James Byres and Jeanett (Jessie) Gibb

James Byers was born on 2 July 1828 and baptised on 3 August 1828 in Kirknewton, Midlothian, Scotland, the only son of William Byers and Margaret Wilson. William is noted again as "of Kaims" but this time the baptising minister is not recorded.1

James Byers married Janet Gibb on 19 June 1853 in Abercorn, West Lothian, Scotland.2 There were two registrations, the other occurred on 4 July 1853 in Ecclesmachan, West Lothian, Scotland.3 Janet Gibb was born on 15 March 1827 and baptised on 15 April 1827 in Uphall, West Lothian, Scotland, the daughter of George Gibb and Helen Cunningham.4

James and Janet had a son, William, born on 9 April 1854 and baptised on 23 April 1854 in Ecclesmachan, West Lothian, Scotland.5 The following year they made the voyage to Australia, specifically Tasmania, on the Chatham, but their son William died during the journey on 22 December 1854. They arrived in Hobart on 19 February 1855.6

James and Janet would go on to have nine children in total.

Name Birth Married Death
bn. 09 Apr 18547
Ecclesmachan, SCT
Died in Infancy dd. 22 Dec 1854
At Sea
Ellen (Nellie)
bn. 11 Dec 18558
Remained Single dd. 06 Apr 1902
Tunnack, TAS
William James
bn. 29 Oct 18579
Oatlands, TAS
Margaret Mary
dd. 02 Feb 1943
Tunnack, TAS
George Gibb
bn. 01 Oct 185910
Oatlands, TAS
Paulina Bertha
dd. 25 Jun 1908
Oatlands, TAS
bn. 17 Sep 186111
Oatlands, TAS
dd. 01 Aug 1934
Tunnack, TAS
bn. 25 Aug 186312
Oatlands, TAS
Remained Single dd. 18 Jun 1943
Tunnack, TAS
Margaret Wilson
bn. 29 Nov 186513
Oatlands, TAS
John Frederick A.
dd. 06 Dec 1938
Colebrook, TAS
bn. 25 Feb 186814
Oatlands, TAS
Alice Mary
dd. 19 Jan 1949
Tunnack, TAS
Jennett (Jessie)
bn. 07 Aug 187015
Oatlands, TAS
Joseph William H.
dd. 19 Sep 1907
Woodsdale, TAS

According to Peg Hall in a later document about the Byers family, after their arrival James and Janet Byers ...

... lived in the Baden-Mt. Seymour area for 3 years and then moved to Tunnack. Eventually [he] built "Stuart-Field" and he had a small weatherboard church built on the property. Only the chimney is still there. When James went to Tunnack the bush was thick and large trees had to be cut down. A large amount of timber was produced for large barns, stables, farm sheds and miles of post and rail fencing.16

James provided land on his Stuartfield property for the construction of a church for the Scottish settlers of the Tunnack area.

Nature and Object of the said Indenture - The Now Memorializing Indenture vests that the said Thomas Littlechild, James Wilson and John Hay having been appointed Trustees for the purpose thereinafter mentioned have applied to the said James Byers to demise and lease unto them a piece of land at The Bluff aforesaid for the purpose of holding Public worship in a building erected thereon according to the linets and belief in use amongst all Prostestant Churches to which the said James Byers has consented. And by the Now Memorializing Indenture All the said James Byers did demise and lease unto the said Thomas Littlechild, James Wilson and John Hay as such trustees as aforesaid the land therein described Together with the building for public worship thereon erected and the appurtenance thereto To hold the same unto and to their use for twenty years thence next ensuing But nevertheless to be held for the public worship of Prostestant denominations only as therein set forth.

Description of the land demised - All that piece of land situate at the Bluff in Oatlands Municipality in Tasmania aforesaid part of a parcel of land measuring one hundred acres or thereabouts and which said demises land commenced at a point distant eleven chains and a quarter of a chain from the North West point of the said one hundred acres of land and has a frontage of twenty five feet or thereabouts on a reserved road.

Consideration - - The consideration expressed in the Now Memorializing Indenture is the sum of one shilling yearly rental payable by the said Thomas Littlechild, James Wilson and John Hay to the said James Byers.

