1874 - 1965







Hubert Trotman
Hubert Trotman



If it wasn't for Eleanor Smith, the name Hubert Trotman may have just been a footnote in history.

In a series of interviews with Hubert late in his life Eleanor recorded his story and wrote the book 'The Beckoning West' about Trotman's life. It is one of the most important books written about an individual in our history and one of the most fascinating.

Trotman was one of the unsung heroes of our history. Never achieving the fame of a Canning or a Forrest, he never the less made a major contribution to the development of Western Australia and was one of our best bushmen and explorers.

Born in Victoria in 1874 to what would be a prosperous family, Hubert felt the urge to leave the safety of the home property and make a name for himself.


In 1893 he came to Western Australia and after working in a series of jobs he landed himself a position (1894) in a surveying party lead by Brazier and Newman (The same Newman that the iron ore town was named for).

This survey took him to Coolgardie and then north through what would become one of the world's richest goldfields to Mt. Magnet.

The second expedition was lead by Aubrey Newman with a surveyor called Rudall as second in command. Newman fell ill and subsequently died and Rudall took over and completed the survey.


Hubert Trotman
This picture has sometimes been incorrectly identified as Alfred Canning.


Almost as soon as he returned to civilisation, Trotman was appointed as second in command of a rescue party searching for two lost men (Wells and Jones) from the Calvert expedition. Sadly help did not arrive in time and both men were found dead.

Hubert took a break and went east for a while before returning to W.A. and meeting with Alfred Canning and started work managing a property for him near Albany. Hubert married Maude Nankivell (whom he met while in the east) and their first son (Cyril) was born.

After three years on the farm Hubert joined Alfred Canning, who had been appointed to survey the route of a rabbit proof fence. Hubert was appointed second in command and the farm was sold with Maude returning to Bendigo until the survey was complete.


Hubert Trotman
Hubert Trotman's Travels in W.A.


When the survey was finished Hubert joined Canning again for the well sinking expedition and once that was completed he settled down to a more sedate life with his wife and family. He lived to see the state move into the modern era and witnessed the great changes taking place but all his life the memories of his time in the outback remained vivid.

V.W. Fyfe (one time Surveyor General of Western Australia) remarked of Trotman: "After 45 years of active service with the state government he retired in 1939... ...His story provides an inspiring record of courage, ability, and unselfish determination to succeed no matter how great the difficulties, nor how severe the hardships."




1874 - Born.

1893 - Came to Western Australia.

1894 - Joined the West Australian Lands and Survey Dept.

1894 - Joined a survey party with Brazier and Newman.

1896 - Invited by Newman to join another expedition.

1901 - Joined Alfred Canning as second in command of the expedition surveying a route for the rabbit proof fence.

1908 - Joined Alfred Canning again to survey the stock route now known as the Canning Stock Route.

1939 - Retired from government service.

1965 - Died.


Links to more information:


Hubert Stanslake Trotman




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