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Klimek Family

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KLIMEK (Pol) from Clement (Eng)(Dut). The name Clement achieved popularity firstly through having been borne by an early Saint who was a disciple of Saint Paul, and later because it was selected as a symbolic name by a number of Popes. Meaning: mild, compassionate. There is a small village with the name of Klimek situated near Krotoszyn west of Kalisz. Habitation names: Klimaszewski, Klim(k)owski.  In Zealand the surname first appears as Klimeck on the shipping list from Hamburg with the added C which is adopted by the family who settle here. However, overtime the name became mispronounced. In 1908, the surname was changed for one branch of the family to Klemick on the marriage certificate of Felix Klimeck who married Ellen Walsh.

ŁUKOWSKI (Slavic root) łuk. Meaning: (archer’s) bow, arch or <first names Łukasz and Łukan (old form of Lucjan) and place names, e.g. Łukόw.

RYBICKI (Pol) ryba. Meaning: fish or rybaki fisherman.

SMOLIŃSKI (Pol) smola. Meaning: tar pitch – a habitation name from the city of Smolensk in Russia, which was a great trade centre in medieval times.

The family name during the 1820s is documented as Klimkowski and Klimecki during the 1860s.


Maciej (Mathew) Klimek, a coachman, (b. 1819–d. 1899) was born at Bielsk on 12 September 1819, the son of Jan Klimek (b. 1794–d. 1854) and Maryanna Łukowska (b. 1798–d. 1832). It appears Maciej had a daughter, Anna Maryanna Kamrowska, (b. 1840 at Czarlin–d. 1844 at Rokitki) to Maryanna Kamrowska (b. 1817–d. 1894). Maryanna Kamrowska went on to marry Jozef Neumann in 1845 at Tczew.

It is believed around this time that Maciej had left the region for a period of time and Anna Smolińska was working as a maid for an estate. It is while working for this estate that Anna gave birth to a son, Jan Smoliński (b. 1844–d. 1922), at Stanisławie.  Mona Todd, a granddaughter, recalls;

“When I was much younger, I recall hearing that grandfather was the son of either a guest at the German manor, (at a time when guests were often entertained and fraternising with staff was common), or the landlord himself.”


​Less than a week after the birth of Jan, Anna Smolińska lost her mother Dorota after giving birth to twins in the same village, aged 44.  One twin was stillborn while the other, a little girl, survived.  Her father Szymon Smoliński then remarried on 11 October 1845 at Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Anna Sztella (b. 1793 at Stanisławie–d. 1863), the daughter of Jakob Sztella (b. 1769–d. 1819) and Anna Maryanna Meglus (b. 1763).

While residing at Turze, Maciej married on 25 April 1847 at St. Jan Nepomuk in Godziszewo to Anna Smolińska (b. 1820 at Brzuśce–d. 1882), the daughter of Szymon Smoliński (b. 1791–d. 1867) and Dorota Rybicka (b. 1798–d. 1844). Included in the comments (bemerkungen) on the marriage entry was; Beiderseits Proklamations Schein beigebracht, Protokol von heute wegen uneheliches Kindes der Braut. (On both sides a proclamatory certificate was produced, a protocol today in relation to the illegitimate child of the bride). The family born at Kamierowo were: Matilda Julianna (b. 1848–d. 1921), at Pawłowo; Karol Maciej (b. 1849–d. 1855), at Damaszka; Teodor Adolf (b. 1852–d. 1855) and Franciszek (b. 1855–d. 1919), at Mirakowo (15 km north-east of Toruń); Michal (b. 1857–d. 1870), Teodor (b. 1860-–d. 1860) and Feliks (b. 1861-–d. 1922), at Małżewo; Marcin (b. 1863–d. 1932) and August Robert (b. 1866–d. 1869). It has been said that after a train trip, some German soldiers came looking for one of the male family members, believed to be an uncle. Feliks remembers blood in the snow and doorway after his uncle was shot. He was round about seven years old, which would place the time during the winter of the late 1860s, the family residing in the village of Małżewo. The family believe that it may have something to do with matters with the Prussian Army. This coincides with the death of their uncle, Marcin Smolinski, who died at Tczew on Boxing Day, 26 December 1869.  He was 38 years of age and died as a result of gangrene. Sometime during 1869-1870, the family moved east to the village of Rokitki close to the Vistula River. Maciej worked as a labourer and coachman in Poland and it is said he worked for a time for an aristocratic family. It is recalled by the granddaughter of Felix Klimeck, Marie Banister (nee Waltanen), that in 1874, the family fled Rokitki so the boys could escape from German military service. A Jewish family or sailors smuggled the family into the bow of a boat and were sent up the Vistula for Gdańsk. From here they sailed to Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Gutenburg on 4 July 1874, arriving at Port Lyttleton in Akaroa on 25 October 1874