Signed by James Wilson, Thomas Littlechild and James Byers before J O Dodd (Solicitor) of 67 Macquarie Street, Hobart Town in Tasmania on fourth day of November one thousand eight hundred and sixty seven.17

Margaret Rackham notes that the Tunnack "Stuartfield" property was named after Janet Byres (nee Gibbs) parent's property, "Stewartfield" - located just south of Ecclemachan village, and east of Broxburn village, West Lothian, Scotland.18

A newspaper article in 1884, one in a series called "Through Tasmania", serves to convey how the Byers and related families supported themselves day to day:

Mr. James Byers, I think, can claim the honour of being the pioneer farmer of Tunnack, having settled on a farm now owned by Mr. John Hay (probably a relative of the Hays of Southport neighbourhood, some of whom he resembles) about 22 or 23 years ago. His present farm is 200 acres, neatly divided, and having in a substantial stone house and numerous outbuildings a very compact homestead. In this climate, which, even at harvest, like that of England, is very uncertain, ample barn room is a necessity, and here, as at most farms around, the necessity is met by two or three large ones. An air of order and cleanliness surrounds the premises, which are set on an easy round-topped slope near the road, and improved in appearance by a nice garden in front, nicely laid out and tilled. The paddocks near the homestead are fast becoming clear of trees and stumps, one or two already being clean as the turf of a bowling green.

It was on this farm 43 bushels of wheat to the acre were grown. Besides the fruit and vegetable garden a three-quarter acre orchard occupies a spot in the rear. Mr. Byers is fortunate in the possession of five sturdy sons and several fair daughters. Himself and sons attend the land, and mother and daughters the dairy and poultry yard. The useful pig contributes an important item in the annual receipts, generally being disposed of in the porker stage. The increase in cattle is reared to replenish the dairy herd, steers being disposed of to the graziers, and cows advancing toward the yellow leaf fattened. Four horses constitute the strength for farming and draught to market, and a foal or two are now and again bred. Where is there a farm in Tasmania with five young fellows who cannot show you a Prodigy or Matchless youngster in the loose box that is going to do wonders as a 3yr. old ?. Though the lands on the plain, of which Tunnack is part, were never heavily timbered in the degree understood by the term in the western country or about the Huon ranges, still there was plenty of timber, and hundreds of acres of dead trees, the wet black soil, deadwood, and post and rail fences, coupled with a uniformity of dark-looking ferns, sags, and tussocks in many places produce anything but a cheerful appearance. There are exceptional cases, such as Mr. Byers, Mungo Scott, and a few others, where advancement in clearing, green paddocks, and the undulating conformation of the ground give a more cheering appearance ; but from the junction of the roads or " five points " the prospect is the reverse.19

William Byers married Margaret Mary Tweedie on 4 May 1887 in Hobart, Tasmania. The witnesses were Michael O'Shea and Jane Twedie.20 Margaret was born about 1867 or 1868, the daughter of Henry Veitch Tweedie and Mary Dalton.21 William and Margaret had twelve children that have been traced.

BYERS—SWEDIE.—On April 4, 1887, at the residence of the bride's uncle, Montpelier-street, Hobart, by the Rev. Father Woods, William, eldest son of James Byers,
Tunnack, to Margaret, second youngest daughter of Henry Swedie, Mount Seymour. 22

Margaret Wilson Byers married John Frederick Augustus Zantuck on 22 August 1888 in Oatlands, Tasmania.23 John was born on 7 June 1858 in Tasmania, the son of (John) Frederick Augustus Zantuck and Louise Hormuth.24 John and Margaret had eight children that have been traced.

ZANTUCH-BYERS. On August 22, at the residence of the bride's parents, by the Rev. L. Campbell, John Frederick, the second son of Frederick Zantuch, Jerusalem, to Margaret, the second daughter of James Byers, Tunnack.25

The Zantucks were German immigrants as described on the following Family Tree Circles post.

