(Sarah) "Grace" Pobar 1862-1942)






(Parents of Peter Byrnes):


Line of Descent to Peter Byrnes:

Grace Pobar


Thomas Byrnes

Peter Byrnes


Felice POBAR (b Dec 1833,

Volosca, Austria)


Emma ARCHER (b Oct 24 1842,

Winchester, England)


Mar 18 1862 at Jinghi Jinghi

(Jandowae), Queensland[1]

Lived at:

Green Wattle Gully,

Gowrie Road Toowoomba(1882)[2], Brisbane (1885-1942)


1942 in Brisbane, Queensland


James BYRNES (Dec 27 1882 in Toowoomba, Queensland)



Thomas Arthur BYRNES (Oct 19 1883-1973), married Lily Dance, Ipswich 1913

James BYRNES (1886- )

Grace was born in 1862 on a property, Jinghi Jinghi, near Jandowae, in southern Queensland (above), a year or so after her parents left the Victorian goldfields to start a new life in the north.

By the time of her marriage 20 years later, Grace was living on the outskirts of the main Darling Downs centre of Toowoomba, in Gowrie Road at Green Wattle Gully (probably the same area more commonly known as Black Gully). 

Just after Christmas 1882, she married 24-year-old James Byrnes, a native of New Zealand, who was working as a compositor in the Government Printing Office in Brisbane.

Details of how James and Grace came to meet can be only speculation, but one probable connection is through James's older sister Sarah Sexton, who had married in Toowomba in 1871 when James was barely a teenager Ė Jamesí (step?) father Francis Burns lived for many years with his step daughter and her family, and so it is more than likely that James was also a long-time resident of Toowoomba .

Although James was working in Brisbane, Grace was living in a less than salubrious area of Toowoomba when their first child, a son Thomas, was born in 1883.  Black Gully was where various noxious industries, including fellmongeries and tanneries, and most probably, small abattoirs such as that of Graceís Pobar family, were established just outside the municipal boundaries, and so out of the reach of the local health authorities [4]

Soon after young Tomís birth, Grace and James shifted to Brisbane, living in 1888 in Leopard street, near the modern day overpass for the freeway that by-passes Woolloongabba.

Later, they made other moves, finally settling at 123 Baines Street, Kangaroo Point, a house that was demolished in the 1990s, for a series of townhouses.  While husband James kept the yard of their Kangaroo Point home neat and tidy, inside the house, Grace was a fastidious housekeeper, with nothing out of place.[5]

Grace's grandchildren remember her as a strong personality.  Her granddaughter Eileen says she was a tiny woman, no more than 4'11''.  Grandson Peter Byrnes says she was a small, thin lady, whom he thought would have been the dominant person in the house. 

She has also been described as a "vixen", but Peter softens that assessment, saying "she must have had a charitable nature as she virtually adopted two nieces who lost their own mother at an early age".

After her husbandís death in 1932, Graceís relationship with her eldest son Thomas deteriorated, for reasons unknown to this day, although it's believed she may not have approved of her son's marriage to a farmer's daughter.  Before his mother's death, Tom on occasions became quite upset by what he saw as the influence of his two cousins, Gladys and Veronica Pobar (the daughters of her brother Thomas Samuel), whom he thought restricted his access to his mother.  Gladys and Veronica lived with and cared for Grace after the death of their own father in 1930, and Grace's husband two years later.  Particularly hurtful to Tom was that he was not notified of his mother's death until after her funeral, a slight that hit him very hard.[6]

Some Byrnes family members remain quite bitter about Thomas' treatment [some even dispute that there was a family connection with the two nieces, saying they were merely the children of neighbours, but a search of the Queensland BDM records confirms the relationship]. 

Grace's will was very controversial in the family.  Without giving specific reasons, merely using the normal legal terminology, she disinherited her son completely in favour of her two nieces, and provided only £100 for her other son James.[7] 

Graceís death certificate attributed her death to "old age and myocardial degeneration".  She is buried alongside James in the Bulimba Cemetery at South Brisbane

[1] Jinghi Jinghi, Grace's place of birth given on her birth certificate is a property near Jandowae, via Dalby (where the birth was registered).  The information for the certificate was given by Robert Hamilton, Jinghi Jinghi's overseer, which may explain the errors on Grace's  birth certificate - possibly due to a communication problem with the overseer.  On her birth certificate, Grace' name is given as Sarah Johanna (on later documents e.g. her marriage certificate, she calls herself Grace Johanna). Her mother's place of birth is noted as "Manchester, England", but on her own marriage certificate, her mother, Emma Archer, declares that Winchester, England, was her birthplace - and that is supported by Emma's own birth certificate.

[2]  Marriage certificate of Grace and James Byrnes

[3] The year of her death was noted by the registrar on her marriage certificate.

[4] A fellmongery is where wool and flesh is removed from skins destined for tanning: Bob Dansie, A Short History of Gowrie Creek, Toowoomba City Council, June 1998 

[5]  Recollections of Graceís grandson, Peter Byrnes

[6]  As above

[7]  However, the estate did not have sufficient funds left to provide the full £100.  Itís believed the Kangaroo Point house had been given earlier to her nieces.