Listed aboard were: Mathias Klimeck age 55, Anna 54, Franz 17, Theodor (Felix) 13 and Martin 9. They travelled south to Waihola where daughter Mathilda and family were residing. According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, Mathias (spelt as Klemick for the first time), owned three acres of land at Waihola valued at £200. The family home, a sod cottage dug into the hillside, was previously built by Paul Baumgardt and was situated near the top of Nore Street, overlooking a spectacular view of Lake Waihola. This site was later used for the church of St. Hyacinth in 1899.  Anna Klimeck died at Fairfield on 30 October 1882 at the residence of her daughter Mathilda Tikey, aged 62, and was buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin. In the 1880’s, during the 1879-1896 depression, sons, Felix and Martin left Waihola for Melbourne where they worked on the Railways. Frank met up with Felix after the premature death of his wife and worked on the Southern Australian Railway. At separate times, Martin and Frank returned to New Zealand while only Felix remained.  According to the 1887′ Stone’s Directory for Otago and Southland, Mathias Klimeck was a labourer residing at Waihola. It appears that Mathias may have been sent to live at Fairfield after the family property at Waihola was sold in 1891. During the years 1896 to 1898, Mathias resided at Shag Point with his son-in-law, Frederick Tikey (Teike), who was working in the coalmines there. Here Mathias received outdoor relief for an illness, through the Otago Benevolent Institute until his condition worsened. While residing at Macandrew Road in South Dunedin, Mathias was institutionalised at the Otago Benevolent Institute at Caversham on 11 September 1897. He was suffering from the results of past work and old age. After 16 months in the Institute, Mathias passed away on 8 February 1899 aged 79 and is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.

“Local and General. The regular weekly meeting of the Benevolent Institution Trustees was held on the 15th inst… It was reported that Matthew Klenic, aged 81 years, had died during the week, of senile decay.” Otago Witness, 23 February 1899, p 44


John Snr, John Jnr, Francisca (nee Malinowska), Frank and Martha Smolenski Ca. 1882 Waihola, courtesy of Patricia Clark


Johan Smoleński was born at Stanisławie on 28 February 1844.  He married on 17 October 1869 at the Church of the Holy Trinity at Lubiszewo-Tzcewskie to Franciszka (Fanny) Malinowska (b. 1850 at Kolincz–d. 1913), the daughter of Tomasz Malinowski (b. 1807–d. in America) and Katarzyna Rekowska (b. 1815–d. in America). The family born at Małźewo were: Jakob (b. 1870–d. 1870) and Maryanna Rozalia (b. 1871–d. 1879), at Rukosin; Jan (b. 1874–d. 1905), Jozef (b. 1876–d. 1878) and at Małźewo; Franciszek (b. 1878–d. 1940). The family set sail aboard the Marlborough on 23 October 1879, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 7 January 1880. The family travelled south to Waihola where the Klimeck family were residing. It is said that John and fanny lived in a tent close to the lake side where they gave birth to Martha (b. 1881–d. 1951). In November of 1883, the family moved north and settled at Allanton where John worked as a farm labourer.  The family born at Allanton were: August (b. 1883–d. 1967), Minnie (b. 1885–d. 1887), Rosie (b. 1888–d. 1972), James (b. 1890–d. 1969), Annie (b. 1892–d. 1898), and William (b. 1895–d. 1980). John was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 14 November 1893.  He died at the residence of his daughter in Dunedin on 3 October 1922 aged 78.  He is buried with his wife at the Allanton Cemetery.


Franciszka (Mary) Tikey, the eldest child of Fred and Matilda Teike, courtesy of Carl McKenzie


Matilda Julianna Klimek was born at Kamierowo on 23 January 1848.  She married on 25 October 1868 at Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Friedrich Wilhelm Teike (b. 1846 at Lineiwko–d. 1937), the son of (Prussian) Frantz Ludwig Teike (b. 1813) and (Polish) Maryanna Parobkiewicz (b. 1812–d. 1885). The family born at Liniewko were: Franciszka (Mary) (b. 1869–d. 1956) and Franciszek (b. 1871–d. 1919). The family then moved to the village of Rokitki where the Klimek family were residing.  From here the family left for Hamburg and set sail aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 6 December 1872.