Johan Frederick Augustus Zantuck and Louisa Johanna Hormuth, were from Deutsch Netkov, Frankfurt, Prussia. They had emigrated to Tasmania on the SAN FRANCISCO which departed from Hamburg, arriving in Hobart 2 Nov 1855 with 42 immigrants on board.26

George Gibb Byers married Karoline Paulina Bertha Schorstien ex Tillack nee Kaldun, on 15 November 1888 in Oatlands, Tasmania. The witnesses were James Byers and Clara Housego.27 Paulina was born about 1840 in Brandenburg, Germany.28 George and Paulina would have eight children that have been traced.

James Byers Jnr. married Clara Housego on 12 June 1891 in Oatlands, Tasmania.29 Clara was born on 22 August 1868 in Campbell Town, Tasmania, the daughter of Richard Housego and Eliza Harnett.30 James and Clara had nine children that have been traced.

James and Janet's daughter Ellen died on 6 April 1902 in Tunnack, Tasmania.31

BYERS. On Sunday, April 6, at Stuartfield, Tunnack, Ellen (Nellie), the beloved and eldest daughter of James and Jessie Byers, aged 46 years.

The funeral of the late Ellen Byers will leave Stuartfield, Tunnack, on Wednesday at 10 a. m. for the Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands.32

Ellen was buried on 9 April 1902 in Oatlands, Tasmania.33

In August 1903 James Byers was reported as the oldest resident of Tunnack.


The oldest resident of Tunnack is Mr Jas. Byers, who has seen upwards of 40 summers in this locality. He owns 310 acres, and grow oats potatoes, etc. Mr. Byers is thoroughly conversant with the history of the district, and says that when he first took up his residence there a human being could not walk through the land on which he is now living, owing to the timber and undergrowth being so thick.34

Map of Byers, Campbell and Hay properties

Jannett Byers, the youngest of James and Janet's children, married Joseph William Henry Scott on 21 June 1906 in Hobart, Tasmania.35 Joseph was born on 8 January 1876 in Oatlands, Tasmania, the son of William Scott and Sarah Bailey.36 Joseph and Jannett had one child but Jannett died as a result. Jannet Scott, nee Byers, died on 19 September 1907 in Woodsdale, Tasmania.37

SCOTT. On September 19, 1907, at Woodsdale, Janet, wife of Joseph Scott, and youngest daughter of James and Janet Byers, of Tunnack, aged 37 years. Funeral will leave Woodsdale, 8 a.m., on Sunday, 22nd, and passes through Tunnack for the Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands. Friends are invited.38

James and Janet's son George Gibb Byers died on 25 June 1908 in Woodsdale, in the Oatlands district, Tasmania.39

BYERS. On June 25, 1908, at Woodsdale, George Gibb, the dearly-beloved husband of Pauline Byers, and second son of James and Janet Byers, of Tunnack, in the 49th year of his age. Funeral will leave Woodsdale for Tunnack Cemetery at 12.30 on Saturday. "Entered into rest".40

Before the first decade of the new century closed, James and Janet Byers also passed away, Janet Byers, nee Gibb, dying on 7 September 1909 in Tunnack, Tasmania.41

BYERS - On September 7, 1909, at Tunnack, Janet, dearly beloved wife of James Byers, aged 82 years, Funeral will leave her late residence on Thursday Morning, at 10 o'clock, for Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands.42

James Byers, Janet's husband, died on 17 October 1910 in Oatlands, Tasmania.43 James was also buried in the Uniting Cemetery, Oatlands, Tasmania.44

BYERS - On October 17, at Tunnack, James Byers, in his 83rd year. Funeral will leave his late residence, Tunnack, at 9 a.m., on Thursday, arriving at Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, at 1.30 p.m.45

An obituary was published shortly after his death.

PERSONAL - With the death of Mr Byers, sen. (writes a Tunnack correspondent), the last of a fine race of pioneers in the district has departed. The death occurred on Sunday night at his homestead, where for many months the sons John and Archie, paid unremitting care to his every want. As much has been written in 'The Daily Telegraph' of the sterling qualities possessed by those grand old men, suffice it to say Mr Byers was no exception to the rule, to enumerate even a portion of this man's work in the early days of Tasmania is beyond the space allotted. He has left a monument of industry in the farms and homes he made in this locality. Few were his equal in this capacity, and his numerous children and grandchildren are faithfully following his footsteps. Scotland was his birth place, but Tasmania received his life's work, he having attained the age of 84 years.46

Archibald Byers married relatively late in life. He married Alice Mary Bailey on 14 December 1910 in St. Andrews Manse in Hobart, Tasmania.47 Alice Mary Bailey was born on 6 August 1878 in Oatlands, Tasmania, the daughter of Thomas George Bailey and Mary Martha Palmer.48 Archibald and Alice had four children that have been traced.

