Initially this web site was centred around the Illawarra Byrnes branch of the Hibbs family who are descended from First Fleet HMS Sirus Able Seaman Peter Hibbs and his 2nd Fleet Convict wife Mary Pardoe, via their fifth child, and only daughter Sarah Hibbs who married Francis Byrne, a convict from Ireland.


In fact, there have also been descendants of Peter and Mary’s fourth child, William Hibbs, in the Illawarra,  and a number of William’s descendants attended the March 2015 Commemoration on Norfolk Island. And now our web site has been extended to include descendants from other branches of the Hibbs family who attended the March 2015 Hibbs Reunion on Norfolk Island for the Commemoration of the 1790 Wrecking of the HMS Sirius. 

However, almost all of the Illawarra “Hibbs family” are descended from four of Sarah and Francis Byrne‘s 11 children. More details can be found here.

This Illawarra Byrnes-Hibbs-Smith site is based on research by my husband David John Christian – a great great great great grandson of First Fleet Sailor Peter Hibbs. David commenced to seriously investigate what started out as just a Byrnes family focus in 1997, a year after his father’s passing in 1996. This was nearly 100 years after the Illawarra arrival of Peter Hibbs’ descendant, Arthur James “Jim” Byrnes – Jim Byrnes was in fact the first Hibbs member to come to the Illawarra – in 1893.

Norfolk Replica

Norfolk” Replica at Bass and Flinders Centre –  Georgetown, Tasmania – 2008 (Kerrie Anne Christian)

Along the way, David discovered that his great grandfather, former Bank Street Wollongong resident, Arthur James “Jim” Byrnes, was also a great grandson of the First Fleet Flagship HMS Sirius Able Seaman, Peter Hibbs. And that Peter Hibbs had been in the first Norfolk Island Colony (1), 2), (3) & (4),  and was the  Master of the Norfolk, used by Matthew Flinders in his exploratory circumnavigation of Tasmania in 1798.

Back on the mainland after all of that, Peter Hibbs became a Pioneer of the Hawkesbury areaWe had not known of this a decade earlier during the 1988 Bicentennial year. David’s father, “Jack”John Godfrey Christian (Tiearney), and David’s uncle, Barney Christian (Tiearney), had been totally unaware of their family connection with Peter Hibbs – the story long lost over the years.

Illawarra descendants of  First Fleet Sailor, Peter Hibbs,  and his 2nd Fleet Convict wife, Mary Pardoe are descended either from :

  • their 4th child, William Hibbs and his wife Elizabeth Woodbury (a  granddaughter of 1st Fleet Convict Matthew Everingham), viz the Davis family who have been in the Illawarra for at 60  least years – including the controversial trade union and political activist Stan Woodbury and prominent local historian Dr Joseph DavisOR
  • their 5th child and only daughter, Sarah Hibbs and her husband Francis Byrne, an Irish Convict – via their sons – James, Francis, Andrew and Richard Byrne.

A  skeleton summary of the Hibbs Family Tree can be seen here – and the huge  Hibbs family tree, thus far, is available on request by email : kcact@tpg.com.au and .


 During David’s research he found a great deal of information on the Byrnes branch of the Hibbs Family in  “Sailing on the Hibbs Line“, which was compiled by Allen Maunder as a self-published  400 page book in 1995. Allen’s wife Noelene is also descended from Sarah and Francis Byrne, but is not in the Illawarra branch of the Byrnes. Allen’s book is the “Bible” of nearly all things Hibbs – invaluable in cross-checking facts and stories. Although some of the details of the Christian – Tiearney descendants resulted from other relatives’ fading memories. Unfortunately Allen had not been able to locate David’s father, whom he calls William Christian (p 269), rather than “Jack” John Godfrey Christian. In the Byrnes’ family, Jack had been known as “Bill”. And consequently no details of Jack’s marriage to Eunice Adele Green, nor his children and grandchildren, were included in the book.

Note – There has been a variable approach to spelling Byrne -Byrnes-Burns over the years.


3 Responses to About

  1. Narelle McGarry says:

    Is it possible to purchase, Sailing On… The Hibbs Line?

  2. I believe that it is out of print but am checking with Allen Maunder

  3. Hey Narelle – I hope you enjoyed the Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Sinking of the HMS Sirius on Norfolk Island in March 2015 – it was lovely to meet you and your family.

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