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Peter Broun (aka Brown, 1797-1846) Colonial Secretary, arrived with his wife Caroline and two children, MacBryde (2) and Ann (6 months), on the Parmelia, 2 June 1829, one of the first settlers. He changed the spelling of his name to Brown, but changed it back in 1843.
He was granted 9000 acres in Upper Swan and West Guildford, and named Bassendean after the ancestral family estate, and also Eden Hill after Eden Water, the river flowing through it.
As Colonial Secretary he was ex officio a member of the first Legislative Council, formed 1832. He was the second most important person in the colony.
Sailing with Stirling on the Parmelia was Peter Nicholas Broun, a personable young man recently appointed as Secretary (later Colonial Secretary) who was accompanied by his pretty, pregnant wife Caroline and their two small children. Broun, a member of Scotland’s minor gentry, who was in later years to be regarded as the wise founder of the Bassendean district, had surprisingly little to recommend him as an administrator apart from his family’s long standing friendship with Sir George Murray, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies. Back in England Broun (or Brown as he was then known) was involved in an unsuccessful speculation scheme and had to apply to his father to settle his debts for him. Notwithstanding his father’s generosity, Broun sailed from Britain leaving behind him other creditors to whom he owed various sums of money. When the Parmelia docked at Cape Town in South Africa to take on fresh supplies, Broun borrowed farther to buy livestock and implements; evidently with the intention of increasing his eligibility for land grants in the Swan River Settlement.
Clearly, apart from his salary of £400 per year, Peter Broun had little or no independent income which would enable him to mitigate the difficulties the pioneers had to weather in the infant colony halfway across the world. Nonetheless this drawback did not prevent the young Colonial Secretary from endeavouring to live in gracious style complete with those comforts of life to which he had been accustomed. Fine china, beautiful glassware and linen and good, imported furniture were essential to his assessment of both his status as a gentleman and his social position in the settlement as second-in-command to the Governor. (Carter: 20)
BROUN, Peter Nicholas, b. 17.8.1797 (Guernsey), d. 5.11.1846 (Frem), son of Sir William & Annie, arr. 1.6.1829 per Parmelia with wife & 2 chd. m. 1824/5 (Scotland) Caroline SIMPSON b. 17.9.1807 (Scotland) d. 22.3.1881 (Scotland) dtr. of James. Chd. McBryde Anderson b. 1826 d. 1866, Ann M. b. 1828 d. 1912, Ellen Stirling b. 1829 d. 1875 (Frem) James William b. 1831 d. 1897, Son b. & d. 1833, Mary Susan L. b. 1835, John Carey & Caroline Henrietta b. & d. 1836, Charles Frederick b. 1839, Matilda Caroline Maud b. 1840, Jessie Souper b. 1842 d. 1873. 1st Col. Secretary Swan River Colony (known as Brown until 1844). Was granted 9626 acres selected at "Coulston". Bt. "Bassendean". His duties as Sec. & Clerk of the Leg. Council, Registrar & Colonial Treasurer made him second in importance to the Governor. The 178 volumes of official correspondence (in Battye Library) cover the period of his duties until his premature death. His wife took their chd. to England 14.1.1844 per Napoleon returning 6.1846 per John Bagshaw. His widow sailed for England 14.9.1848 per Hindoo burnt to the waterline
destroying the diaries & papers she proposed publishing. There was no
prospect of a pension & the family were in straitened circumstances, "Bassendean" having been sold to cover commitments. Commemorated in 1979 in a brass pavement plaque Perth for year 1844. (Erickson)
Bryan Cyril & F.I. Bray 1935, 'Peter Nicholas Brown (1797-1846): First Colonial Secretary of Western Australia (1829-1846)', Early Days, 2, 18, 1-32.
Carter, Jennie 1986, Bassendean: A Social History 1829-1979, Bassendean Town Council.
Wikipedia page for Broun.
Wikipedia page for the original Bassendean.
Garry Gillard | New: 20 January, 2015 | Now: 28 September, 2020