The Old Identities' Association was a forerunner of the Old Colonists' Association Ballarat. John Brooksbank was a very early arrival to Ballarat in September 1851, which was not long after the discovery of gold at Ballarat. J. Brooksbank lost a dog in 1857 "LOST from the Half Way House, Smythe's Creek Road, a black bloodhound and kangaroo dog. Anyone detaining him after this date will be prosecuted. J. BROOKSBANK" (Ballarat Star, 30 December 1857) Another very early identity in Ballarat, James Oddie, advertised the sale of J. Brooksbank's hotel in 1860: "JAMES ODDIE & CO. have received instructions from the Mortgagees, to sell I by auction at their rooms, Dana street, on Thursday, 20th September, at twelve o'clock, All that desirable properly known as the , Halfway House Hotel, Together with all that piece or parcel of ' land situate in the parish of Cardigan and county of Grenville, containing 34 acres 1 rood 26 ½ perches, part of allotment 1, section 6, of said parish, situated on the Ballarat and Smythesdale road, and recently occupied by Mr J. Brooksbank. The property consists of a spacious stone building one story high, strong and substantially built, the internal fittings and arrangements are neat and complete. The house possesses all requisite accommodation for a respectable country hotel. In addition are stockyards, stables &c, all well and securely fenced. Terms at Sale. (Ballarat Star, 20 September 1860) Four years later Brookbank was selling his hotel in Lyons Street Ballarat: "RARE OPPORTUNITY.-FOR SALE the BLACK BULL HOTEL, Lyons street. The proprietor of the above hotel being about entering into another line of business, begs to call the attention of parties looking for a safe and profitable investment, the above having undergone thorough repairs, and is now in good working order and doing a fair share of business. The conditions will, be half cash, balance six, nine, and twelve months. Apply, J. Brooksbank, proprietor, on the premises. (Ballarat Star, 22 October 1864)
Photographic portrait of John Brooksbank from a photographic montage held by the Ballarat Old Colonists' Association.