Collet Barker

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Collet Barker (31 December 1784 – 30 April 1831) was a military officer and explorer. He explored areas of South Australia, Western Australia and Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory


Barker was born in Hackney, he lived in Newbury as a child. He joined the British Army in 23 January 1806 as an ensign by purchase in the 39th regiment of foot, becoming a lieutenant in 1809 and captain in 1825. Barker was a veteran of the Peninsular Wars, serving in Sicily, Portugal, Spain and France. He also served in Canada and Ireland before embarking with his regiment the 39th Regiment of Foot 1st Battalion on the prison hulk Phoenix arriving in Sydney 18 July 1828. On 13 September 1828 he arrived as the new commandant of Fort Wellington the settlement at Raffles Bay in the Northern Territory, and the following year was commander at King George's Sound in Western Australia. Barker was an excellent administrator and proved to be an humane friend to the local indigenous people of both commands. He recorded Aboriginal place names, people, traditions and beliefs which would have been lost entirely. Had he lived he was to be sent to New Zealand's north island as first resident by Governor Darling because of the feared Māori unrest; his role was to conciliate. In 1831, on the recommendation of Charles Sturt, who had discovered the shouled mouth of the Murray River the previous year, Barker was sent to explore the east coast of Gulf St Vincent in South Australia to see if another...
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