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Bara Family


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Bara, Piotr Albrecht, Coachman (1827-1904) Malenin, the son of August Bara & Justyna Dering, m. (7 Feb 1858) Church of the Holy Cross, Tczew, Eleanora (Helena) Wilhelmina Maaś (1829-1909). Piotr was a driver for the Premier of Poland and was very fond of horses. Helena was a Governess in Poland, being fairly well educated. Family—Gniszewo; Franciszek Jozef (1858-1932), August Karol(1860-1865), Maryanna Rozalia (1861-1873), Teresia Augusta (1863-1839), Robert Jakob (1865-1865), Maria Louisa (1866-1965) & Wilhelmine (Minnie) Auguste (1867-1946). The family then moved to Czarnocin where along the way they had their youngest child, Bernhard (1870-1951). The family left Czarnocin for Hamburg, where they set aboard the “Reichstag” 10 May 1874, arriving at Port Nicholson, Wellington, 6 Aug 1874.

Theresa Barra, kindly provided by Peter Chiles

Listed aboard were—Peter Bahra 45, Helena 45, Franz 16, Rosa 12, Maria 7, Minna 6 & Bernhardt 4. They travelled south to Waihola where Peter worked on the railway works along the Taieri and purchased property in block 22 at Waihola 15 Dec 1874. Here the family lived in a sod cottage of which a wooden room was later added surrounded by beautiful gardens and enclosed with a white picket fence. The 82’ Freeholders lists Peter Barra as owning 2 acres of land to the value of £200 at Waihola. Both Peter & Leonore were naturalised as New Zealand citizens 9 Dec 1899. Peter was tall in stature bearing a long beard and was regarded a well spoken gentleman while Emma was known as a superb cook. Peter died 23 Aug 1904; An old resident of Waihola, Peter Barra, aged 77 years, was found dead at his residence on Tuesday, 23rd inst. He occupied a room by himself, and on Monday night returned to rest as usual, but on being called next morning by his wife he made no response. As the door was snibbed inside, Mrs Barra went to a window, and not seeing her husband in bed she became alarmed, and, with the aid of some neighbours, the door was burst open, and deceased was discovered lying on the floor. At an inquest held on the body the following day before Mr A. S. Paterson, acting–coroner, Dr J. Sutherland, of Milton, who examined the body, said he was of opinion that the cause of death was sudden failure of the heart through senile decay, and a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned. 31 Aug 1904 OW. Leonora (Helena/Emma) Wilhelmina died at the house of her son-in-law, Martin Klimeck of Milton, 11 Sep 1909; Mrs Peter Barra, a native of Germany, and a resident at Waihola since 1874, died at Milton on Thursday last; aged 81. Two sons (who are farming in the Milton district) and three daughters, who are all married, with 14 grandchildren, survive. 15 Sep 1909 OW. MRS LEONORA BARRA; ÆTAT 81. On Thursday afternoon, September 9th, Mrs. Leonora Barra (nee Mass), relict of the late Peter Barra, died at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. Martin Klimeck, Milton. Deceased was a native of Elbing, Germany, and more than fifty year age was united to Mr. Barra by the bonds which could be severed only by Death. Eight children were born to them, but when they left the Fatherland for New Zealand in 1874 three had died. On arriving in the colony the family settled at Waihola. Those of the family who survive to mourn the loss of their mother are Frank (Louden’s Gully), Bernard (North Branch), Theresa (Mrs. Halba, Lawrence), Mary (Mrs. Henderson, Australia), and Wilhelmina (Mrs. M. Klimeck, Milton). There are 14 grandchildren. The remains of deceased were laid at rest in the Fairfax Cemetery on Saturday, Rev. Father Howard conducting the religious rites at the graveside. 13 Sep 1909 BH. Both Peter & Emma are buried at the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton.

Peter & Emma Barra, Block 7, Plot 14, Fairfax Cemetery

Franz (Frank) Joseph Barra was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen 13 Jun 1887 and m. (14 Oct 1896) St. Mary’s, Milton, Paulina (Polly) Catharina Rekowska. Family—Waihola; James Francis & Herbert Peter. He worked for a time on the railways then in 1899 purchased an 80 acre property for farming at Loudens Gully, 2 miles east of Milton. In 1920 he purchased a further 80 acres adjoining his farm. Frank died 8 Jun 1932 aged 73 and is buried at the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton.

