Austin was a convict who had been transported to Port Phillip in HMS Calcutta in 1803 and then transported to Van Diemen's Land in 1804. His crime was the theft of beehives valued at thirty shillings and he built Austins's cottage on his release from local stone. He named the cottage and farm after Baltonsborough the village of his birth in Somerset, England. In 1816 James Austin and his cousin James Earl established the first trans Derwent ferry service which remained the main transport route from Hobart Town to Launceston until completion of the Bridgewater causeway in 1838.
During this same year the Land Commissioners in their report on the survey of the road from Hobart to Launceston complained of the delays involved in crossing the river. They were of the opinion that the ferry owners did very well out of their business and could therefore afford to offer a far better service at a lesser expense to the user. They recommended a bridge be built from Black Snake - this bridge, however, did not eventuate and the ferry service continued to be a very profitable business for at least the next ten years.
In mid 1829, home sick for England, Goodridge left the colony and the lease of the ferries was taken over by Solomon and Josiah Austin - James Austin's nephews. With the death of their uncle in 1831 ownership of the ferries became theirs. The Bridgewater Causeway was opened in 1836. The ferry service soon proved to be a far less lucrative business.