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St. Mary’s Catholic Church


Original wooden St Mary’s Catholic Church built around 1868, courtesy of Paul Klemick

From the time of the Gabriel’s Gully rush until the appointment of Bishop Moran, Milton was visited by a priest from Lawrence.  About 1868 a wooden church was erected, which was replaced by a brick building in 1892; and a substantial brick presbytery was built in 1885. The Dominican nuns were introduced in 1891, and occupied what had been a private residence in the extensive grounds purchased for them, until a new brick convent was opened for them in 1901.

Polish marriages held in the first church.

1880, 9 Oct, Joseph OrlowskiPauline Philippowski

1887, 22 Feb, Martin KlimeckMinnie Barra

1889, 12 Jun, Anicich Antonio – Ellen Plevenski

1891, 25 May, Henry Hand – Barbara Welnoski

1891, 30 Dec, Joseph Halba – Theresa Barra

Catholic Church built in 1892, courtesy of Paul Klemick


(From a Correspondent.) Milton, January 24, 1892. The ceremony of blessing and opening the new Roman Catholic schools and church at Milton took place to-day at 11 o’clock. The Most Rev. Dr Moran celebrated pontifical high mass and preached. The deacon and subdeacon were the Very Rev. P. O’Leary and the Rev. Father O’Donnell; master of the ceremonies, the Rev. P. Lynch ; and the assistant at the throne, the “Very Rev. Father Plunkett. There was a very large congregation, composed of persons from Milton, Dunedin, Mosgiel, Oamaru, Balclutha, and Kaitangata. The collection amounted to (pounds) 180, and the Rev. Father O’Neill announced that only a debt of (pounds) IOO remained unpaid. Bishop Moran, in his discourse, denounced the present Godless system of education and the monstrous injustice done to Catholics, who pay for the education of their own children while contributing to the education of other people’s children. A most efficient choir rendered the music of the mass, and seldom, if ever, have the people of Milton heard more excellent music. The Very Rev. F. Plunket preached in the evening to a very large congregation. Mr Hollick, of Milton, was architect and contractor of the building, which was much admired by all. The cost was about (pounds) 1100.”


Polish marriages held in the new church.

1895, 5 Jun, David Dickson Stevenson – Rose Mehalski

1896, 14 Oct, Francis Barra – Pauline Rekowske

1896, 14 Oct, August Francis Rekowske – Mary Ottrey

1906, 10 Oct, Thomas Welnoskie – Annie Bell Dysart



Catholic Baptism & Marriage Records, St. Joseph’s, Catholic Archives, Dunedin. Kindly compiled by Pauline Lee

Papers Past | Magazines and Journals | Explore | New Zealand Tablet (natlib.govt.nz)


Compiled by Paul Klemick (2022)

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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.



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


The Polish Heritage of Otago & Southland Charitable Trust


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