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Klimek Family


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Klimek, Maciej, Coachman, (1819-1899) Bielsk, the son of Jan Klimek (1794-1854) & Maryanna Łukowska (1798-1832), married on 25 April 1847 at St. Jan Nepomuncen, Godziszewo to Anna Smolińska (1820-1882) Brzuśce, the daughter of Szymon Smoliński (1791-1867) & Dorota Rybicka (1798-1844). Both resided in the village of Turze around this time. Prior to marriage it is believed that Maciej had go away for a period of time.  During this period it has been said that Anna Smolińska worked as a maid for an estate where guests were often entertained and fratinising with the staff was common. It is while working for this estate that Anna gave birth to a son, Jan Smoliński (1844-1922), at Stanisławie.  Some also believe that Jan could have been the son of the German Count for whom Anna worked for.

​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.  Szymon Smoliński then married on 11 October 1845 at Church of the Holy Trinity, Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Anna Sztella (1793-1863) Stanisławie, the dauhter of Jakob Sztella (1769-1819) & Anna Maryanna Meglus (1763).  Family of Maciej & Anna Klimek—Kamierowo; Matilda Julianna (1848-1921), Pawłowo; Karol Maciej (1849-1855), Damaszka; Teodor Adolf (1852-1855) & Franciszek (1855-1919), Mirakowo; Michal (1857-1870) & Teodor (1860-1922), Małżewo; Marcin (1863-1932) & August Robert (1866-1869). 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. Teodor remembers blood in the snow and doorway after his uncle was shot. He was round about seven years old, which would place the time around the winter in the late 60’s, the family still residing in the village of Małżewo. I am thinking it could possibly be a brother Michal who died in December of 1870 aged 13. The family believe that it may have something to do with army matters, possibly the Prussian Army. During 1869-1870, the family had moved to Rokitki. Maciej worked as a labourer and coachman in Poland, working for a time for an aristocratic family. The family fled Rokitki as the boys were to be forced into the German army. Jewish sailors smuggled the family into the bow of a boat and were sent up the Wisła River. They travelled to Hamburg where they set aboard the Gutenburg on 4 July 1874, arriving at Port Lyttleton, Akaroa on 25 October 1874

Ellen Klemick (daughter in-law), Frank Klimeck & Annie Klimeck (daughter). 1908. Photo kindly provided by Klemick family, Invercargill.

Listed aboard were—Mathias Klimeck 55, Anna 54, Franz 17, Theodor 13 & Martin 9. They travelled south to Waihola where daughter Mathilda and family were residing. The 82’ Free Holders records Mathias as having owned 3 acres of land to the value of £200 at Waihola. Mathias is said to have worked as a labourer during his working years in New Zealand after the railways were completed. Around the early 1880’s, during the 1879-1896 depression, sons, Theodor & Martin left Waihola for Melbourne, Australia where they worked on the Railways. Martin returned to New Zealand while Theodor remained. Anna Klimeck died at Green Island on 30 October 1882 at the residence of her daughter Mathilda Tikey, aged 62. She is buried at the Southern Cemetery, Dunedin. During the years 1896 to 1898, Mathias Klimeck (Mathew), resided at Shag Point with son-in-law, Frederick Teike, who was working in the coalmines. Here Mathias received outdoor relief for an illness, through the Otago Benevolent Institute until his condition worsened. Mathias and Frederick Teike moved to Macandrew Road, South Dunedin. On 11 September 1897, Mathias was institutionalised at the Otago Benevolent Institute, Caversham, Dunedin, suffering from results of past work and old age. 16 months in the Institute, Mathias passed away on 8 February 1899 aged 79 and is buried at the Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Franz (Frank) Klimeck married on 22 April 1882 at the House of Franz Annis, Waihola to Francisca (Fanny) Apollonia Cherkowska (Chełkowska), the daughter of Adalbert Cherkowski & Catharina Stolc. Frank Klimeck purchased 12 Sections of land above the township of Waihola on 23 May 1884, previously owned by Paul Baumgardt. Family—Waihola; Felix (1884-1961) & Annie (1885-1968). After the railway work came to a close Frank worked as a farm labourer for Thomas Adam. On 2 October 1886 Fanny died suddenly at Waihola of apoplexy, aged 29. Felix and Annie were sent to live with their Uncle Fred & Aunt Mathilda Tikey of Fairfield. From Dunedin Frank set aboard the Te Anau on 12 July, arriving at Melbourne on 20 July 1888. He worked for a while with his brother Theodor in Southern Australia on the railway before finding Australia not to his liking. He returned to New Zealand residing at Nightcaps in 1911 working as a labourer. Here he lived in a small hut at the back of his son’s property. 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.” 3 Jun 1919, OSWCC.