Listed aboard were: Fried. W. Teike age 26, Mathilda 25, Francisca 3 and Franz 9 months.  They were sent south to Scrogg’s Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. The family born at Allanton were: John (b. 1874–d. 1874) and Anna (b. 1876–d. 1876), at Waihola; Joseph (b. 1878–d. 1954), who was fostered out to the Annis family of Waihola, and Martha (b. 1880–d. 1911), at Fairfield; Janet (b. 1882–d. 1980), at East Taieri; Martin (b. 1884–d. 1970), Louis (b. 1886–d. 1887) and Catherina (b. 1887–d. 1888), at Fairfield; Harriet Matilda (b. 1889–d. 1970), Albert Felix (b. 1892–d. 1931) and Thomas Eric (b. 1893–d. 1970).  Frederick worked either at the brick works at Fairfield or for the Walton Park Coal company as a miner. Frederick worked at various mines such as at Shag Point in North Otago, so he worked away from home from time to time.  It appears that Mathilda nursed her mother at her home in Fairfield until her passing in 1882.  Matilda died on 20 February 1921 at her residence in Fairfield aged 70 years and is buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.

“DEATHS. TIKEY.—On February 20, 1921, at her residence, Fairfield, Matilda, dearly beloved wife of Frederick Tikey; aged 70 years. R.l.P.—Funeral will leave her late residence, Main South road, Fairfield, To-morrow (Tuesday), 22nd inst., at 1 p.m., for the Anderson’s Bay Cemetery.—Hugh Gourley (Ltd.), undertakers.” Otago Daily Times, 21 February 1921, p 4


Ellen Klemick (daughter in-law), Frank Klimeck and Annie Klimeck (daughter). 1908, courtesy of Klemick family in Invercargill


Frank Klimeck was born at Damaszka on 14 January 1855.  He married on 22 April 1882 at the House of Franz Annis in Waihola to Francisca (Fanny) Apollonia Cherkowska (Chiłkowska), the daughter of Albrecht Chiłkowski and Katarzyna Stolc. Frank Klimeck purchased 12 sections of land above the township of Waihola on 23 May 1884, previously owned by Paul Baumgardt. The family born at Waihola were: Felix (b. 1884–d. 1961) and Annie (b. 1885–d. 1968). After the railway work came to a close Frank worked as a farm labourer for Thomas Adam on the other side of Lake Waihola.

“R. M. COURT, MILTON. Tuesday, 14th April, 1885. (Before W. H. Revell, Esq., R.M.) Cattle Straying. Information’s laid by the police against persons allowing their cattle to stray on public roads were dealt with and the defendants fined… his Worship remarked that so far, he had inflicted only nominal penalties for cattle straying, but that in future he would inflict far heavier, more especially if accused parties did not put in an appearance and confess; — Baum. 1 cow, fined 1s and costs 7s. Frank Clemmick, 4 head, fined 1s a head, costs 7s, and cautioned that if again charged with a similar offence he would be liable to a penalty of £1 a head. Jas. Borthwick was charged with permitting 2 horses to stray on the public highway at Waihola. Mr Reid appeared for the accused, and the information was dismissed. O. Wiesknie was fined 7s for permitting 7 cows to stray, with 7s costs.” Bruce Herald, 17 April 1885, p 3

Fanny died suddenly on 2 October 1886 at Waihola of apoplexy, aged 29 and was buried at the Waihola cemetery behind the Annis family plot. After the death of Fanny, Felix and Annie were sent off to live with their uncle and aunt, Fred and Mathilda Tikey at Riccarton (East Taieri) for which Frank paid 5s per week and the use of a horse for their care.

Around early 1887, Frank decided to leave New Zealand and join up with his brother Felix who was working on the southern railway in Australia at the time. In 1891, the family property and adjoining land at Waihola was sold to fellow Pole, Johan Philiposki and Mathias is most likely sent to live with his daughter at Fairfield. Frank worked a number of years with his brother Felix in Southern Australia working on the railway and was godfather to his niece, Helen Mary Klimeck, who was born at Menindee in 1894.  On finding Australia no longer to his liking Frank returned to New Zealand.


