Thursday, 3 March 2016

Captain Francis ALLMAN (1780-1860)

Early Campbelltown history had a military start and what better way to commence our blog, than with a military man:
                      Photograph courtesy: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, ca 1821-1852.

Early days: Francis Allman was born in 1780 at County Clare, Ireland to English parents. At age 14 he joined the Queen’s Royal regiment as an ensign and over the next twenty years he served in conflicts in the Netherlands, Egypt and Alexandria. 

Military service: During this time he rose to the rank of captain. In the Peninsular Wars and as a captain in the 48th Regiment, Allman was severely injured in a sabre attack to his head and would have been killed if not for a fellow Masonic brother, a French officer coming to his aid. Sadly the French officer was later killed and Allman taken prisoner until the end of the war.  He was granted a life pension of £100 p.a. because of his injuries.

Family: Allman married Sarah, the daughter of the 48th Regiment’s paymaster in Gibraltar in 1807. This union produced eight children, 4 boys and 4 girls, the three eldest being born in the UK and the remaining five were born in Australia.

He and his family later immigrated to Australia, he in charge of the 48th Regiment and his wife and children as free persons aboard the ‘Minerva’ arriving in Sydney in April 1818.

Under orders from Governor Lachlan Macquarie, Allman was sent along with 44 soldiers and 60 convicts to establish a second penal settlement in NSW at Port Macquarie in 1821. Under his command Allman was appointed both Commandant and Magistrate. On a later visit to the new settlement Governor Macquarie, expressed his pleasure at the ‘clean and commodious’ establishment.

Allman was later appointed and served as Police Magistrate in several areas Newcastle, Maitland, Illawarra and Goulburn before coming to Campbelltown in July 1836.

Campbelltown: Apart for his Police Magistrate duties and during his tenure in Campbelltown he was responsible for overseeing the construction of the water reservoir and cattle tank, in 1838-39 by iron-gang convict labour. Water was a desperate necessity as there was no natural fresh water supply in the township of Campbelltown until the reservoir was built. The reservoir was first filled in 1840 and decommissioned in 1888. (Remains of this early water supply are still evident: In Hurley Park, bounded by Allman, George and Lithgow Streets).
Photograph courtesy: Campbelltown City Library. Local Studies Collection, Reservoir in 1886

Sadly their eldest daughter Sarah, died at Denham Court, July 1836 in her twentieth year and was buried, with headstone and surround, in St Peters Anglican cemetery, Campbelltown.

Lady Jane Franklin (second wife of Sir John Franklin, Governor of Van Dieman’s Land [Tasmania]) visited the Illawarra and Campbelltown in May 1839. The legacy of her extensive diaries gives a wonderful insight to our early area, sadly her comments on Captain Allman and his family were somewhat unkind.

Francis with his family moved to Berrima in February 1843 as Police Magistrate before retiring to Yass in June 1844 and dying there in his eightieth year in 1860, his wife Sarah passing way four years later. He was buried with full military honours.

‘Allman Street’ Campbelltown is named in his honour.

Further information: can be found in Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900 or by contacting Campbelltown District Family History Society Inc:

A more detailed article will be available in a future copy of the Ghostbuster Magazine.

Resources: Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900; Australian Dictionary of Biography; Trove (NLA); State Library of NSW; Ryerson Index; Diary of Lady Jane Franklin; Allman family website and Campbelltown City Library Service.

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