Harriett & Theodor (Felix) Klimeck (1885). Photo kindly provided by Mary Taylor, Bendigo.

Theodor, known as (Felix) or (Phil) Klimeck before departing for Melbourne had met up with Jane McEwan, who resided with her father in Fairfield.  Jane’s father, John McEwan, also worked in the same coal mining company as their uncle Fred Tikey, who they were residing with after the death of their mother Anna Klimeck. As a result of modern DNA testing it reveals that Jane later had a son William, born at Shag Point in 1884 possibly unaware to Theodore.  This branch of the family live in the Dunedin region. Theodor married on 9 June 1885 at St. Patrick’s, Latrobe, Tasmania to Harriet Catherine Milbourne (1865-1953) Ulverston, the daughter of George Seymour Milbourne & 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 Theodor 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 layed 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. Family—Melbourne, Clifton Hills; Frank Mathias (1886-1938), Melbourne, Dandenong; Henry Theodor (1888-1968) & Alice Matilda (1890-1982), Ulverstone, Tasmania; Elsie Annie (1893-1972), Menindee; Helen Mary (1894-1895), Coolgardie; Felix Walter (1896-1897), Devenport, Tasmania; Joseph Stanislaus (1900-1965), Mary Magdalen (1903-1923), Felix Paul (1906-1980) & Monica Catherine (1909-1996). Felix travelled around Australia with his growing family from Latrobe, Tasmania to Dandenong, Melbourne and worked on the railways in N.S.W. 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. Felix Klimeck died at Wynyard, Tasmania on 9 March 1922 aged 62. It is said that Felix’s own horses pulled the hearse at his funeral and is buried at the Wynyard Cemetery. Harriet died at Launceston, Tasmania on 15 December 1953.

Martin Klimeck. Photo kindly provided by Pauline Lee, Dunedin

Martin Klimeck married on 22 February 1887 at St. Mary’s, Milton to Wilhelmina Augusta (Minnie) Barra. Martin worked in Melbourne laying tram lines with his brother before the marriage. Martin & 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 inlaw to Minnie. In New Zealand Martin 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, Thomas Welnoski being among them. Martin purchased property at Waihola on the corner of Chatham & Greenhithe Streets on 20 June 1888 and later sold it on 3 October 1900. Family—Waihola; Mary Louise (1888-1972), Wilhelmina Augusta (1889-1993), William Patrick (1892-1977) & Eleanor Annie (1893-1991), Tokomairiro; Martin Joseph (1895-1983) & Rosalie Theresa (1899-2003), Akatore; Peter John (1902-1960). 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 Chrystals Beach, Glenledi, then called Bull Creek, 12 miles east of Milton, from Feb 1896 – 1900. 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 & 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 Klimek’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 & 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.

Theodor & Frank Klimek (far right) in South Australia working on the southern railway. Ca. 1890s. Kindly provided by Mary Taylor, Bendigo

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 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 Naesby, 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 on 8 July 1932 aged 68 and Minnie died on 25 February 1946 aged 78. Both are buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.




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

Annie Klimeck, Roman Catholic Block 42 Plot 6, Southern Cemetery


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 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 & family.

New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs Naturalisations, Births, Deaths and Marriages.

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

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.


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

Mathew Klimeck, Roman Catholic Block 27 Plot 26, Southern Cemetery

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

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 (2021)