Klimeck brothers, Felix third from Frank Klimeck at the end, in South Australia working on the southern railway. The brothers were very close and named their eldest child after each other. Ca. 1890s, courtesy of Mary Taylor, Bendigo


Frank is first located on the Bruce Electoral Roll for 1905 as a labourer residing at Berwick near Lake Waipori in Otago. By 1908, Frank is employed as a platelayer at Riversdale, working under the management of his younger brother Martin on the Waikaia railway line. According to the 1911′ Stone’s Directory for Otago and Southland, Frank was residing at Nightcaps employed as a labourer. Here he lived out his years in a small hut at the back of his son’s property. On one occasion Frank was at the pub in Nightcaps with a few of the locals. He had his head in the newspaper gazing concerningly at a photo of a ship. He could speak a little English but was unable to read. and was suddenly alerted to what looked like the sinking of a ship in an almighty storm. The concerned locals flocked to have a look, only to find Frank with the newspaper facing upside down.  As you can imagine, the place fell into absolute hysterics and so I guess you can say his eyesight was failing him. Frank died at Riverton on 2 June 1919 aged 64 and is buried at Wrey’s Bush Cemetery.

It is with regret that the death of Mr Klemick, senr., is recorded. Mr Klemick died in the Riverton Hospital on Monday at the age of 66 years, after a very short illness. He was of a genial disposition, and well liked, and his cheery face will be missed by many.” Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, 03 June 1919

“At the Supreme Court, Dunedin, on the 9th of September letters of administration were granted in the estate of Frank Klemick, late of Nightcaps, labourer, to Felix Klemick, of Nightcaps, coal miner, on the application of Mr W. S. Hunter.” Western Star And Wallace County Gazette, 19 September 1919, p 2

According to Marty Klemick of Nightcaps, his father Felix accidentally put the i and the e in the wrong place whilst signing the marriage register at Invercargill in 1908,  thus cementing the surname for this branch of the family. I wonder what Frank would be thinking if he know that one day one his grandsons would be driving driving trains over the very tracks he laid a hundred years later?


Harriett and Felix Klimeck at Latrobe on their wedding day, 9 June 1885, courtesy of Mary Taylor, Bendigo


Felix (Phil) Klimeck was born at Mirakowo on 6 February 1861.

William McEwan McAllan, courtesy of Lynette Klimeck-Walsh

“A wrestling match (Cumberland style) came off on Saturday, at Fairfield, between F. Clemack and T. Manderson. The stakes were £5 a side; best of five falls to win. It was won by F. Clemack, who secured the first three falls. Some money changed hands over the match, and there is a likelihood of a second one between the same men being arranged.” Otago Daily Times, 30 January 1883, p 2

Cumberland wrestling is a form of wrestling developed in northern England and southern Scotland, also called the North Country style. The wrestlers stand chest to chest, each grasping the other with locked hands around the body, each opponent’s chin on the other’s right shoulder. The right arm is placed below and the left above the adversary’s.

While at Fairfield, an outer-suburb of Dunedin, Felix had met up with a young girl in the neighbourhood by the name of Jane McEwan (b. 1868–d. 1935).  Jane was born at Dalserf in Scotland, the eldest child to John McEwan and Mary Robertson.  The family had migrated to New Zealand aboard the Nelson in 1875 and settled at Fairfield.  By the late 1870s, Jane’s parents had gone their separate ways.  Her mother had remarried and had migrated first to Australia, then America. This left Jane, who was around twelve years of age, to fend for the family.  Her father worked as a miner for the coal mining company at Walton Park with Felix’s brother-in-law, Fred Tikey. After Felix had left for Melbourne, Jane gave birth to William (b. 1884–d.1960), who was born at Shag Point on 19 June 1884. It is the only branch of Felix’s family that live on this side of the Tasman.

Felix married on 9 June 1885 at St. Patrick’s in Latrobe in Tasmania to Harriet Catherine Milbourne (b. 1865 at Ulverston–d. 1953), the daughter of George Seymour Milbourne and Sarah Jane Devlin. It is said that while Felix was standing on a corner outside a hotel in Latrobe with a friend, two girls passed in a horse and gig. Felix asked his friend the name of the girl driving. “That’s Harriet Milbourne, why?” “Because I am going to marry her”, was Felix’s reply. Seems they finally met through a mutual friend as was done in those days and the rest is history. It is not clear when Feliks arrived in Australia but it is possible that he came with the Jankowski family of Waihola around 1883, when the cable tram lines where being laid in the city of Melbourne. The Clifton Hill Tramway was opened for service on 10 August 1887. Dandenong railway station is located on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines and serves the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Dandenong opening on 8 October 1887. The South Gippsland Railway Line opened in 1892 from Dandenong. The family born at Clifton Hills were: Frank Mathias (b. 1886–d. 1938), at Dandenong; Henry Theodor (b. 1888–d. 1968) and Alice Matilda (b. 1890–d. 1982), at Ulverstone in Tasmania; Elsie Annie (b. 1893–d. 1972), at Menindee; Helen Mary (b. 1894–d. 1895), at Coolgardie; Felix Walter (b. 1896–d. 1897), at Devenport, Tasmania; Joseph Stanislaus (b. 1900–d. 1965), Mary Magdalen (b. 1903–d. 1923), Felix Paul (b. 1906–d. 1980) and Monica Catherine (b. 1909–d. 1996). Felix travelled around Australia with his growing family from Latrobe in Tasmania to Dandenong in Melbourne. He worked on the railways in New South Wales living in Menindee, south of Broken Hill, as well as South Australia and Western Australia laying tracks for T.C. Rail. Later they moved back to Tasmania where Felix worked in the mines.

