William Tunks – Tonks, Private, Royal Marines, HMS Sirius 1788

William Tonks was a private in the Royal Marines 26th (Portsmouth) Company who arrived in NSW aboard HMS Sirius 1788 as part of the ships marines. He was discharged to HQ Port Jackson  5 June 1789.

William Tunks was still aboard HMS Sirius travelling to the Cape of Good Hope from Port Jackson to obtain provision and supplies leaving the colony on 2 Oct 1788. The ship left the Cape of Good Hope in Jan 1789, returning to Port Jackson on 9 May 1789.

As William Tonks, private his name is recorded on the Return of Marines who have desired to be received as Settlers on Norfolk Island and sailed from Sydney aboard the Atlantic on 26 Oct 1791. He received a 60 acre grant near Philipsburg.

William left detachment at Norfolk Island 4 Nov 1791, and settled 28 Nov 1791.  On Norfolk Island he formed a relationship with Sarah Lyons (Convict, Lady Juliana 1790) who arrived on Norfolk Island aboard the Surprize in Aug 1790. Their child Rebecca was born 5 Aug 1792. Sarah and Rebecca also left Norfolk Island aboard the Kitty in Mar 1793 with William Tunks.

William enlisted into the NSW Corps in Sydney on 26 Mar 1793 and possible served on Norfolk Island in 1793 and 1794 on Norfolk Island with the NSW Corps, it is not known if Sarah and their child Rebecca also returned to Norfolk Island, as all three are not listed in the Norfolk island 1792 – 1796 Victualing book after Mar 1793.

Their infant son Abraham Tunks died  Nov 1798 at Sydney, buried 19 Nov 1798 as Abraham Tuncks at Old Sydney Burial ground.

William was discharged from the NSW Corps on 24 Apr 1803.

William Tunks died August 1821, he was buried at Devonshire Street Cemetery Sydney and re interned to Botany in 1901.

From Glen Lambert: William is present as a Pvt in each muster, but the NSW Corps Musters (prior to 1798) are combined. They don’t show where the Pvt is stationed such as Norfolk Island. Only when the 102nd took over the paperwork in 1798 did they start the separate musters.

Cite this article as: Cathy Dunn, 'William Tunks – Tonks, Private, Royal Marines, HMS Sirius 1788', Australian History Research, http://www.australianhistoryresearch.info/william-tucks/, accessed [insert current date]
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