Henry Brock and Eliza Paton

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John Horton
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Henry Brock and Eliza Paton

The following content has been provided by Helen Brown, a Brock family descendant. Henry Brock was the eighth child and fifth son of Henry Brock and Margaret Marshall, tenant farmers of "Overton Farm" in Kirkliston, West Lothian. Henry was born on 10 November 1806 and baptised on 27 November 1806 in Kirkliston,1 Henry traded his interest in “Overton Farm” to his cousin John Brock and aged twenty six, travelled to Hobart Town aboard the Minerva, with his sister Marion and George Wilson, the father of her seventeen month old son who was also named George Wilson.

Eleven days after the ship arrived, on 11 October 1832, Marion and George were married in St. David's church, Hobart Town. Henry acted as witness to the marriage and gave his address as Campbell Town.2 He couldn't possibly have been there before but the quartet travelled to Campbell Town and made their way to "Janefield", a property that had been granted to George's brother Thomas Braidwood Wilson. Thomas had been granted two 1000 acre farms and had swapped one for land in New South Wales, later to be named Braidwood, This land was on the Monkittie Creek, a tributary of the Shoalhaven River. He kept the second farm on the Macquarie River ,"Janefield" to give his family a start in the colony. He no doubt gained revenue from it as well.

It would appear that Henry's decision to emigrate to Van Dieman's land was a late one as no grant was arranged for him whereas his brother James Brock and George Wilson and George's brother John received adjoining grants in February and June of 1831, just before free grants were stopped. George applied for his own but James and John did not arrive until 1833 so the likelihood is that Thomas Braidwood Wilson, whose standing with the authorities was high, applied on their behalf.

With his brother James, Henry built a large store and warehouse in Liverpool Street, Hobart Town. This would have been his main base during the trading years. It is not clear if this was the venture that was dissolved in June 1834 as advertised in The Hobart Town Courier in early July.

THE business carried on under the firm of J. & H. Brock, is this day dissolved by mutual consent, and J. Brock is alone authorised to receive and settle all accounts, hoping those due will be paid immediately.


James Reid, witness.
Hobart town, June 23, 1834.3

Henry married Eliza Paton on 13 May 1836 in Hobart Town.4 No arrival has been found for Eliza. It is possible she might have been an Irish girl who arrived with others under one of the immigration schemes designed to bring young, single women to the colony.

Marriage Registration for Henry Brock and Eliza Paton

Marriage Registration for Henry Brock and Eliza Paton
Archives Office of Tasmania

In 1836, the year he married, Henry was listed as shop/store keeper Hobart Town in that year’s valuation rolls.5 In November 1836 he advertised his removal to alternative premises:

HENRY BROCK begs to inform his Friends and the Public, that inconsequence of his increased trade in the Biscuit Baking, he has removed from 82 Elizabeth street, to those premises adjoining the Bank of Van Diemen's Land where he requests a continuance of their future favors, and begs to assure the Merchants and Captains of vessels, that he will always have a supply at the best Bread and Biscuit, at as reasonable a rate as he can possibly afford.

Macquarie street, 9th November, 1836.6

Henry was fined in June 1837 for failing a balance check. At the time merchant's scales were subject to Government testing.

Mr. Henry Brock was also fined 5s. and costs, for having a false balance, which was condemned.7

Henry registered the business as Spencer's Bakery in 1838. The business was bought by Cripps Bakery in 1890.8 Between 1837 and 1850 Henry and Eliza produced ten children, six sons and four daughters. None died in infancy.