“Billiard. A match was played at the Royal Hotel, Loch, last evening between Mr P. Klemick and Mr R. McInnis, for £10 a-side, 200 up.  The two players kept well together up to 175, when Mr McInnis gradually drew away from his opponent and won by 17 points.  Mr Thomas acted as referee.  Another amateur tournament of 150 up is being played at the Cromwell Hotel.” Great Southern Advocate (Korumburra, Victoria), 29 May 1891, p 2


Back; Elsie Annie, Alice Matilda, Henry Theodor & Henrietta Louisa Klimeck (nee Harris). MIddle: Joseph Stanislaus, Felix Snr., Harriet Catherine (nee Milbourne), & Frank Klimeck. Front; Mary Magdalen, Felix Paul, Monica Catherine & Nell Klimeck. Ca. 1912


“A BALFOUR MISHAP. A young man named Klimick met with a severe accident at Mt. Balfour on Friday last. He was working for his father, who had a contract for the Government on the tram line, which was completed next day; but on the Friday he had the misfortune to be run over by a truck, severely injuring one of his feet. His father left Balfour on Sunday, and was taking him on the afternoon train yesterday for Launceston for treatment and rest. Klimick was a resident of Devonport for several years, leaving the district about eight years ago.” The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, 18 May 1911, p 2
“Personal. Mr. and Mrs. F. Klimeck, of Ulverstone, have been advised that their son, Acting Bombardier H. T. Klimeck, 6th Army Field Artillery Brigade, is returning to Australia by the transport Demosthenes, which left England on January 16, and will probably arrive in Melbourne about 27th February.  He left Tasmania over three years ago, and has been in hospital owing to being gassed.” Advocate (Burnie, Tasmania), 12 February 1919, p 2
Felix died at his residence at Wynyard in Tasmania on 9 March 1922 aged 61. It is said that Felix’s own horses pulled the hearse at his funeral for St. Brigid’s Church and Wynyard Cemetery.
“FUNERALS. KLIMECK. The funeral of the late Felix Klimeck will leave his late residence, Quiggin street, Wynyard, at 3 p.m. To-day (Saturday), for St. Brigid’s Church and Wynyard Cemetery. W. A. Porter, Undertaker.” Advocate, 11 March 1922
“Thanks. Mrs. Klimeck and family, Wynyard, wish to thank all kind friends for cards, floral tributes, and letters of sympathy in their recent sad bereavement, and would like to specially mention Father Fanning and Mrs. Burrows, also Dr. Smellie for his unremitting attention during their husband and father’s long illness.” Advocate, 21 March 1922, p 2
Harriet died at Launceston in Tasmania on 15 December 1953 aged 88.

Martin Klimeck, courtesy of Pauline Lee, Dunedin



Martin Klimeck was born at Małżewo on 12 November 1863. It is believed Martin worked on the Wingatui – Alexandra railway line which construction began in 1877. He worked in Melbourne laying the tram lines with his brother Felix.  He married on 22 February 1887 at St. Mary’s in Milton to Wilhelmina Augusta (Minnie) Barra.  Martin and Minnie returned briefly to Melbourne a few days after their wedding day, where they set aboard the Waihora at Dunedin on 25 February, arriving at Melbourne on 4 March 1887. Also on board was Mr Halba, future brother in-law to Minnie. Martin purchased property at Waihola on the corner of Chatham and Greenhithe Streets on 20 June 1888 and later sold it on 3 October 1900. The family born at Waihola were: Mary Louise (b. 1888–d. 1972), Wilhelmina Augusta (b. 1889–d. 1993), William Patrick (b. 1892–d. 1977) and Eleanor Annie (b. 1893–d. 1991), at Tokomairiro; Martin Joseph (b. 1895–d. 1983) and Rosalie Theresa (b. 1899–d. 2003), at Akatore; Peter John (b. 1902–d. 1960). Martin, of Waihola, was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 14 April 1894. Martin’s railway work was broken at times by his attempts at farming, first at Chrystalls Beach, Glenledi, then called Bull Creek, 12 miles east of Milton, from Feb 1896 – 1900.

“Advertisments. FOR SALE. THAT well grassed FARM, known as CHRYSTAL’S, situated on the seaside in the Akatore District, being 66 Acres, with the commodious boarding house of 9 rooms thereon. Price £450, crops given in. For further particulars apply to FREDERICK WAYNE, Spencer Street, Milton.” Bruce Herald, 31 December 1895, p 5

“The last straw breaks the camel’s back, and the faces of the Glenledi School Committee were very long when they learnt that a promisingly increasing family were leaving the district. The attendance had been very low for some time before, but this brought the average to the minimum figure. The arrival in the district, however, of Mr Clemex, who has just removed his family to the Coast, where he has purchased the well-known property, so long known as Chrystal’s, has again restored the attendance to the usual average. To add to this reinforcement, a prominent Miltonian has removed with his family to the Coast, and their added attendance should again make the school roll a thing of beauty.” Bruce herald, 24 April 1896, p 2

“Board and Residence. MRS KLIMECK, Crystals Beach. GlenIedi, comfortable Seaside ACCOMMODATION for Summer Visitors; good beach; nice.” Otago Daily Times, 8 January 1897, p 3


Back; Wilhelmina Augusta, Martin Joseph (Fr. Klimeck) & Mary Louise. Front; William Patrick, Wilhelmine Auguste (nee Barra), Peter John, Roslaie Theresa, Martin Snr. & Eleanora Annie Klimeck. Ca. 1915


“Mr Nelson, the County Engineer, made a survey of the proposed deviation on the Grange Hill on the Coast road last week. He informs us that by making a deviation to the right of the present road a grade of 1 in 17 can be obtained. Only about 9 chains of the proposed new road would be difficult work, the rest being comparatively easy to make, and the cost would be under £40. The advantages of the new road will be apparent when we state that we are informed that the grade on the Grange Hill road now is one in six. Mr Noble, the member for the riding, will bring this matter up at the sitting of the Council on Tuesday next. It is to be hoped that that body will be able to see its way to do the work, as the road will be of great convenience to settlers at Bull Creek, Klemick’s, and a considerable number of people in Milton, who annually resort to the Coast during the summer months,” Bruce Herald, 1 October 1897, p 2

“BRUCE COUNTY COUNCIL. The monthly meeting of the Bruce County Council was held on Tuesday and was attended by Mr A. Macpherson (chairman), Crs Clark, Hewitson, Noble, Crane, Murray, Haggart, and Rutherford…Inspector’s Report. The Inspector of Works reported as follows on the state of the roads and the condition of various works in the district:— Roads.—They are now all in very good repair for traffic, and the surfacemen have been chiefly engaged in cleaning culverts and the ditches leading to and from same. Works.—The works on hand have made fair progress since last meeting. The formation and metal contract on Fairfax road is nearly finished. The formation contract at Benhar is completed, and good progress is being made with formation contract on Grange Hill, Akatore. A culvert and earthworks at Klemwick’s, on the road to Miss Grant’s, is also finished…” Otago Daily Times, 3 March 1898, p 3

On the farm at Bull Creek the children would collect the water from the well for the day to be heated on the open fire. They would then round up the cows to be milked by hand, all this before a two-mile hike up the hill to school which usually took them half an hour. At night there was only one lamp used to light the whole house. Also, on their farm they had four horses that they greatly cherished. Between 1897-1899 Mary, Wilhelmina and William attended Glenledi Public School. Wilhelmina recalls sitting at a desk, which sat three others and studied subjects such as reading, writing, history and geography. At home they apparently didn’t have much time to play games because of their daily chores and were given one new outfit a year. At the age of 12, Wilhelmina recalls getting a horse by the name of Jess. Near Chrystals Beach, Glenledi, there is a track where the logs were dragged out by bullock after felling and was named Klimeck’s Track. Today only some cuttings remain where the track existed and has been now covered with native bush. Still involved in farming, they moved to Loudens Gully around May 1900 and remained until 1907. Here the children went to Akatore Public School from 1900 to 1905 before attending St. Joseph’s in Milton. On 11 June 1901 the farming partnership of Martin Klimeck and Bernard Barra at Akatore was mutually dissolved. The family moved to Johnson Street, Milton where Martin worked as a Platelayer from 18 January 1907 until 29 September 1911.  Martin managed the Waikaia branch of the railway in Southland which covered 22 kilometres and was opened on 1 October 1909.


