Brunker was born in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, son of John Nixon Brunker, a wine and spirit merchant, and his wife Mary Ann, née McGreavy. On 22 November 1880 Brunker was elected to represent East Maitland in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, a seat he held until 16 July 1904. Brunker was Secretary for Lands under Sir Henry Parkes from July to August 1888. When the last Parkes Government was formed in March 1889 Brunker was reappointed to the Lands Department, and held a seat in the Cabinet until Oct 1891, when he retired with his colleagues
- McMinn, W. G. "Brunker, James Nixon (1832–1910)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Mr James Nixon BRUNKER (1832 - 1910)". Parliament of New South Wales.
- Mennell, Philip (1892). " Brunker, Hon. James Nixon". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource