He was an original member of Robertson Show Society and served as committee man and vice-president. As a mark of appreciation of his long service to the Society he was made a life member. During his long association with the Society he attended every Show with the exception of the last. His familiar figure was missed this year, illness having prevented his attending.

Mr. Brooker was one of the first shareholders in the old Berrima Cooperative Company and was one of the prime movers in establishing the Kangaloon Dairy Company. He was a director of the last named company from its inception until it went into liquidation some twelve years ago. He was also one of the first shareholders in the Kangaloon Transport Company and served as a director for many years.

Mr. Brooker's thoroughness was shown in connexion with the Public Hall. Not only was he one of the chief movers for the hall, but he personally collected most of the money needed to make a start with the building. He was on the committee for twenty years, during ten of which he filled the president's chair. His service to the community included membership of the Berrima Pastures Protection Board for a number of years.

Mr. Brooker was a staunch adherent of the Presbyterian Church, but worshipped at the Methodist Church at Kangaloon and took active part in the work of the church. His home was ever open to his own minister and to those of other churches. 

Speaking at the service at 'Forest Lodge' before the funeral. Rev. J. H. Craig, formerly in charge of the Presbyterian Church at Moss Vale, said he had known Mr. Brooker for more than thirty years. He had been his minister for eighteen years, and speaking with an intimate knowledge of the family he could say that Mr. Brooker was a man of the highest ideals, a man of strong convictions as to what was right in life, and above all a man of God. He spoke of his many happy associations with Mr. Brooker and said they should thank God that he had been spared to a ripe old age, for his life as a churchman and a citizen had been a driving force for good in the community. What man, woman, or child had not felt the better for meeting him? He loved sport and clean sport for sport's sake, and everything that was clean and good in life, and his keen sense of humor had helped to lighten and brighten many hearts.

The funeral was largely attended by residents in all parts of the district and afforded eloquent testimony to the wide esteem in which Mr. Brooker was held by all classes and denominations.

At the graveside Rev. J. H. Craig was assisted by Rev. H. Arnold (Anglican) and Rev. E. Wilkinson (Methodist), a fitting tribute to the breadth of his Christian sympathies. It was fitting, too, that this worthy pioneer should be laid to rest in the cemetery at East Kangaoon with its picturesque surroundings, on a bright Autumn afternoon, and amidst a vast congregation of the people amongst whom he had spent his long and useful life.

Amongst the many mourners at the funeral, the following organizations were officially represented:

— Robertson A. and H. Society. — The- President (Mr. J. Missingham), the Secretary (Mr. Jonkin) and members of the Committee
Nattai Shire Council. — The President (Mr. Jos. Will?)
Berrima Pastures Protection Board The Chairman ( Mr. J.D. Wood) Producers' Distributors Society. — The Chairman of Directors (Mr. W. P. Hindmarsh) Berrima District A. H. and I. Society. — The Vice-President (Mr. J. D. Wood) and Committeemen
Kangaloon Motor Transport Co. — The Chairman (Mr. J. McPherson) and other Directors
Kangaloon Public Hall. — The President (Mr. McPherson) and Committeemen

A memorial service will be held in Kangaloon Methodist Church next Sunday morning.

Original publication

Citation details

'Brooker, William (1851–1935)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/brooker-william-26084/text34105, accessed 20 November 2019.

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