He Only Ever Went To Sea Pt.2
After the birth of Stanhope the family left Jersey for Cornwall in England, taking ownership of a large farm at St Anne’s outside the township of Saltash. It was here that the younger children John and Mary Helen were born. In early 1877, Frederick died after contracting typhoid and his death was followed by Mary’s a few months later leaving their four children as orphans. James, at 14, was the eldest. The children were placed in the care of their guardian and uncle, Capt. James Hamilton of Brownhall, their mother’s brother.
On being sent to live with their relatives in Ireland, the children divided their time between living at St Ernan’s house and Brownhall. Finally came the time to decide their futures and young James chose the sea as his career. On the 31st December 1877 he was apprenticed to Shaw Savill and Co. of London – he was not yet 15 years old. A reference was later made by his aunt Helen (Hamilton) de Veer in New York some years later :
“My father, John Hamilton, paid all those expenses for Jimmie“.
After six months of a very strict, and sometimes cruel, apprenticeship James was having second thoughts about his chosen career but his uncle James told him…”No my boy, you chose the sea and you shall stay there“.
For the next four years young James was taught “the business of a seaman”, and as an apprentice was provided with…”sufficient meat, drink, lodging, medicine, medical and surgical assistance. ‘Pay’ to the said apprentice – ‘no wages’. ” A tough life indeed for a young teenage boy, but on the 20th April 1882 in London he completed his training at last…
“We testify that the within specified Indenture has been faithfully fulfilled and we can testify to the Honesty and Sobriety of Augustus James Hamilton Courbarron. Signed…Shaw Savill & Co.”
He was not yet 19 years old. On 23rd October 1882, as 4th Officer, he joined the S.S Hauroto, a vessel of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. This company later became part of the P&O Group. On this same ship in 1884 he was made 3rd Officer, and in 1888 2nd Officer. His career was progressing at full steam.
In approximately 1882 he officially moved residence (not that he ever spent much time on land), first to New Zealand and then to Sydney Australia. Towards the late 1880’s he met his future wife and mother of his children.
Mary Morrissey was a Catholic girl born in 1867 in Killarney, Ireland. Her father, Edmund, was a farmer and before leaving Ireland as part of the Assisted Immigrants Scheme in 1881, it was said that the family had lived five miles from Blarney Castle in Co. Cork – this has since proven to be false as no existing records show the surname of Morrissey being resident in the area. Mary arrived in Sydney in July 1881 on the ‘Peterborough’ with her parents, Edmund and Honora, and eight brothers and sisters.
James (Augustus) and Mary’s first child, Mildred (my great grandmother), was born in 1889, her birth being registered in error under the surname ‘Barron’, followed by James Edward in 1891. They finally married on the 23rd August 1893 at St Davids Church of England in Sydney. Even though Mary had married a man from a long established Protestant family her children were all raised in the Catholic Church.
Two more children were born; Mary Helen (Mollie) in 1898 when the couple lived at ‘The Grove’ in Paddington, and Frederick Hamilton in 1900 when they lived in a house in Birrell Street Bondi they had nicknamed ‘St Ernans’. Following Freddie’s birth the family moved to a house in 72 Anglesea Street Bondi, where they lived until Augustus’ death in 1904.
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