Broome, Frederick Napier (DNB01)

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BROOME, Sir FREDERICK NAPIER (1842–1896), colonial governor, born in Canada on 18 Nov. 1842, was the eldest son of Frederick Broome, a missionary in Canada, and afterwards rector of Kenley in Shropshire, by his wife, Catherine Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Lieutenant-colonel Napier. He was educated at Whitchurch grammar school in Shropshire, and in 1857 emigrated to Canterbury in New Zealand, where he engaged in sheep farming. In 1868 he published 'Poems from New Zealand' (London, 8vo), and in 1869 'The Stranger from Seriphos,' London, 8vo. In 1869 he returned to England, and was almost immediately employed by the 'Times' as a general contributor, reviewer, and art critic. He also Wrote prose and verse for the' Cornhill,' 'Macmillan's,' and other magazines. In 1870 Broome was appointed secretary of the fund for the completion of St. Paul's Cathedral; in 1873 secretary to the royal commission on unseaworthy ships; and in 1875 colonial secretary of Natal, whither he proceeded as a member of Sir Garnet (now Viscount) Wolseley's special mission. In 1877 he was nominated colonial secretary of the Isle of Mauritius, and in 1880 he became lieutenant-governor. While administering the government of the island as secretary he earned the approbation of the home government, as well as the thanks of the South African colonies, by his prompt despatch of the greater part of the garrison to South Africa after the disaster of Isandhlwana. In 1882 he was nominated governor of Western Australia.

At that time Western Australia was still a crown colony. Broome turned his attention to the development of its natural wealth. The first years of his administration were marked by a rapid extension of railways and telegraphs, and increasing prosperity was accompanied by a growing desire for representative government. Broome warmly espoused the colonial view, and accompanied his despatches with urgent recommendations to grant a constitution such as the legislature of the colony requested. In 1889, when the bill was blocked in the home parliament in consequence of difficulties attending the transfer of crown lands, Broome himself proceeded to London with other delegates to urge the matter on the colonial office. On 21 Oct. 1890 Western Australia received its constitution, and Broome's term of office came to an end. He left the colony amid great popular demonstrations of gratitude for his services.

He proceeded to the West Indies, where he was appointed acting governor of Barbadoes, and afterwards governor of Trinidad. He died in London on 26 Nov. 1896 at 51 Welbeck Street, and was buried at Highgate cemetery on 30 Nov. On 21 June 1865 he married Mary Anne, eldest daughter of Walter J. Stewart, island secretary of Jamaica, and widow of Sir George Robert Barker [q. v.]

[Times, 28 Nov. 1896; Men and Women of the Time, 1895; Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage.]

E. I. C.