William (Tonks) Tunks was born in 1754 in England. He was a marine on the Sirius in the First Fleet to Australia in 1788. He had five children with a convict,  Sarah Lyons,  in Australia between 1792 and 1806. He died on 6 August 1821 in Parramatta, New South Wales, at the age of 67, and was buried in Sydney, NSW.

Sarah Lyons was born in 1763 in England. She was transported to Australia was a convict in 1790. She had five children with William (Tonks) Tunks in Australia between 1792 and 1806. She died on 27 July 1837 in Parramatta, New South Wales, at the age of 74.


The first Tunks family “get-together” was held in Parramatta Park on a lovely sunny Sunday in November 1981. Approximately 130 family members of all ages met at the “Pavilion” and enjoyed the day so much another “get-together” was organised for October 1982.  It is interesting to note that the notice for this second gathering,  contained a request for family details to assist with the proposed compiling of a Tunks Family Tree.

At this second gathering in October 1982 the Tunks Descendants Association was formed and an executive committee elected. The Committee members were Len Chalmers, Ron Chipps, Joyce Cowell (author of the book “Memorial To A Marine” 19771), Ted Freeman, Nadia Jackson, Betty King, Hazel Liebau, Myrl Skinner, Dudley Tunks, Maria Tunks and Peter Christian as Secretary and Cynthia Curry as Treasurer. Today Peter Christian OAM is Patron of the Tunks Descendants Association, and Cynthia Curry and Dudley Tunks together with Peter Christian OAM are TDAI Life Members.

In July 1984 the first “Tunks Talk” newsletter, edited by Peter Christian, was published.  At each annual picnic Len Chalmers displayed his ever-growing “Tunk’s Family Tree” and made appeals for more family tree information.  In 1986 the first edition was published.  In the following years three alterations and updated information was circulated. Len thanked all Tunks’ descendants who contributed to the “tree” especially those who undertook voluntarily to collect details from large sub- families. He gratefully acknowledged help from Joyce Cowell, for use of material from her book and help from Peter Christian with material collected for his Book of Profiles. Len also thanked his daughter Meg (Burns) for so ably deciphering his draft when entering the family tree into the computer and providing the master sheets for the printer. Sadly Meg died in 1990 and Len Chalmers in 2004.         

In 1999 the TDAI committee decided to update and reprint the1986 Family Tree both in hard copy and on CD. Unfortunately the old style computer disks of the original book that were held in our archive had become corrupted. Thankfully a past President Marian Perrem volunteered to enter all the thousands of names and family detail into a new  ‘Brothers Keeper’ genealogical computer program.  Having achieved this gigantic task Marian then backed up and volunteered to enter and check all the new update information as it came in.  Marian made a number of back-up disks of the new tree while in progress and when completed so that this herculean task of entering over 6000 individual names and associated detail never needs to be undertaken again. Currently the last update, 2004, is temporally out of print.  The Tunks Committee is developing a PDF or GEDCOM CD or DVD Version which will be a lower priced alternative to the costly hard copy book.

Inevitably, despite Marian’s meticulous care, there may be some errors and /or omissions of names and dates etc. perhaps caused by indistinct hand-writing.  Your committee apologises in advance for this and invites members and others to send in any corrections so that at least the master can be corrected so that any further edition will not carry the same error. Marian passed away in September 2010 after a long illness and will also be sadly missed.  

Your committee also asks that when sending in corrections or future update information please list the family member number as  listed in the PDF – non downloadable version of the current Tunks Family Tree which can be found elsewhere on this site. In this edition of the “Family Tree” every individual has a computer allocated number to facilitate a quick search. If you are sending in update information, for instance a newly born family member list the number against their mother or fathers name. The Tunks Descendants Association Inc. Committee would like to thank those hundreds of family members that have sent in corrections and additions to our Tunks Descendants Family Tree.

1 In 1977 Joyce Cowell published her book on the Tunks family’s Australian beginning ”Memorial To A Marine”
Copies of the 1985 reprint edition are still available from the TDAI Membership Secretary & Archivist at $8.00 per copy plus $2.00 postage.

Why join TDAI

Newsletter subscription

Receive the Tunks Talk Newsletter 3 times a year to keep up-to-date with family news and research.


Membership fees and donations go towards the maintenance and restoration of family monuments.


Membership fees go towards web hosting and social media promotions to help educate generations of descendants of various ages.


TDAI makes donations to groups that are maintaining various cemeteries where family members are buried.