While continuing to mine on the Abrolhos Islands, Florance Broadhurst's men unearthed the camp of the survivors of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship Zeewijk (1727) on Gun Island. Florance had them collect the remains and, after making a catalogue of them, presented the lot to the State.
In thinking they were from the VOC ship Batavia (1629), Florance had a copy of Onglukie Voyagie vant Schip Batavia translated. He then donated it as one of the State of WA’s rarest literary treasures.
When excerpts were published in the Western Mail the VOC wrecks became the stuff of local legend. Described in 1901 as ‘the most interesting things to be seen in the museum’, the relics Florance Broadhurst’s men had collected attracted immense public, academic and political interest.
The young Henrietta Drake-Brockman learnt of these wrecks while playing with her childhood friends, the Broadhurst children. As an adult, she wrote books on the subject, and together with author Hugh Edwards led others to the eventual discovery of the Batavia wreck.
After losing the Abrolhos Islands guano monopoly, Florance suffered a broken arm searching for guano on the islands off Esperance. Florance then drowned while fishing on the Swan River, due to the effects of an overdose of laudanum, an opium-based medication that had been prescribed for his pain.
Tragedy struck the family again when, after a brilliant career as a London surgeon and accomplished violinist, Charles Henson Broadhurst committed suicide over an affair of the heart.
Kitty the Suffragette
Catherine Elime Broadhurst, the youngest girl in the family, carried on Eliza’s interest in the growing European women’s movement.
She joined the St. George Reading Circle, a group of 12 early feminists, who later formed the Karrakatta Club. It was one of the world’s oldest exclusively female clubs and became the major force in obtaining suffrage (the vote) for Western Australian women, ahead of all bar two other places across the globe.
Back in London, Kitty became a suffragette. She tied herself to the railings of Parliament House in London, was imprisoned for throwing a stone through a post office window during a protest, went on hunger strike, and had to be force-fed to be kept alive.
Sarah was feted as one of the colony's most beautiful and accomplished young women.
Percy became stationmaster at Roebourne.
Reginald, the last child to be born into the Broadhurst clan, became an electrician at Windsor Castle.