Capt Downton was from Somerset. As far as I know he sailed the seven seas transporting goods and passengers, as Capt Lister did. While he spent his working life at sea, at heart he seems to have been a landlubber. My father used to tell me how much his uncle knew about the land. He had made a study of it. He must have plied his trade up and down the east coast of Aust, and who can blame him for settling in a beauty spot like Eden?
Oral tradition in the family says that Carey met his wife at St Audries in Somerset and that is the origin of St Audries as the name of their home in Eden, NSW. Unfortunately for those who aspire to grandeur, St Audries is also the name of a bay on the Somerset coast and a farm between the grand house and the bay (a distance of about 1 mile). Maritime records show Carey Downton acquired an "Only Mate" Board of Trade certificate on 26 Oct 1882, and a Master's certificate on 5 Dec 1887. Both were issued in Sydney. He is shown as born in 1861 in Watchet, Somerset. (Watchet is a port about 3 miles west of St Audries Bay, and is considered to be the place Coleridge wrote
Grandson John Downton recalls:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.) Carey worked for the Illawarra Steamship Co—a shipping line that serviced the Australian coastline. However, The Advertiser of 17 January 1927 reports the arrival of the Kent in Adelaide from Liverpool under the command of Captain Downton. (Is this the same person?)
Sukie Hunter notes that Carey and wife visited UK in 1930, possibly to visit Jane's widowed sister, Ellen Bryant. They are listed as leaving London for Sydney on the Balranald on 10 October 1930, last address in the UK "Willow Brook, West Buckland, Wellington, Somerset", country of last permanent residence "England", country of intended future permanent residence "Australia." Carey is described as retired, 69 and his wife, Jane Ann, is 72.
My grandfather would usually be outside in his garden and I would often come across him singing
The Bega Budget of 26 September 1914 reports:
Shenandoah, the beautiful old shanty that was the song of the Shenandoah River. Arriving some time before the family, Grandad and I would talk a while. His home on Seven Acres at the time was an unlined shed. He had some very peculiar ways or it seemed to me that way. He would buy or bake bread but would never eat it fresh. Instead he would hang it up in the rafters in sugar bags until it was quite hard and then he would eat it. A throw back of the old days aboard a ship I suppose. Bananas would never be eaten until they turned positively black. Probably for the same reason. Something I could never come at.
Often too, he would be warming milk to get the special heated cream for Devonshire Teas. Milk then was not homogenised, pasteurised or any other ised. It was straight from the cow. I can also remember he had problems with possums in the shed. The seven acres of land was the tail end of a beautiful property that he owned called St Audries that was in possession of the family for years. It was handed down by my aunt to another family branch who sold it to outsiders. The Downtons were very disappointed that the house was no longer in the family as the one thing we were indoctrinated with was a sense of family history which was traced back to the doomsday book in 1100 nearly 1000 years ago. St Audries is on the slope of a hill overlooking the whole of Twofold Bay. The house was trimmed in green and the roof is also green. Viewed from the Nethercote Road it looks so peaceful with Mount Imlay in the background and the forest around it. The whole property was once fenced with palings as they did in the old days. Grandad also had a property way out the back beyond Eden called
Gooey-Ann and near the Victorian border which he had cleared but was unable to maintain it. As everything does in Eden it became overgrown and he finally had to give up the holding.
I remember Grandad’s demise. The poor old bloke went out chipping out bracken fern and injured his foot putting a spike through it. In those days the standard treatment was to pour iodine on it and forget it. This treatment unfortunately did not help and gangrene set in, and near the end he was in agony. He was taken from his beloved Eden to Sydney for specialist treatment. I was told his leg was packed in ice as they did then but it was much too much for him and that’s where he died.
Mr. Carey Downton, local agent for the Illawarra S.S. Coy, who with his wife has been away on a six months’ holiday in England arrived home by the Eden on Tuesday night.