Anis (Halba) Family
Anis (Halba) Józef Walenty (1863-1938) Lisewo Malborskie, the son of Dawid Anis & Różalia Brzoskowska, was raised in Poland by relatives, Jan Karol Halba & Brigitte Brzoskowska. They left Trczińsk for Hamburg where they set aboard the “Palmerston” 29 Jul 1872 and arrived at Port Chalmers, Dunedin, 6 Dec 1872. Listed aboard were—Johann C. Halba 39, Johanna 30 & Joseph 9. They were sent south to Scroggs Creek to work for Brogden & Sons laying the main southern rail line along the Taieri. By Mar 73’ they were residing at Waihola, where Johann built a small but abiding sod hut (still standing) at Cull Street. Here Joseph Valentine Halba, as he was known in New Zealand, m. (30 Dec 1891) St. Mary’s, Milton, Theresa Augusta Barra (1863-1939) Gniszewo, the daughter of Peter Barra & Eleonora Wilhelmina Maaś. Family—Waihola; John (1893-1893), Rosalie Theresa (1895-1933), John Peter (1901-1942), Theresa Josephine (1902-1977), Taihape; Joseph Francis (1906-1966), & Lenora Briget (1907-1949). Having lived on leased property just south of Waihola since 1901 to 1903 they moved to Taihape where Joseph worked as a section foreman on the railways and stayed for about five years. Returning to Waihola Joseph briefly worked on the Catlins line. He later worked from Lawrence on the Clarksville – Roxburgh line for about a couple of years. For a time Joseph walked from Waihola to Lawrence until he purchased a house in Whitehaven Street in June 1910 and sold in 1911. In Sep 1915, aged 52, he left the railways after 40 years of service and bought the “Halba Block”, a farm of 118.10 ha. at Circle Hill. With the upsurge of rabbits in the country and little knowledge about farming Joseph stubbornly persisted that the shallow soils of the hills would grow grain crops successfully. After a continuous seven to nine years struggle he was forced to relinquish the property in Jan 1925. In July 1921 he purchased a house on the corner of Cowper and Spenser Streets, Milton and in 1925 commenced work for the Milburn Lime & Cement Company at Milburn quarry. Later that year, both were naturalised as New Zealand citizens on Dec 2. In 1936, aged 73, bad health forced him to retire after 11 years at the Lime Kilns. He really enjoyed work and never took part in any outside affairs, being content with his home life. It was quite normal for him to work out in the rain while his mates took shelter. The mates caught the colds and flu’s while old Joe never seemed to catch a thing. At the age of 60 he was able to pace himself and work beyond those 30 years younger than himself. It is not known for certain, but Joseph had a gold mine across the lake somewhere and he usually had a tin matchbox filled at times with nuggets. Joseph was a quiet homely man who was not blessed with a great deal of patience, especially when playing cards. He had a genuine love of children, which grew into a state of irritability as they grew. He also enjoyed a good argument but sometimes got rather heated and serious. On 11 Feb 1938 Joseph died at his residence in Milton aged 74. The hand of death fell suddenly on Mr Joseph Valentine Halba at his residence, Spenser Street, Milton, on Friday evening. He had just finished his evening meal and was going outside when he collapsed at the back door from a severe heart attack. He was carried inside, and attempts were made to revive him. He rallied slightly, but passed away shortly before the arrival of medical assistance. No inquest is necessary, a certificate being forthcoming. 14 Feb 1938 BH. Mr Joseph Valentine Halba, who passed away with tragic suddenness at his residence, Spenser Street, last Friday evening, was born in Liepshau, Germany, in August 1863, so that he was in his 75th year at the time of his demise. At the age of 11 years he emigrated with his parents to New Zealand, in the sailing vessel Palmerston, landing at Port Chalmers and settling at Waihola. At 12 years he was learning platelaying with his father, and assisted in laying the railway between Christchurch and Bluff for the New Zealand Government. Later he was foreman for about three years of a section on the North Island Main Trunk railway, and he then assisted in laying the Catlins line. In 1893 he married Teresa Barra, of North Branch, the wedding being solemnised at Milton. Shortly before he was due to retire on superannuation he purchased a farming property in Circle Hill district, relinquishing this after about seven years to reside in Milton. He worked at the Milburn Lime and Cement Company’s works at Milburn until about two years ago, when an operation forced him to retire from active labours. He never took any part in outside affairs, being content with his home life. His widow and four members of the family of five are left to mourn the loss of a devoted father. The members of the family are John and Joseph, Misses Teresa and Nora, all resident in Milton. Another daughter, Rosalie (Mrs J. Wilson), died about five years ago. 17 Feb 1938 BH. Theresa died at Balclutha Hospital 4 Dec 1939 aged 76 and is buried at the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton with her husband.
