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Bayley, Charles (1813–1875)

Yesterday was consigned to the grave the body of one who in a quiet, unostentatious way has done much for the advancement of Tasmania. Captain Charles Bayley was no ordinary man. Of great perseverance and indomitable energy, he was successful in whatever he undertook; while so long as the acquisition of fortune was a necessity or an object, his enterprising spirit was seldom at a loss for a new field of industry, which he pursued with such unflinching integrity and honesty of purpose, that no one ever grudged Charles Bayley his good fortune; certainly no one ever had occasion to complain that he had attained his end to the disadvantage of any with whom he had dealings.

Captain Bayley was a native of Essex, and at an early age devoted himself to a seafaring life. He came to Tasmania when a mere boy. He speedily worked his way to the height of the ambition that guided his young life, and commenced sailing from Tasmania as a master and part owner so long back as the year 1838. In that or the following year he commenced what he for some time continued at, conveying to Port Phillip in his ship, the Wallaby, stock and produce for the early settlers in Victoria from Tasmania, and other places. He was early, long, and closely mixed up with the first settlement of Victoria, and had he chosen he might have had his pick of some of the choicest lots where now stands the city of Melbourne, or of fine properties in the country for a merely nominal consideration, but he preferred retaining his home in Tasmania, that has not dealt unkindly with him.

He left the intercolonial trade to enter on that of whaling, which he did as master and part owner. His career in this capacity was one of singular and almost uninterrupted success. He sailed in the Fortitude as part owner, and while in command of her, made a most miraculous escape. A boat in which he was in was swamped and capsized. All hands clung to the boat, till one after another the crew were washed away, he having been saved by getting his finger into a plug-hole in the boat, to which, his finger swollen, he was found clinging in an insensible condition, after he had floated for hours in the cold latitudes off the south coast of New Zealand. He next commanded the Runnymede, which was built for him, and of which he was part owner for many years. He then, with his brother, became sole owners, and remained so at the time of his death. While pursuing his own occupation as a whaler, and afterwards, he continued increasing his interest in shipping, and was part owner of several whalers, and of a number of other vessels. He abandoned a seafaring life some twenty years ago; and on the departure of Bishop Nixon, became owner of the beautiful residence of Runnymede, where he died. To the last he retained a large interest in shipping, and no man in Hobart Town has perhaps done more towards promoting the shipping of Hobart Town and increasing the importance of the port. When a master in command, his vessels were always remarkable for their admirable fitting, and justified the pride he took in them. As an owner, he was equally anxious to have everything connected with his vessels neat, taut, and reliable, Both as a master and as an owner he was remarkable for his considerate care for the seamen under him, and while laxity of discipline was the last thing he would have tolerated, he was respected and beloved by those under him. He commanded without authority, and he was obeyed with- out fear. Captain Bayley studiously avoided all interference with public affairs. His private life was exemplary, and secured him general esteem. As a man of business he was punctual and systematic, never doing anything in a hurry; always doing everything well. His tact and discrimination pointed him out as invaluable in the management of such commercial companies as he was connected with. He never rushed hastily to conclusions; but, if slow to decide, he was firm of purpose when once he had made up his mind, and thus, Captain Bayley, who has been for years a member of the Executive directory of the Derwent and Tamar Insurance Company, and of the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company, commanded the confidence of the shareholders, and contributed in no small degree to the present position of their successful enterprises. For some months he had been missed from his usual haunts. His medical attendants had long despaired of his life, yet his wife preceded him, she having died some seven weeks ago. They had several children, all of whom are dead. He retained his faculties to the last, and though for some days the end was hourly looked for, his consciousness never deserted him. A few hours before his death on Wednesday afternoon, he took a formal leave of his friends, and departed as if proceeding on an ordinary journey. Death had no terrors for him, and when he passed away, he left few peers in his walk of life. His presence and assistance will be missed at the event of next week. He was connected with the first getting up of the annual regatta, and for some thirty years has been uninterruptedly a member of committee, and has generally discharged all or some of the duties of starter, judge, or umpire, and in that as in everything else, he was never satisfied with anything short of complete success.

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'Bayley, Charles (1813–1875)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bayley-charles-13656/text24426, accessed 15 September 2019.

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