Davy managed to interest two railway companies in his telegraph but left England for Australia before developing a practical system or completing negotiations. Eventually, his patent was bought by the Electric Telegraph Co. in 1847 for £600.
Why did he suddenly leave England, just when it seemed as though his telegraph might be successfully developed? A few years earlier he had married Mary Minshull, but the marriage had irretrievably broken down and Mary Davy tried unsuccessfully to divorce him.
Her extravagance and Davy's lack of business sense led to mounting debts, some of which his father settled for him. But as Edward Davy wrote, "what with my wife's riots at the door ... & with this added to writs, summonses, etc. you will not much wonder that I should wish to get out of the way of it...."
In April 1839 he set sail for Australia. Once in Australia, he tried various pursuits. He edited the Adelaide Examiner for three years, built up a small medical practice and for a time ran the Yatala copper smelting works, where he developed a process for copper refining. Eventually, he settled down to practice medicine and engage in local politics in Malmsbury where he served three times as Mayor. He married twice in Australia and was survived by numerous children.
Our archives hold a collection of material pertaining to Edward Davy and his work on the telegraph. It consists of records relating to his first ideas for the electric telegraph including his early sketches and correspondence recording his efforts to secure agreements with businesses. The John Joseph Fahie collection holds some papers Fahie collected in an attempt to get recognition for Davy's work.