Klimeck George Hotel Minnie Klimek (nee Barra) at left door & Martin Klimeck at the other. 1916 Ca. Kindly provided by Pauline Lee

The Georgetown Hotel ca 1916. Minnie Klimek (nee Barra) at the left door and Martin Klimeck at the other. The hotel was destroyed by fire on 23 September 1966. Photo courtesy of Pauline Lee


“MILTON ITEMS. [From Our Own Correspondent.] April 22. A young man named James Paul met with an unfortunate accident this morning, by which he lost his left arm. He was one of the hands on Mr H. Hamilton’s chaffcutter, which was working at Mr Martin Klimeck’s farm at Glenledi, about four miles from here, and while feeding the machine his arm was drawn in and taken off by one of the knives. He was driven to Milton, where he was attended to by Dr Menzies, after which he was taken to his father’s place at Helensbrook. He is now progressing as well as can be expected. The unfortunate young man, who is about twenty-two years of age, is the second son of Mr William Paul.” Evening Star, 23 April 1904, p 5

On 24 April 1911, Martin sold his property at Loudens Gully to Richard Pearce, New Zealand’s first aviator. The property is now part of the Barra farm and is used as a storage shed.

Martin Klimeck at the turn of the century, at his farm at Louden’s Gully, on the Glenledi Road, courtesy of Pauline Lee

Recollections of the farm at Louden’s Gully after Martin handed the farm over to Richard Pearce; “With the road as its bottom boundary the farm took in a section to the creek and a dozen or so acres of flattish land at the bottom of the gully.  It then rose up the western side of the valley taking in a long ridge which was his boundary with James Wood on the Milton side, a shallow gully (at right angles to the main valley) dotted with scrub, and another long ridge which was his boundary with Frank Barra, the next farmer up Louden’s Gully.  The lower boundary of Pearse’s property was at an elevation of 100 feet and the farm rose to about 400 ft at its back boundary.

The cottage he moved into was a much more primitive abode than Trewarlet. It must have been one of the earliest wooden homes in the valley, it was walled with roughly-hewn weatherboards and originally had a shingle roof.  Downstairs the cottage was divided in two with a kitchen-cum-living room to the left and a bedroom to the right.  There was a small stove in the kitchen but no water was laid on.  This had to be fetched by bucket from a rain tank out by the barn.  A lean-to at the rear was used as a pantry and storeroom, and there was an outdoor privy.  Up a narrow ladder you climbed eleven steps to extra bedroom space in the low-peaked attic, which was also divided in two.  Pearse later stored grass seed up there.

Richard Pearce, NZ’s first aviator, had the farm for a brief time after Martin. Photo taken in 2000 at the time it was part of the Barra farm, courtesy of Paul Klemick.

The interior walls of both attic and downstairs rooms were lined with newspaper, and in the attic especially there is still some good reading to be had if you do not mind a kink in your neck.  The favourite literature of successive occupants during the 1880s and 90s seems to have been the Bruce Herald, the Otago Witness, the New Zealand Tablet, Queen, the Illustrated London News, and the Black and White.  The earliest decipherable issue is a Bruce Herald from 1878.  On top of this journalistic backing, traces of faded floral wallpaper may yet be seen.  Dim light reached the attic rooms through small square windows at each end of the cottage and downstairs there were five assorted windows of “unbreakable” gauze glass.

There was a front door opening on to a view across the bottom fields to the creek and far side of Louden’s Gully; and there were two back doors.  The flooring was of unevenly laid totara and there were no floor coverings.  A bed, one or two cupboards, a table and some wooden chairs were the remaining fittings, and a kerosene lamp provided light in the evening.

The only other facilities were a barn (Bert Paul’s “stable”), a shed, a few looseboxes sited east or up-valley from the cottage, and a sheep yard behind. A rough path led down to the creek, across a small bridge and up to the road on the other flank of the gully.  Some old apple trees and an elderberry grew by the west end of the house, but there was little or no garden.  A wire fence marked out the bottom boundary, and gorse hedges did the same service at the sides and rear of his property.  The farm was not subdivided into paddocks by any further fencing.  A willow or two grew by the creek and there was some stunted scrub, a gorse shelterbelt and some bracken in the middle gully.  Close-cropped grass surrounded the cottage and most of the high land was clothed in tussock.” South to Milton, Richard Pearce, pp 114 & 115