  • Henry Brock, born on 19 February 1837 in Hobart.9
  • John Brock, born on 15 May 1838 in Hobart.10
  • Margaret Brock, born on 28 December 1839 in Hobart.11
  • Mary Elizabeth Brock, born on 5 March 1840 in Hobart.12
  • Alexander Brock, born on 10 September 1841 in Hobart.13
  • Marion Brock (registered as as un-named Female), born on 19 May 1843 in Hobart.14
  • Annie Brock, born on 31 December 1844 in Hobart.15
  • James Brock (registered as an un-named Male), born on 8 December 1846 in Hobart.16
  • Robert Brock, born on 26 July 1848 in Hobart.17
  • Thomas Brock (registered as an un-named Male), born on 24 July 1850 in Hobart.18

During that time, Henry continued with his mercantile pursuits as a baker. In November 1842 he was called as an expert witness in the trial of the Queen versus George Bogle. The latter had won a tender to provide the Government with flour but it was found to be of such poor quality that his provisions were rejected. Henry concurred that the flour produced was little more than sharps and rice. The prosecutor contended that Bogle had actually sought to defraud the crown but the outcome of the trial is not known.19 Two months later in January 1843 Henry advertised for a loan as follows:

Money Wanted.
£150 wanted on a maiden mortgage. For particulars, apply to Henry Brock, Baker, Macquarie-street.
January 2320

Between July 1843 and May 1844 Henry himself was providing the government with flour and being payed from the Colonial Treasury.21 In October 1845 a servant of Henry's observed a daring robbery in the merchant's house next door to the bakery.

On Sunday last, about 4 o'clock, three neatly dressed men, entered the house of Mr. Yardley, Grocer, &c, in Macquarie Street, during the absence of him and his wife, they cooly walked in at the front door, which they opened with a false key, and, after a long and diligent search, they carried off nearly a pound in money, four or five lbs. of tobacco, and two lbs. of sugar candy; they had turned over several boxes of wearing apparel, but carefully avoided taking anything, that might be identified. A man in the service of Mr. Brock, baker, who resides next door, saw the men go away, and has described their persons and dress, so that there is every probability of their detection. We may observe, that the burglars, who have been so busy of late in the town, are supposed to belong to a new " school " of craftsmen ; the visitors at Mr. Yardley's seem to have done their work in a business-like manner, they left a small "Jemmy " in exchange for what they took away.22

In February 1847 Henry successfully tendered to supply flour to the Queens Orphan Schools.23 Later that same year in December 1847 Henry was a victim of fraud when a man presented a cheque as if it had been drawn by him.

John Morris was convicted of having uttered a forged cheque for £68, purporting to have been drawn by Mr. Henry Brock, on the Van Diemen's Land Bank. The signature attracted the suspicions of Mr. Wilkinson, to whom the cheque was presented for payment, and on inquiry of Mr. Brock it was discovered to be a forgery. The defence of the prisoner was that he picked it up in the street. He was found guilty, and remanded.24

In the next decade Henry diversified and between the years 1850-60 he traded around the south coast of Australia with four ships. These ships were owned in partnership with master ship builder David Hoy, who married, later in life, Janet, the widow of William Miller. Her daughter Isabella Angus Miller married Henry’s brother James Brock. David Hoy built at least one of the ships, the “Margaret Brock”, no doubt named for one of Henry’s daughters. The little ships sailed to New Zealand on trading missions and even as far as California during the gold rush years.

In October 1851 Henry was named as a trustee of Chalmer's Free Church on the corner of Bathurst and Harrington streets.25 In October 1853 Henry was a contributor, along with David Hoy, to a generous donation of money amounting to £355 to the minister of the Chalmer's Free Church, the Rev. William Nicholson.26

In the 1850s a Henry Brock appeared as a juror on a number of occasions but it is not clear if this was Henry Brock senior or junior.27 Henry was also a member of the Hobart Town Chamber of Commerce,28 and a proprietor of the Bank of Van Diemen's Land.29

David Hoy died on 9 February 1857 in Hobart30 and Henry seems to have left the trading business behind him and moved the family to “Tallentyre” on the Lake River near Cressy, a property owned by his son-in-law James Thirkell.

Henry bought “Summerfield” at Broadmarsh, probably to provide a farm for his fifth child, Alexander and his wife Isabella Maria Gage, daughter of John Ogle Gage of Old Beach. Alexander Brock married Maria Cecilia Gage on 5 November 1863 in Brighton, Tasmania.31

At Gage Brook, on the 5th November, by the Rev. John Barrows, Alexander Brock, Esq., of Summerfield, Broad Marsh, to Maria Cecilia, sixth daughter of John Ogle Gage, Esq.32

Alexander and Maria lived at "Summerfield" from their marriage until after the birth of two children. Their third, a son named Alexander, was born in June 1869 at “Compton”, Old Beach, a farm also in Henry’s name.

