Martin Gibbens (also sometimes known as Gibbons) was born in New South Wales in 1825, as the son of convict, Matthew Gibbens, and his wife Mary. The family lived in Evan in 1828, by which time Martin had an infant brother. In about 1844, Gibbens married Ann Staples (or Stapels) who was 19. Their growing family lived at Australia Street, Newtown, in the 1860-70s.
The Gibbens later moved to ‘Gordon Cottage’ on Marion Street in Enmore, while their daughter Jane remained at Australia Street, living at ‘Blanch Cottage’ with her husband Joseph Howarth and family. Ann Gibbens died on 4 June 1894, aged 67. Martin Gibbens died on 18 October 1905 at the residence of his daughter in Australia Street, Camperdown. A large family of children and grandchildren mourned their loss.
Occupation & interests
Martin Gibbens was a brick maker and builder. He also traded horses on the side and did some farrier work. He was a ‘phenomenally strong man’, and the Municipal Silver Jubilee Souvenir 1912 contained an anecdote of Gibbens placing himself in the shafts and pulling a fully-laden brick cart along King Street with ease.
By 1861, he employed other workers and may have been involved at Sydney’s Railway Station Yard. In 1863, he supplied 100 tons of rubble as ballast to be laid down on Australia Street at two shillings and sixpence per ton. He made a culvert in Denison Lane in January 1866.
Martin Gibbens was a trustee on the Cooks River Road Trust. Gibbens Street between Salisbury Road and Camperdown Park is likely named after Martin Gibbens and his family.
Local government service
Martin Gibbens was an alderman on Newtown Council in 1867-69, representing Kingston Ward. He resigned from the council in 1869.
Biographical information for this alderman was originally researched by Mark Matheson for the Newtown Project Website.
‘Family Notices’, Evening News, 8 December 1883, 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108833330
‘Family Notices’, Evening News, 4 June 1897, 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108053308
‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 1905, 12, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14742639
‘Family Notices’, Evening News, 18 October 1906, 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115675668
‘Probate Jurisdiction’, Government Gazette of the State of NSW, 5 January 1906, Issue No. 10, 145, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226404221
William Chubb, Jubilee souvenir of the municipality of Newtown, 1862-1912, Published by authority of the Mayor and Aldermen of the Municipal Council of Newtown, Austral Press and Advertising Ltd., Sydney, 1912.