Martin Klimeck at home, courtesy of Pauline Lee

Martin also worked as a plate layer with other Polish settlers on the construction of the Railway line between Wingatui and Alexandra, a distance of about 225 km. He also worked on the Catlins, Owaka, Otago Central, (via Middlemarch) and the Riversdale railway line. Here Martin managed a working gang on the Waikaia railway in 1908 including Thomas Welnoski and his brother Frank being among them. Martin moved to 61 Clyde Street, Dunedin, around 1911 where he did a variety of labouring work. He then decided taking on Hotel Keeping first at the Empire Hotel at Naseby, Central Otago, where he was owner and publican on 4 June 1912 until 25 February 1914. He then moved to Aberdeen Street, Georgetown near Oamaru, as a publican on 25 July 1914 until 11 September 1915. The family then returned to Dunedin where Martin worked firstly as a Quarry Manager while residing at Cumberland Street. They moved to 12 Queensburry Street, North East Valley, before taking over the Normanby Hotel on 7 June 1920 until 1922 when Martin retired. At one time, Martin owned the land where the Law Courts Hotel (Cobb & Co) stands today. During his retirement he sold this property and invested the money with his lawyer, but his lawyer had made some bad investments and Martin lost most of it. They purchased land at 20 Market Street, St. Kilda, Dunedin and built their retirement home. Martin died at his residence in Dunedin on 8 July 1932, aged 68.  A Requiem Mass was held for Martin at the St. Patrick’s Basilica in South Dunedin..

“DEATHS. KLIMECK.—On July 8. 1932, at his residence, 20 Market street, St. Kllda, Martin, dearly beloved husband of Minnie Barra Klimeck; aged 68 years. R.I.P. —Requiem Mass at St. Patrick’s Basilica on Monday, July 11, at 9 a.m.—Private interment.—W. H. Cole, undertaker.” Otago Daily Times, 9 July 1932, p 10

Minnie died on 25 February 1946 aged 78 and is buried with husband at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.


1772/1773 West Prussian Land Register for Michal Klimek of Rzezecin, great grandfather to Mathias Klimek


Frank Klimeck, Catholic Block 4 & 8 Plot 3 at Wreys Bush Cemetery Frances was buried at Waihola.

Annie Klimeck, Roman Catholic Block 42 Plot 6 at Southern Cemetery in Dunedin


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 37, 43, 51 & 155.

Research Sources

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

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

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

Caversham Tall Boys, Patient Records, Dunedin Hocken Library.

Clement E. J. (nee Klimeck), supplied family information (1972) for History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand.

Godziszewo, Kiełbasin, Lubiszewo Tczewskie, Piaseczno, Skarszewy, Subkowy & Tczew Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.

Klemick Martin, Nightcaps, supplied information on Frank Klimeck & family (1983).

Lee Pauline, provided photos of Martin Klimeck and family.

Matheson Peter & Heinke for the German translation of comments on the marriage certificate of Maciej Klimek and Anna Smolińska.

Paul Klemick and Mary Maloney at the grave of Felix Klimeck, Block B Plot 20 at Wynyard Cemetery in Tasmania

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.

School APW’s, Dunedin Hocken Library.

Taylor Mary, supplied photos & information on early family history and the Klimeck’s in Australia & Tasmania.

Waihola Cemetery Records, Clutha District Council, Balclutha

Walsh Lynette, Dunedin, supplied McEwan family history & photos.


Mathew Klimeck, Roman Catholic Block 27 Plot 26 at Southern Cemetery in Dunedin

Martin Klimeck and Minnie (nee Barra), Block 124 Plot 4 at Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin

Andersons Bay Cemetery – Martin Klimeck (1863-1932) – Dunedin City Council

Papers Past (natlib.govt.nz)

Southern Cemetery – Annie Klimeck (1820-1882) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Mathew Klimeck (1819-1899) – Dunedin City Council

Unassisted passenger lists (1852-1923) | PROV

Wreys Bush Cemetery – Frank Klemick (1855-1919) – Find A Grave Memorial









Compiled by Paul Klemick (2023)



Chairperson .....  Ewa Rożecka Pollard
Phone ......+64 3 477 5552
Secretary ..... Anna McCreath Munro
Phone ..... +64 3 464 0053

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Poles in New Zealand   We would like to hear from Poles or people with any Polish connection, who visited New Zealand and particularly those of you who paid a visit or lived anywhere in Otago or Southland.

Polski  “Poles Down South” jest stroną internetową organizacji polonijnej w Nowej Zelandii działającej w rejonie Otago i Southland na Wyspie Południowej. Siedzibą organizacji jest Dunedin.