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Brooks, George (1849–1926)

from Advertiser (Adelaide)

George Brooks, n.d

George Brooks, n.d

from Pastoral Review, 16 November 1926

Mr. George Brooks, of "Orrie Cowie" House, Robe Terrace, Medindie, died early on Saturday morning. He was born on November 9, 1849, at Gumeracha, where his parents took up a selection after spending some little time in the State. The selection was sold for £30 per acre, and the family removed to near Skilly, where it was intended to go in for the cultivation of grape vines, but an exceedingly dry winter followed the planting of the vines, and only two out of 5,000 lived through the dry time. Mr. George Brooks's father died at Skilly while the family were quite young, and when the mother married a second time the boys, though mere lads, struck out for themselves.

With two of his brothers, Mr. George Brooks went in for buying hay, chaffing it, and carting it to Kadina, Wallaroo, and Moonta. By this means he obtained sufficient money to rent a section of land near Inkermann, being portion of Werocata estate, belonging to Mr. Edmund Bowman. Upon this he grew a crop of hay, but disaster followed his efforts, for, when the hay was cut and put into stacks, a flood came down the River Wakefield washing most of it out to sea, and destroying what was left behind. Mr. Brooks, however, was of a determined disposition and instead of being despondent launched out by purchasing a further 640 acres close by, and the following year he took up an additional 1,250 acres of mallee scrub country. He then started sheep dealing, at which he proved successful. From that time he never looked back. He secured a property every few years, until he became one of the largest landowners in the State, owning land at Kulpara, South Hummocks, Bald Hills, and Inkermann, comprising about 12,000 acres; Moorowie station, on Southern Yorke Peninsula, of about 25,000 acres, which he acquired from Mr. William Fowler, of Yararoo estate; then Orrie Cowie, of 40,000 acres, in the same locality as Moorowie, which he bought from Mrs. Anney. All these properties he later disposed of to his two eldest sons, Messrs. G. W. and E. A. C. Brooks, and he then purchased Boconnoe station, near Clare, from Mr. Carter. After living there for a few years he purchased Wattle Park, at Burnside, from Mr. Alfred A. Scarfe.

While he was residing at Wattle Park he and his second son, Mr. Edmund A. Brooks, jointly purchased Buckland Park estate from Mr. Leonard G. Browne. Father and son then acquired Clifton Hills and Kanowana stations, near the Queensland border, the two properties comprising about 11,000 square miles. They carried on cattle and sheepraising for fattening for market. Mr. George Brooks later purchased Oulnina Park, in the north east country, near Mannshill consisting of about 300 square miles.

Mr. Brooks married Mary Ann, eldest daughter of Mr. Charles Lucas, who was employed in pastoral matters on behalf of Mr. Edmund Bowman, Werocata station. There were three sons and five daughters, all of whom are living with the exception of one daughter who died when about eight years old. Those living are Messrs. George W. Brooke, Bonnonoc station; Edmund A. C. Brooks, Buckland Park; and Herbert A. Brooks, Noola station, New South Wales, and Mesdames Rundle, Seaview Road, Henley Beach; Bob Thomson, Myall Avenue, Kensington Gardens; A. E. Davey, Avondale, Riverton; and Clarke-Smith, Greenhill Road, Burnside. Mrs. Brooks died in 1898 and in 1901 Mr. Brooks married Miss F. M. Morrison, of Medindie, who survives him.

Though not a public man, Mr. Brooks took a great interest in all things in his district. He was generous and open hearted, and many can testify to the valuable assistance he gave them. He was of a lovable nature, highly esteemed for his honesty of purpose and sterling qualities, and his frankness of disposition and business acumen were greatly admired by all who associated with him. His advice was always sound and reliable.

An interesting episode in the life of Mr. Brooks occurred when he was quite a small boy, at Gumeracha, when his father gave him 3d. to spend. Of this amount he spent one penny in purchasing three almonds from a small shop in Adelaide, returning home with the other twopence and two of the nuts. The father commandeered the latter, planting them in his garden at Gumeracha, from which grew two almond trees. The property was later disposed of to Mr. Brandis, and when the trees came into bearing the nuts were sold and known as Brandis almonds. The South Australian Brandis almond of today is said to be an offshoot of those two almonds conveyed home from Adelaide. Mr. Brooks's father shortly after his arrival in the State started a lime kiln at Nailsworth, which until recently continued to be used as such. From it lime was supplied for some of the earliest buildings erected in Adelaide.

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'Brooks, George (1849–1926)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/brooks-george-155/text1582, accessed 10 December 2018.

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