Halba, Jan Karol (1834-1914) Stanisławie, the son of Jakob Alba (1791-1847) & Anna Gędzierska (1797-1852), married on 13 November 1859 at Church of the Holy Trinity, Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Brigitta Brzoskowska (1839-1920) Dąbrówa-Tczewska, the daughter of Jozef Brzoskowski (1790-1863) & Helena Ossowska (1785-1873). During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) Jan 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. Jan 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, Jan & Brigitta raised their nephew Jozef Walenty Anis (1863-1938) Lisewo Malborskie, the son of Dawid Anis (1834-1896) & Rozalia Brzoskowska (1830-1876), as their own. They left Trczińsk for Hamburg where they set aboard the Palmerston on 29 Jul 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers, Dunedin on 6 December 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 John purchased their property later the next year. 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. Bridget 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, John 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 John as owning 21 acres to the value of £150 at Waihola. John, a farmer, was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 10 October 1893. Bridget 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.”, 14 May 1896, Otago Witness.
John died on 19 May 1914 aged 80 & Bridget, who preferred to live almost in isolation, died on 7 December 1920 aged 80 at her son’s home at Circle Hill. They are both buried at the Waihola Cemetery.
Józef Walenty Halba (Anis) after learning to be a platelayer with his father aged 12, worked in both islands for the New Zealand Railway. He then went into into farming at Circle Hill and later worked for the Milburn Lime and Cement Company until health forced him to retire. Joseph died on 11 February 1938 at Milton and is buried at the Fairfax Cemetery.
“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, Bruce Herald.
“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, Bruce Herald.
Theresa died at Balclutha Hospital on 4 December 1939 aged 76 and is buried at the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton with her husband.
Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 22, 32, 33, 43, 168 & 198.
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.
Fairfax Cemetery Records, Dunedin Public Library.
Halba Alan, Timaru, provided photos, information & genealogy.
Konczewice, Lubiszewo Tczewskie, Miłobądz & Subkowy Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.
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.
Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)