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John Allan - what did he do wrong?

My great grandfather, John Allan, was born into a fairly affluent family in Islington, Middlesex on 9 May 1849. After marrying Sarah Ann Martin in March 1878, he came to Australia, where he eventually died as a penniless alcoholic in 1912. Apparently he was a "remitance man", who was sent money from his family to ensure he didn't return to England. He claimed to have been a "mariner" and was, in fact, living in a seamen's hostel at the time of his marriage but I can't find any record of him in the UK maritime records. Any help finding what caused his fall from grace would be most appreciated.
- jeffbird
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