In November 1861 Henry and his son Robert were required to give evidence at the Oatlands Court of Petty Sessions at the trial of two men regarding a saddle stolen from Henry.

Ninian Baptiste, 42, cook, and Moses M. Quirk, 40, horsebreaker, were placed in the dock on remand, the former charged with stealing a saddle, worth 4 guineas, on the 20th instant, at Anstey Barton, and the latter with receiving, on the 21st instant, such saddle, the property of Henry Brock, knowing it to have been feloniously stolen....

Robert Brock, son of Mr. Henry Brock, of Anstey Barton, said he knew the defendant Baptiste as having been in his father's service as cook. Witness missed a saddle he was in the habit of using from the stable on Wednesday, the 20th instant, belonging to his father, in consequence of a report made to him (witness) by his brother. This defendant was discharged from his (witness) father's service on Tuesday, the 19th instant....

Henry Brock, of Anstey Barton, said he believed the saddle produced was his property,and estimated its value at £4 4s. He did not miss the saddle till the Chief District Constable, Mr. Beckley, reported to him that the Police had possession of it. Baptiste left witness's service on Tuesday morning, the 19th instant. Witness had not seen Baptiste from that time till the saddle was missed....33

The two men were found guilty, with Baptiste sentenced to two years hard labour based on previous convictions, and Quirk given six months hard labour as this was apparently his first offence.

Henry's daughter Marion was married in Henry's home. Marion Brock married Henry Edward Gage on 17 October 1872, according to the offical registration, in the Launceston district.34

GAGE-BROCK.-On October 17th, 1872, Henry Edward, youngest son of the late John Ogle Gage, Esq., J.P., of Gagebrook, Old Beach, to Marion, second daughter of Henry Brock, Esq.. of Talantyre Lake River, by the Rev. James Lindsay, at the residence of the bride's father.35

Henry and Eliza's daughter Annie Brock married John Edward Espie on 14 November 1876 in the Chalmer's Free Church in Launceston, although the event was registered officially in the Longford district.36

ESPIE - BROCK. -On the 14th November, at Chalmer's Free Church, Launceston, by the Rev. J. Lindsay, John Edward Espie, Esq., of Kelly, Upper Broad Marsh, to Annie, youngest daughter of Henry Brock, Esq., Talantyre, Cressy.37

Cressy in Tasmania
Google Maps

Part of “Anstey Barton” in Oatlands was bought by Henry and named “Brockton”. The property was later owned by Henry’s nephew, George Wilson jnr and tenanted by Alexander Scott who had been brought to Oatlands by George Wilson snr to rebuild the steeple of the Presbyterian Church following its destruction in a gale. Alexander married George’s niece Agnes Wilson, daughter of his brother David. A second stonemason came under George’s patronage. He was William Greenlaw and had married, as his second wife, Marion youngest sister, Mary Brock. This couple lived on part of James Brock’s grant, “Woodbanks” which adjoined George Wilson’s grant “Mt Seymour”.

Henry’s wife Eliza (as Elizabeth) died at “Middle Park”, just north of Oatlands on 10 January 1883. Elizabeth Brock was described as a farmer's wife, aged 77, and the cause of death was apoplexy, most probably a stroke.38

Brock.-On January 10, at the Middle Park, Antill Ponds, Eliza, the beloved wife of Henry Brock, aged 77 years.39

Henry lived until 1895, spending his last years with a daughter, Annie Espie, in a cottage on the Parattah Road out of Oatlands. He was reputed to be blind at the end. He died on 12 September 1895 in Oatlands. Henry was described as a sheep farmer, aged 89, and the cause of death was reported as senile decay.40

BROCK. - On September 12, at Oatlands, Henry Brock, sen., for many years a resident of Hobart, in his 89th year. Funeral will take place THIS AFTERNOON from the Scotch Manse, at 2 p.m.41

Both Henry and Eliza were buried in the Oatlands Uniting cemetery.