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a skilful navigator, was commander of the frigate Supply. In January 1788, Phillip sent him to assist La Perouse to enter Botany Bay. The following month he conveyed King and the first settlers to Norfolk Island. On that voyage he discovered and named Lord Howe Island and Ball's Pyramid. He took part in several expeditions, was appointed captain in 1789, and at Phillips request captured an Aboriginal man whom Phillip wanted to persuade to live in the settlement.

In April 1790, with food running low, Ball was sent to Batavia and returned in October, having filled the Supply and chartered a Dutch ship, which arrived two months later with more provisions. In March 1791, he became ill with a fever caught in Batavia and requested leave to return to England. He sailed in November 1791, carrying the first live kangaroo to be seen in England and leaving behind a daughter, Anne Marie, by a convict woman, Sarah Partridge.

Ball returned to active duty in December 1792, and served in turn on the Ariadne, Daedalus and the Trident until October 1801. He was captain of the Zealand from February 1806 to May 1807. Aware of the rumblings of discontent during Blighs administration of NSW, he applied for the governorship but was rejected on the grounds that no charge was intended. He later served on the Gibraltar and Christian VII, and was retired on half pay until June 1814, when he was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Blue.

He died on 22 October 1818, leaving a widow, Georgina Henrietta. Mt Lidgbird at Lord Howe Island, Ball's Bay at Norfolk Island and Ball's Point in Sydney Harbour are all named after him.

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