Charles James Nantes

Charles James Nantes (1817 – 1877) was born in Abbotsham, Devon, England to Henry Nantes and his third wife Patty Eliza Benson. Charles was the fifth of seven children. In 1836, at the age of 19 Charles Nantes was appointed clerk to Colonial Secretary Robert Gouger and sailed with him to South Australia aboard the Africaine.

Nantes was one of the party of men who attempted to hike across Kangaroo Island when the Africaine called in at the coast of the Island. Nantes and 3 others were found alive but the remaining two men in the party perished. In 1838-1839 he was recorded as clerk to the Accountant General of the colony. In about 1847 he appeared in Geelong, Victoria where he established himself as a businessman – wine and spirit merchant, lessor of premises, etc.  He was a councillor for Geelong and Mayor of Chilwell as well as the trustee for numerous public bodies including Geelong Grammar School. He married Helen Gibb Smith in 1848 at St Peters Church, Melbourne. By about 1860, he was declared bankrupt and ended his working life as a station master. He died in Melbourne on 27 July 1877.

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