Teresa Augusta Barra was 12 years old when she arrived in New Zealand and recalls the trip as the highlight of her childhood, a memory which remained with her until her death. As a young lady she was engaged as a maid in the Waihola district. She m. (30 Dec 1891) St. Mary’s, Milton, Joseph Valentine Halba. For a time, they lived at Waihola, Taihape, Lawrence, Circle Hill and finally settling down in Milton. Moving around the country during her married life brought to the fore, all her best qualities. Her life was hard, and with her husband working up to twelve hours a day and sometimes being away for six days a week, Teresa had to shoulder the burden of raising the family alone. Each child had a different outlook and nature, but all held their mother in the highest esteem. During her life she always received praise for her excellent quality of baking and cooking. The fact that all her children were on the lean side believes the fact that they ate heartily on good quality food. The pantry was always full of fruits, pickles, jams, sauerkraut, beers, wines and fruit juices etc. Like her husband, she led a quiet family orientated life. She did not concern herself with outside affairs, but rather directed her energies to her own and her brothers and sisters families. She died in Milton 4 Dec 1939 aged 76 and is buried at the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton.

Joseph Halba & Therese (nee Barra), Block 11 Plot 160, Fairfax Cemetery

Maria Louisa Barra, as a young lady, went to Australia where she m. (1899) Ernest Henderson, an English photographer. Family—Doris. After his death she r.m. (1909) Australian Jim Moore, returning to New Zealand where they settled in Dunedin. Family—Alice & Margaret. Mary died 16 Sep 1965 aged 99 and is buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

Wilhelmina (Minnie) Auguste Barra m. (22 Feb 1887) St. Mary’s, Milton, Martin Klimeck. For a while the couple lived in Hobart (Australia), Riversdale, Chrystalls Beach, Loudens Gully, Naseby, Georgetown and finally in Dunedin. After a few years of working on various railway works, Martin & Minnie tried their hand at farming. It was then onto hotelier work where they managed in succession various hotels around Otago before retiring to South Dunedin. On February 25 there passed away at her residence, 20 Market Street, St. Kilda. Mrs Minnie Klimeck, widow of Mr Martin Klimeck and a highly esteemed parishioner of St. Patricks’s, South Dunedin. Born in Poland, 78 years ago, the late Mrs Klimeck came to New Zealand when about six years of age. After her marriage to Mr Martin Klimeck, who was also of Polish birth, Mr and Mrs Klimeck lived in the Milton Parish, where Mr Klimeck had a farm, and where their family of seven children were born. Towards the end of the First World War Mr and Mrs Klimeck moved to Dunedin, where for several years they were engaged in the hotel business. Of a quiet and retiring disposition, the late Mrs Klimeck did not enter into public affairs. Her life centred around hearth and altar, and exemplified that burning faith which is characteristic of the Polish people. Her priest son, Father E. L. Klimeck, O.P., of the English Dominican Congregation and formerly a professor at the Provincial Seminary at Mosgiel and afterwards Administrator of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Dunedin, arrived in New Zealand after an absence of ten years just a few weeks before the short illness that preceded her death, at which his presence was without doubt an answer to a mother’s prayer. Requiem Mass was celebrated on February 27 in St. Patrick’s Basilica, South Dunedin, By Father Klimeck, O.P. His Lordship Bishop O’Neill was present in the sanctuary, as also were present in the sanctuary, as also were Right. Rev. Mgr. Delany, V.G., and Fathers Gavin (Adm. Cathedral), Ardagh (P.P., Forbury), Marlow (Cathedral), Phillips, C.M. (Holy Cross College), Walls (South Dunedin), and Toomey (Forbury). Father Klimeck officiated at the graveside, at which were present also Most Rev. Dr O’Neill and the clergy—R.I.P. . Minnie passed away 25 Feb 1946, aged 78 and was buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

Bernard Barra, Block 192 Plot 61, Andersons Bay Cemetery

Bernard Barra, as a young man, was a farm labourer in mid-Canterbury. He m. (7 May 1908) Loudon’s Gully, Rose Rekowski and after a while went to take up farming in Australia. However, severe droughts and harsh climatic conditions forced them to return to New Zealand financially broken. Bernard took up farming once again, this time at North Branch, 2 miles north of Milton, and was successful with his efforts. He was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen 8 Dec 1926. Both he and his wife remained in Milton until ill health forced them to leave farming. Bernard died in Dunedin 21 Jan 1951 aged 80 and is buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

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


Catholic Baptism Records, St. Joseph’s, Catholic Archives, Dunedin

Andersons Bay Cemetery – Bernard Barra (1870-1951) – Dunedin City Council

Andersons Bay Cemetery – Minnie Klimeck (1867-1946) – Dunedin City Council

Fairfax Cemetery Records, Dunedin Public Library

Halba Allan, Timaru, provided family informaton & genealogy (1999)

Hamburg Passenger Lists

New Zealand Freeholders 1882

New Zealand Naturalisations, ancestry.com

Pobόg-Jaworowski J. W., History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, Warsaw, 1990, pages 36, 42, 43, 51, 155, 166, 196 & 198.

Polish BDM Records, Pelplin Archives

Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, Dunedin

Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)