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Filipowski Family

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GRABOWSKI (Pol) grab. Meaning: hornbeam (a tree resembling a beech).

PHILIPOWSKI/FILIPOWSKI (Pol) Filip. Meaning: lover of horses.

SZULC (Ger) Schultheiß, Schulze. Meaning: Village headman, mayor.


Jan Piotr Filipowski (Philipowski), a farm labourer, (b.1835–d. 1899) was born at Kleszczewo on 11 April 1835, the son of Ignacy Filipowski (b. abt. 1808–d. 1878) and Ewa Teresia Skwierowska (b. abt. 1796–d. 1868). Jan married on 8 November 1857 at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Trąbki Wielkie to Rozalia Julianna Grabowska (b. 31 July 1834 at Elganowo–d. 1908), the daughter of Michal Grabowski (b. 1779–d. 1838) and Anna Szulc (b. 1802–d. 1875). The family born at Sobowidz were: Paulina (b. 1858–d. 1946), at Postołowo; August Franciszek (b. 1860–d. 1860), Franciszek Jan (b. 1862), Rozalia Anna (b. 1864), Maryanna (b. 1866–d. 1867), Julianna (b. 1868–d. 1868), Jozef (b. 1869–d. 1872) and Berta (b. 1873–d. 1874). The family left the village of Postołowo for Hamburg where one year old Berta took ill aboard the ship Fritz Reuter.  She died of scarlet fever just before departure on 16 December 1874 and was buried at Ritzebüttel in Hamburg on 18 December 1874. Only Pauline remained aboard the Fritz Reuter on 16 December 1874 arriving at Napier in the Hawke’s Bay on 13 March 1875.


Listed aboard was Pauline Philipowski age 16. As soon as Pauline arrived in New Zealand, John and Rosalia made their way to London where they set sail aboard the Earl of Zetland on 16 March 1875, arriving at Port Chalmers three months later on 3 June 1875.

Listed aboard were: John Philipowski age 35, Rosalia 34 and Joseph 5. While the family were at the immigration barracks at Caversham in Dunedin, Rosalia gave birth to Johanna (b. 1875) on the 4th of July. From the Caversham barracks, the family went south and settled at Waihola.  Here John was employed as a platelayer on the railway and later worked as a labourer. Here they had their youngest, John (Philips) (b. 1878). According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, John owned land to the value of £50 at Waihola. He was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 10 October 1893.

“MILTON. Monday, November 18, 1895. (Before Mr R. S. Hawkins, S.M.) John Phillipowski was charged with allowing five cows to wander on the main road at Waihola on 22nd October. Defendant did not appear. After evidence by Constable King, a fine 5s without costs was imposed… “ Bruce Herald, 19 November 1895, p 7

“BRUCE COUNTY COUNCIL. GENERAL. Mr John Philipowski waited on the council with reference to the occupation of a part of a street in Waihola Park, which be had ploughed to keep down the gorse.—It was resolved that Mr Philipowski be granted permission to put a gate on the street line in Waihola Park township on the usual conditions.” Otago Daily Times, 8 July 1898, p 4

On 11 March 1898, John sold section 16 of block 16 at Nore Street in Waihola for one pound to the Catholic bishop of Dunedin for the purpose of erecting a church there.  He was able to live long enough to see the opening of St. Hyacinth in April of 1899.  John died later that year on 27 December 1899 at Waihola and Rosa died on 9 September 1908. Both are buried at the Waihola Cemetery.


Cottage built by August Orlowski for John and Rosa Philipowski on section 12, Block XVI at Waihola, courtesy of Paul Klemick 1998


Pauline Philipowski was born at Sobowidz on 08 September 1858.  She married on 9 October 1880 at St. Mary’s in Milton to Joseph Orlowski, the son of Jozef Aleksander Orłowski (b. 1813–d. 1895) and Brigita Parobkowicz (b. 1814–d. 1906). The family born at Waihola were: Victoria (b. 1881–d. 1972), Rose Paulina (b. 1882–d. 1967), Edward Adolph (b. 1885–d. 1969), Ignatius Joseph (Arthur Joseph Taylor) (b. 1887–d. 1939) and Bernard (b. 1889–d. 1934).

