Ballina & Richmond River GenWeb

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Due to the appalling loss of vessels on the treacherous Richmond River bar, the Maratime Services Board appointed a 'pilot' to the bar. In April 1855, at the age of 39, Captain Easton took on the position. Captain Easton had sailed to the Richmond regularly & new the dangers of the shifting sandbar well.

George arrived in Sydney in 1842. After gaining his 'certificates' Captain Easton became involved in the North Coast trade industry as the Captain of the 'Margaret & Mary'. The salary was 125 pounds per year with the inclusion of a cottage for his family. George was advanced 5 pounds on his salary & given the authority to employ 5 men & was given two four-oared boats.

Captain Easton's job was to meet incoming boats & act as a guide across the bar. He gave directions to the captains of the vessels. Each day George rowed out to 'sound out' the bar & kept a log of all vessels coming in or going out. In 1862, no vessels were lost.

George married Margaret J. Fearns in 1853. Margaret drowned in 1859. George married Caroline Tuck in 1860 & they had 8 children. Their children included: Ann J (1861), George J (1862), Ellen Mary (1864), Elizabeth S. (1865), Harriett (1867), Kate (1869), Henry W (1872), Edmund James (1874). George J married Violet E. Williams in 1901. Ellen Mary married John Thomas Burless in 1882. Elizabeth S. married George H. Sheppard in 1884.

In 1873 Captain Easton purchased land behind the present 'Easton Park' at East Ballina & built a home. George retired at 71 years of age, after 33 years of service. George died in 1903 at the age of 87.

Captain George Easton contributed greatly to the safety & prosperity of the Ballina community. As there was no lighthouse until 1870, Captain Easton's contributions towards saving vessels, lives & cargoes, was paramount.

Copy of page originally transcribed by Mandy O'Neill (content remains unedited)
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