Broome, Frederick

Canada/Britain, (1842-1896)


  1. You’ve heard of St. George and the dragon,
  2. Or seen them; and what can be finer,
  3. In silver or gold on a flagon,
  4. With Garrard or Hancock designer?
  6. Though we know very little about him
  7. (Saints mostly are shrouded in mystery),
  8. Britannia can’t well do without him,
  9. He sets off her shillings and history.
  11. And from truth let such tales be defended,
  12. Bards at least should bestow them their blessing,
  13. As a rich sort of jewel suspended
  14. On History when she’s done dressing.
  16. Some would have her downstairs to the present,
  17. In plain facts fresh from critical mangle;
  18. But let the nymph make herself pleasant,
  19. Here a bracelet, and there with a bangle
  21. Such as Bold Robin Hood or Red Riding,
  22. Who peasant and prince have delighted,
  23. Despite of all social dividing,
  24. And the times of their childhood united.
  26. Shall New Zealand have never a fable,
  27. A rhyme to be sung by the nurses,
  28. A romance of a famous Round Table,
  29. A “Death of Cock Robin” in verses?
  31. Or shall not a scribe be found gracious
  32. With pen and with parchment, inditing
  33. And setting a-sail down the spacious
  34. Deep day stream some suitable writing;
  36. Some action, some name so heroic
  37. That its sound shall be death to her foemen,
  38. And make her militia as stoic
  39. As St. George made the Cressy crossbowmen;
  41. A royal device for her banners,
  42. A reverse for her coinage as splendid,
  43. An example of primitive manners
  44. When all their simplicity’s ended?
  46. Here it is, ye isles Antipodean!
  47. Leave Britain her great Cappadocian;
  48. I’ll chant you a latter-day paean,
  49. And sing you a saint for devotion,
  51. Who on horseback slew also a monster,
  52. Though armed with no sharp lance to stab it,
  53. Though no helmet or hauberk ensconced her,
  54. But only a hat and a habit.
  56. This dame, for her bravery sainted,
  57. Set up for all times’ adoration,
  58. With her picture in poetry painted,
  59. Was a lady who lived on a station.
  61. Her days–to proceed with the story
  62. In duties domestic dividing,
  63. But, or else she had never won glory,
  64. She now and then went out a-riding.
  66. It chanced, with two knights at her stirrup,
  67. She swept o’er the grass of the valleys,
  68. Heard the brooks run; and heard the birds chirrup,
  69. When a boar from the flax-bushes sallies.
  71. The cavaliers leaped from their horses;
  72. As for weapons, that day neither bore them;
  73. So they chose from the swift watercourses
  74. Heavy boulders, and held them before them.
  76. They gave one as well to the lady:
  77. She took it, and placed it undaunted
  78. On the pommel, and balanced it steady,
  79. While they searched where the animal haunted.
  81. A bowshot beyond her were riding
  82. The knights, each alert with his missile,
  83. But in doubt where the pig went a-hiding,
  84. For they had not kept sight of his bristle.
  86. When–the tale needs but little enlarging
  87. One turned round by chance on his courser;
  88. To his horror, the monster was charging
  89. At the lady, as if to unhorse her.
  91. But his fears for her safety were idle,
  92. No heart of a hero beat stouter:
  93. She poised the stone, gathered her bridle–
  94. A halo, ’tis said, shone about her.
  96. With his jaws all extended and horrid,
  97. Fierce and foaming, the brute leapt to gore her,
  98. When she dropped the rock full on his forehead,
  99. And lo! he fell dying before her.
  101. There he lay, bristling, tusky, and savage;
  102. Such a mouth, as was long ago written;
  103. Made Calydon lonely with ravage,
  104. By such teeth young Adonis was bitten.
  106. Then praise to our new Atalanta,
  107. Of the chase and of song spoils be brought her,
  108. Whose skill and whose strength did not want a
  109. Meleager to finish the slaughter.
  111. She is sung, and New Zealand shall take her,
  112. Thrice blest to possess such a matron,
  113. And give thanks to its first ballad-maker,
  114. Who found it a saint for a patron.

 Lady Mary Anne Barker. Station Life in New Zealand. London: Macmillan and Co. (1870).

Sir Frederick Napier Broome KCMG, Canada/Britain (1842-1896), was a colonial administrator in the British Empire. He serving in Natal, Mauritius, Western Australia, Barbados and Trinidad. The Western Australian towns of Broome and Broomehill are named after him.

Broome married his wife, Lady Mary Anne Broome (1831-1911), aka: Lady Mary Anne Barker or Lady Barker, in 1865. The couple sailed for New Zealand that same year. They moved to a sheep station and homestead, “Broomielaw”, located in the Province of Canterbury, South Island of New Zealand. It was owned and run by Broome and a partner. The couple remained there for three years. After they lost more than half their sheep in the winter of 1867, Broome sold out and the couple returned to England in 1869.

In London, and still calling herself “Lady Barker” per her first husband, Mary Anne became a correspondent for The Times. She also published two books of verse, and in 1870, she published her first book Station Life in New Zealand, a collection of her letters home.

Broome was also a regular contributor to The Times for the next six years. He was the newspaper’s primary correspondent at royal occasions and many political occasions. He leveraged this work, as well as his abilities and affiliations into various home and colonial secretarial positions. His career as a colonial administrator developed from these.

The poem above, from Station Life in New Zealand is a amusing recounting of actual events surrounding a wild boar the couple encountered in New Zealand. Mary Anne’s letter home says: “I coaxed [Fredrick] that evening to write me a doggerel version of the story for [your] little boys, which I send you to show them…” [DES-08/15]

Additional information:

A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.