Johann Carl Halba (1834-1914) Stanisławie, the son of Jacob Alba & Anna Gędzierska, m. (13 Nov 1859) Church of the Holy Trinity, Lubiszewo-Tczewskie, Brigitta Brzoskowska (1839-1920) Dąbrówa-Tczewska, the daughter of Joseph Brzoskowski & Helena Ossowska. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) Johann was conscripted into the army. He was later known to fly the Prussian Regimental Banner once a year whilst living in New Zealand and was presented with the Regimental Emblem as a tribute indicating that he fought with distinction & courage. Johann in Poland worked as a farm labourer & Brigitta was reputed to be a governess, which indicated a reasonable education. Being unable to have children of their own, Johann & Brigitta raised their nephew Joseph, the son of David Anis & Rosalia Brzoskowska, as their own. They left Trczińsk for Hamburg where they set aboard the “Palmerston” 29 Jul 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers, Dunedin, 6 Dec 1872. Listed aboard were—Johann C. Halba 39, Johanna 30 & Joseph 9. The family were sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden & Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. By mid March, 1873, they were living in Cull Street, Waihola where Johan purchased their property in 1874. Here he built the family a small but abiding sod brick hut (still standing). It had a mud floor, no windows, one door & measured 4 x 2.5m in size and was about 3m high at the peak. Brigitta brought out with her from Poland a brass pestle and mortar, which has been handed down through the family. In New Zealand Joseph Anis was known as Joseph Valentin Halba and in 1875 at the age of 12 he commenced work with the New Zealand Railways and was placed with his Father learning plate-laying. After the railway work on the Taieri had completed, Johann took a horse and sledge into the hills behind Waihola and cut manuka to sell or barter with. He was also listed as a labourer and tried his hand at farming. The 82’ Freeholders lists Johan as owning 21 acres to the value of £150 at Waihola. Johann, a farmer, was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen 10 Oct 1893. Brigitta or (Johanna) as she was more commonly known in New Zealand, was regarded as having a very frugal streak to her nature but leading the pioneer ladies usual hard life. FOR SALE, Four-roomed HOUSE, Barn, and four-stalled Stable, Coalshed, Fowlhouse, &c. Three Acres of Ground – one sown in Grass. Orchard, comprising 100 Fruit Trees (Apples, Pears, Plums, and Cherries, &c.) and 100 Gooseberry and Currant Bushes. Fences in good order. Situated in Waihola Township. 14my JOHN C. HALBA. “Otago Witness”, 14 May 1896. Johan died 19 May 1914 aged 80 & Johanna, who preferred to live almost in isolation, died 7 Dec 1920 aged 80 at her son’s home at Circle Hill. They are both buried at the Waihola Cemetery.
Bruce Herald, Hocken Library, Dunedin
Fairfax Cemetery Records, Dunedin Public Library
Hamburg Passenger Lists
Halba Alan, provided photos, information & genealogy
New Zealand Naturalisations, ancestry.com
Paperspast; Papers Past | Newspapers Home (natlib.govt.nz)
Pobόg-Jaworowski J. W., History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, Warsaw, 1990, pages 22, 32, 33, 43, 168 & 198.
Polish BDM, Pelplin Archives
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, Dunedin
Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)