About Francis Brampton Wallis
Francis Brampton Wallis was the only son of Francis Beeby Wallis and May Hill, born at the Barton Lodge in Glenferrie, Melbourne, on 22 September 1886. Barton Lodge is a name of some significance as it was the seat of the family home situated two kilometres east of Kettering in Northamptonshire, England. Barton Lodge was also the birthplace of the Baptist Missionary Society where Brampton’s great aunt hosted its first meeting in 1792.
Brampton’s father, Francis Beeby Wallis, arrived in Melbourne in 1881, and married May Hill in 1885. Their first marital home at 4 Carnarvon Street, Brunswick, was named Barton Lodge. When Francis Beeby moved his family to Glenferrie, their new home was also given the same name.
Around the turn of the century, Francis Beeby and his family made their way to Burnie, where he and his wife became prominent members of the local Baptist Church. Both he and his wife became Sunday School teachers and before long Francis Beeby became deacon.
Francis continued to be engaged in the engineering trade, establishing a motor garage and bicycle workshop on Ladbroke Street in Burnie. He had already carved a reputation as an innovative engineer, having designed bicycles made to order for professional cyclists.
Francis Beeby previously operated a bicycle workshop on Latrobe Street in Melbourne and it was not unusual for customers to come into his workshop and request bicycles made to specification. One customer who had lost both legs in a train accident had a tricycle made with revolving levers and multiple chain gearing.
Francis Beeby also applied his technical expertise when he developed a railway tricycle, which he tested at the Spencer Street Station in Melbourne in 1888. The trial was successful and it was determined that a speed of 25 miles per hour could be attained.
It was in Francis Beeby’s workshop in Burnie where the first engine in the district was developed, although not a new undertaking as Francis Beeby had built several while in Melbourne. Introduced to this particular engine was a carburettor of Francis Beeby’s own design and manufacture. It had an adjustable, variable and self-cleansing spray with automatic air supply, all of which could be adjusted while the engine was running.
In 1910, Francis Beeby developed a steam roller, which was later employed by the Burnie City Council.
In 1918, Francis Beeby was engaged as a mechanical engineer for the installation of Burnie’s first refrigeration plant at the Emu Bay Butter Factory.
Like his father, Brampton was also an engineer but appeared to have abandoned his family in the mid 1920s. His wife, Eleanor Edith Malley, continued to reside at 12 Wilmot Street, only this time as a single mother raising a daughter born in 1914.
Until the outbreak of the Second World War, Brampton resided with his second wife, Emily Edith (maiden name unknown), at Bairnsdale, working as a mechanic. When Brampton enlisted in July 1942, he and his wife were residing on Whitehorse Road, Ringwood, but moved shortly thereafter to Middle Park closer to his workplace in Port Melbourne.
Although his enlistment application stated that he had 38 years experience as a motor mechanic, Brampton was given a position as crane driver. The same application listed Emily Edith as his next of kin and it also stated that he didn’t have any children.
Brampton worked for the Allied Works Council (AWC), a national body formed in 1942. Previously, in 1941, when US military staff toured the north of Australia, they weren’t impressed by what they saw. One general commented, “Australia is as underdeveloped as the central United States was before the Civil War, or even more so.” This prompted the formation of the AWC, which raised its own labour force known as Civil Construction Corps (CCC). At its peak, the CCC had an enrolment of more than 53,000 men. 
In June 1944, Brampton made claim for compensation after he fractured a bone in his heel while stacking cases with a crane. He received treatment at the Prince Henry’s Hospital and was off work for four months.
After the war, Brampton worked as a storeman and later retired to Carrum in the southeast of Melbourne. He died there in 1969.
 Australia 1942: In the Shadow of War edited by Peter John Dean with foreword by Kim Beazley, Cambridge University Press 2013
Wallis' workshop at Burnie
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