“MAGISTERIAL. R. M. COURT, MILTON. Tuesday, 9th June, 1885. (Before W. H. Revell, Esq., R.M.) Civil Cases. Police v. August Orlowski. Defendant, who did not appear, was charged with permitting 2 head of cattle to stray on the railway line at Waihola. Fined 5s, and 9s costs. SAME V. JNO. PHILLOWSKI. Charged with allowing 1 calf to wander at Waihola. Fined 2s, and 7s costs…” Bruce Herald, 12 June 1885, p 3

The family then migrated to Australia and settled in Melbourne during the late 1880s where they lived out their remaining years. The family born at Northcote were: Daniel O’Connell (b. 1891–d. 1943) and at Trentham; John (b. 1893–d. 1936). Pauline died in South Melbourne on 14 May 1946 aged 88 years and is buried at the Hiedleberg Cemetery in Melbourne.


Joseph Philipowski (Philips) was born at Postołowo on 28 August 1869. In 1880, Joseph achieved 3rd in Class II among the boys at Waihola school.

Joseph, now under the name of Joseph Philips, got into trouble from an early age and was tried at Mosgiel for a charge of larceny.  He was sent to Dunedin goal for two months hard labour on 29 September 1885.  He was only 16 years of age and described as a labourer, born in Germany, 5ft 7in, fresh complexion, fair hair and hazel eyes. He had a scar on the right side of his forehead.

“RESIDENT MAGISTRATES COURT. THIS DAY. Before H. W. Robinson, Esq., R.M. FORGERY. Joseph Philips, of Waihola, was charged on the information of E. P. O’Leary with altering a valueless cheque for the sum of L7. E. P. O’Leary stated that on the 3rd inst. the accused came to his shop and bought a suit of clothes, a pair of socks, and a hat, and tendered in payment a cheque for L7, purporting to be signed by W. Cruickshank on the National Bank. At the time of taking the cheque, witness asked the accused whether he had been working for Mr Cruickshank, when he replied yes, it had been paid him for work. The cheque, on being presented for payment at the bank, was dishonored. The coat of the goods purchased was  3 16s. The balance, L3 4s, was handed to the accused. Witness knew the prisoner only by sight. A. Robinson, accountant at the National Bank, stated that he knew W. Cruickshank, who had an account at the bank. The cheque produced was presented for payment but refused, aa the signature was not like that of Mr Cruickshank. W. Cruickshank, farmer, said he knew the prisoner Joseph Philips, who had been working for him at digging potatoes. The signature to the cheque produced was not his. Witness kept his cheque book in a drawer in his hut. The prisoner could have had access to the hut, as the door was not often locked. Two blank cheques had been torn from the chequebook, the blocks also being missing. Accused left his work of his own accord. He had never given any person authority to sign his name to cheques. Detective O’Brien said he went to Waihola on the 21st inst., and found the accused working on his father’s farm. Witness read the warrant to accused, charging him with uttering a forged cheque for L7. Prisoner replied, I suppose I shall have to go to Court if they can prove it, asking witness who the cheque was on. He explained his question by stating that he meant who it was made payable to, and witness replied to John Bryce and mate. On being asked for the suit of clothes he had got from Oamaru he went to a chest of drawers and got the goods. During the time that they were waiting for the train at the Waihola station, accused asked how much he would get for it. Witness replied that he could not say. Accused further said that the goods cost L3 16s. He thought he would ask the old man for the L3 4s representing the balance of the cheque. The accused was formally committed to take his trial at the next sitting of the Supreme Court at Oamaru. Bail was allowed, accused in L5O and two sureties of L25 each. Inspector Thompson conducted the prosecution.” Oamaru Mail, 25 May 1887, p 3

“FORGING AND UTTERING. Joseph Philips, against whom a true bill was found, pleaded guilty to having, on the 3rd day of May, forged and uttered a certain order. Mr Butt, who appeared for the prisoner, asked that the case be dealt with under the Probation Act. His Honor said he would not do that, as there was a previous conviction. The sentence of the Court would be twelve months’ imprisonment in Dunedin Gaol, with hard labor.” Oamaru Mail, 6 September 1887, p 2

His whereabouts are unknown but I have a hunch this won’t be the last we will read of Joseph.



Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 29, 34, 48, 196 & 197.

Research Sources

Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973, FamilySearch.

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara O Te Kawanatanga; Land Records.

Cathie, supplied family genealogy (2005)

Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, St Mary’s Church, Milton; Baptism Register.

New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs Naturalisations, Births, Deaths and Marriages.

New Zealand Government Property Tax Department, from the rates assessment rolls, Return of Freeholders of New Zealand 1882, published 1884.

Pręgowo Dołne & Trąbki Wielkie Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.

Waihola Cemetery Records, Dunedin Public Library.


Compiled by Paul Klemick (2022)



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