Clara Byers, nee Housego, the wife of James Byers Jnr., died on 20 November 1919 in Tunnack, Tasmania.49

BYERS. On November 20, 1919. at Tunnack, Clara, beloved wife of James Byers. The Funeral will move from her late residence on Saturday, at 3 o'clock, tor Tunnack Cemetery.50

This was a double blow for James Jnr. as he had also lost a son, Thomas Ernest, the year before in World War One.

Paulina Byers, nee Kaldun, the wife of George Gibb Byers, died on 10 April 1929 in Woodsdale, Tasmania.51

BYERS. On April 10, 1929, at Woodsdale, Pauline, boloved wife of the late George Byers, in the 64th year of her age. Funeral will take place at the Public Cemetery, Tunnack, at 3 p.m. on Friday (This Day).52

James Byers Jnr. died on 1 August 1934 in Tunnack, Tasmania.

BYERS. On August 1, 1934, at Tunnack, James Byers, In the 72nd year of his age.

BYERS. Funeral of the late James Byers will move from his lute residence, Tunnack, for the Presbyterian Cemetery, Tunnack, on Friday Afternoon, at 2.30 p.m.53

The funeral was reported as follows.


The death occurred at his residence, Daphne Dell, Tunnack, recently, of Mr. James Byers, at the age of 72 years. Mr. Byers was one of the pioneers of the district, and was the second eldest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Byers, of Stuart Field, Tunnack, and carried on mixed farming at Tunnack. He leaves a family of five sons and four daughters. The funeral was largely attended, over 300 being present from many parts of the Midlands. The remains were interred in the Tunnack cemetery, and the service was conducted by the Rev. J. Finlay. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. J. Tremaine, of Oatlands.54

Margaret Tweedie
William Byers
Margaret Tweedie
William Byers

Margaret Wilson Zantuck, nee Byers, the wife of John Frederick Augustus Zantuck, died on 6 December 1938 in Colebrook, Tasmania.

ZANTUCK. Passed peacefully away on December 6, 1938, Margaret Wilson, dearly beloved wife of John Frederick Zantuck, of Pleasant Place, Colebrook, and loving mother of Fred, Jessie (Mrs. Hickson), Margaret (Mrs. Cullen), James, Louisa, May, Jack and Leslie, aged 73 years.

ZANTUCK. Funeral of the late Mrs. Margaret Wilson Zantuck will move from her residence, Pleasant Place, Colebrook, on Thursday (Tomorrow), at 3.30 p.m., arriving at Colebrook Cemetery at 4 o'clock.55

Margaret Mary Byers, nee Tweedie, the wife of William Byers, died on 23 May 1939 in Hobart, Tasmania, just before the outbreak of World War Two.

Mrs. W. Byers, Tunnack

The funeral took place at the Presbyterian cemetery, Oatlands, on Thursday of Mrs. William Byers, of Tunnack, who died at the Royal Hobart Hospital on Tuesday. There was a large gathering of frlends from the Tunnack district. The chief mourners were Messrs. J., H., P., O., A., Ralph, and Ray Byers (sons), and J. Tweedie (brother). Mrs. Byers, who was in her 73rd year, was Margaret, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Tweedie, of Parattah, and had resided at Stuart Field, Tunnack, for many years. Mrs. Byers was devoted to the Presbyterian Church, and took a keen Interest In district affairs. Mrs. Byers is survived by her husband, seven sons and four daughters.56

William Byers died on 2 February 1943 in Tunnack, Tasmania.

Mr William Byers

The death of Mr William Byers occurred at his home, Stuart Field, on Tuesday night He was in his 86th year.

