Barrallier, Francis Louis (DNB00)

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BARRALLIER, FRANCIS LOUIS or FRANCIS (1773?–1853), lieutenant-colonel, colonial explorer and surveyor, was appointed ensign in the New South Wales corps (afterwards the old 102nd foot), 14 Aug. 1800, and undertook the duties of aide-de-camp, engineer and artillery officer in the settlement, to the command of which Captain P. G. King, R.N., succeeded about the same time. In December of that year the Lady Nelson, armed schooner—a small vessel of sixty tons, fitted for coast service with sliding keels on Admiral Schanks's principle—arrived from England, under command of Lieutenant James Grant, R.N., being the first vessel to pass through Bass's Straits from the westward. The Lady Nelson was at once ordered on a survey of these straits, and Ensign Barrallier was embarked in her as surveyor. The geographical results are given in the following charts, which will be found in the British Museum: Chart of Western Port and the coast to Wilson's promontory, forming part of the north side of Bass's Straits, surveyed by Ensign Barrallier, 1801–3; chart of Bass's Straits, showing tracks and discoveries of vessels between 28 Sept. 1800 and 9 March 1803, by Ensign Barrallier. He was also employed in the Lady Nelson in a survey of Hunter's river, which was found to be a harbour having three distinct rivers. Whilst they were engaged on this service the explorers were surrounded by natives, and narrowly escaped losing their lives. Barrallier, with nine soldiers of his regiment and some Sydney natives, also made an attempt to cross the Blue Mountains in 1802. The party was absent four months, and suffered many hardships, but was unsuccessful. Soon afterwards, when the employment of officers of the New South Wales corps on non-regimental duties was forbidden by the home authorities, Governor King recorded in the ‘general orders,’ by which the settlement was then regulated, his sense of ‘the services heretofore rendered by Ensign Barrallier in discharging the duties of military engineer and artillery officer, superintending the military defences, batteries, and cannon of the settlement; in addition to which he has most assiduously and voluntarily discharged the duties of colonial engineer and surveyor, to the advancement of the natural history and geography of the settlement.’ Barrallier was promoted to a lieutenancy in the 90th foot in 1805, which he joined at Antigua, where he was again employed in surveying. For his services as an assistant engineer at the capture of Martinique in 1809, he was promoted to a company in the 101st foot. He served on the staff of Lieutenant-general Sir George Beckwith at the capture of Guadaloupe in 1810, and was entrusted with the design and erection of a monument to the British who fell there. In 1812, by order of the Duke of York, he undertook a very elaborate military survey of the island of Barbadoes, including the determination of the latitudes and longitudes of the chief points on the coast, a work in which he was engaged for five years, with the exception of a short time when he served with the quartermaster-general's department of the force that recaptured Guadaloupe in 1815. When the 101st regiment was brought home and disbanded at Chatham in 1817, Barrallier was placed on half-pay, and, after brief periods of full pay in other corps, finally retired on half-pay of the rifle brigade in 1833. He became a brevet lieutenant-colonel in 1840, and died at Commercial Road, London, 11 June 1853, at the age of 80.

[New South Wales General Orders, 1791–1806, Sydney, 1802–6 (a copy of this book, the first printed in Australia, is in the British Museum); Grant's Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery in N. S. Wales, 1803; Army Lists; Obituary Notice in Colburn's United Service Magazine, July 1853. Many of the Australian details in the latter are not correct according to the colonial records.]

H. M. C.