No man in the Tunnack district was more widely respected. Devout and intellectual, he was a keen reader and a man of broad views. He took a live interest in world affairs. As a young man he identified himself with the Brethren, and remained with them throughout the whole of his life.

For the past 32 years Mr Byers was an invalid. Before his illness he carried out farming pursuits. His especial interest was bee culture, in which he became successful. He pursued it until the last few years.

Mr Byers, who at an early age came from Scotland with his parents, settled at Tunnack when the country was a wilderness, and was able to recall the days when wheat was carried on horse- back over tracks to Oatlands to be ground at the old flour mill.

Mr Byers leaves a family of eight sons. James (Ouse), Henry (Baden), Percy, Colin, and Oswald (Hobart), Raymond (Tunnack), Ralph (Mt. Seymour), and Athol (White Hills), and four daughters. Molly (Mrs Eyles, Hobart). May (Mrs Scott, Hobart), Edie (Mrs Robert Byrne, Stonor), and Ida (Mrs J. Clancy, Sydney). He had 23 grandchildren and five great-grand- children. His wife died about three years ago.

The funeral will take place at Oatlands today.57

William's funeral was reported as follows.

Mr William Byers

The funeral of Mr William Byers, of Stuart Field, Tunnack, was held at the Presbyterian cemetery, Oatlands, on Thursday. The service was conducted by Mr Alan Janes, assisted by Mr Elias Brough. Chief mourners were Messrs James, Henry, Percy, Colin, Oswald, Raymond, Ralph, and Athol Byers (sons), Archie Byers, (brother), Robert Byrne (son-in-law), Bert, Edward, Walter, Jack, and George Byers (nephews). Carriers were Messrs J. Scott, J. Lester, W. Wilson jun., and M. K. Horner.

Mr H. T. Fysh, Oatlands, made the arrangements.58

John Byers died just four months after his brother on 18 June 1943 in Tunnack, Tasmania.

BYERS. On June 18, 1943, at the residence of Mr Archibald Byers, Tunnack, John, fourth son of the late James and Janet Byers, of Tunnack, aged 79 years.

BYERS. Friends are respectfully informed that the funeral of the late Mr John Byers, late of Tunnack, will leave the residence of Mr Archibald Byers, Tunnack, at 2.30 pm, on Sunday, June 20, arriving at Presbyterian Cemetery, Oatlands, at 3.30 pm.59

John Frederick Augustus Zantuck died on 3 October 1944 in New Town, Tasmania.

Mr J. F. Zantuck

Mr John Frederick Zantuck, who died last week at New Town, was born on June 7, 1858. When 19 years of age he went to live at Pleasant Place, Colebrook, and engaged in mixed farming for nearly 60 years. He retired in 1938, and made his home at New Town with his daughters, Misses Louisa E. and May V. Zantuck.

In 1888, Mr Zantuck married Miss Margaret Wilson Byers, of Tunnack, who died in 1938. Four sons and four daughters are living. Three of the sons are farmers at Colebrook, and the other a missionary in India.

There was a large attendance at the funeral at St. James' cemetery, Colebrook. The chief mourners were Messrs. Frederick, James, and Leslie Zantuck (sons). A. V. Hickson (son in-law). Mervyn Zantuck and Don Cullen (grandsons), Vern Zantuck and Archie, Walter, Edwin, and Bert Byers (nephews). There are 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.60

Archibald Byers died on 19 January 1949 in Tunnack, Tasmania.

BYERS. At his residence, Tunnack, on January 19, 1949, Archibald, dearly loved husband of Alice Mary Byers, and youngest son of the late James and Janet Byers, of Tunnack, aged 80 years.

BYERS.-Friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of the late Mr. Archibald Byers, which will leave his late residence, Tunnack, on Friday (Tomorrow), at 2.15 p.m., arriving at Oatlands Presbyterian Cemetery at approximately 3 p.m.61

Alice Mary Byers, nee Bailey, the wife of Archibald Byers, died on 21 November 1960 and was buried in the Oatlands cemetery.62

Joseph William Henry Scott, the husband of Jannett Byers, remarried after Jannett’s untimely death. First to Annie Isles, and then to Sarah Palmer. He died on 29 June 1967.63