Maciej (Mathew) Klimek, a coachman, (b. 1819–d. 1899) was born at Bielsk, the son of Jan Klimek (b. 1794–d. 1854) and Maryanna Łukowska (b. 1798–d. 1832). Maciej married on 25 April 1847 at St. Jan Nepomuncen in Godziszewo to Anna Smolińska (b. 1820 at Brzuśce–d. 1882), the daughter of Szymon Smoliński (b. 1791–d. 1867) and Dorota Rybicka (b. 1798–d. 1844). Both resided in the village of Turze around this time. Prior to marriage it is believed that Maciej had to 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 staff was common. It is while working for this estate that Anna gave birth to a son, Jan Smoliński (b. 1844–d. 1922), at Stanisławie. Mona Todd, a granddaughter, recalls been told when she was much younger, that John was the son of either a guest at the German manor or the landlord himself.
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. Her father Szymon Smoliński then remarried on 11 October 1845 at Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Anna Sztella (b. 1793 at Stanisławie–d. 1863), the dauhter of Jakob Sztella (b. 1769–d. 1819) and Anna Maryanna Meglus (b. 1763).
The family of Maciej and Anna Klimek at Kamierowo were Matilda Julianna (b. 1848–d. 1921), at Pawłowo; Karol Maciej (b. 1849–d. 1855), at Damaszka; Teodor Adolf (b. 1852–d. 1855) and Franciszek (b. 1855–d. 1919), at Mirakowo; Michal (b. 1857–d. 1870) and Teodor (b. 1860–d. 1922), at Małżewo; Marcin (b. 1863–d. 1932) and August Robert (b. 1866–d. 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. 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 the village of 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 in Akaroa on 25 October 1874
Listed aboard were—Mathias Klimeck age 55, Anna 54, Franz 17, Theodor 13 and Martin 9. They travelled south to Waihola where daughter Mathilda and family were residing. According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, Mathias owned three acres of land at Waihola valued at £200. 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 in Australia where they worked on the Railways. Martin returned to New Zealand while Theodor remained. Anna Klimeck died at Fairfield on 30 October 1882 at the residence of her daughter Mathilda Tikey, aged 62, and was buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin. During the years 1896 to 1898, Mathias resided at Shag Point with his son-in-law, Frederick Teike, who was working in the coalmines there. 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 in South Dunedin. On 11 September 1897, Mathias was institutionalised at the Otago Benevolent Institute at Caversham in Dunedin, suffering from results of past work and old age. After 16 months in the Institute, Mathias passed away on 8 February 1899 aged 79 and is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin. His death was reported in the Otago Witness as dying of senile decay.
Jan Smoliński married married on 17 October 1869 at the Church of the Holy Trinity at Lubiszewo-Tzcewskie to Franciszka (Fanny) Malinowska (b. 1850 at Kolincz–d. 1913), the daughter of Tomasz Malinowski (b. 1807–d. in America) and Katarzyna Rekowska (b. 1815–d. in America). The family born at Małźewo were Jakob (b. 1870–d. 1870) and Maryanna Rozalia (b. 1871–d. 1879), at Rukosin; Jan (b. 1874–d. 1905), Jozef (b. 1876–d. 1878) and at Małźewo; Franciszek (b. 1878–d. 1940). The family set aboard the Marlborough on 23 October 1879, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 7 January 1880. The family travelled south to Waihola where family were residing. It is believed that John and fanny lived in a tent close to the lake side where they gave birth to Martha (b. 1881–d. 1951). In November of 1883, the family moved north and settled at Allanton where John worked as a farm labourer. The family born at Allanton were August (b. 1883–d. 1967), Minnie (b. 1885–d. 1887), Rosie (b. 1888–d. 1972), James (b. 1890–d. 1969), Annie (b. 1892–d. 1898), and William (b. 1895–d. 1980). John was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 14 November 1893 died at Dunedin on 3 October 1922 aged 78. He is buried with his wife at the Allanton Cemetery.
Matilda Julianna Klimek married on 25 October 1868 at Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Friedrich Wilhelm Teike (b. 1846 at Lineiwko–d. 1937), the son of (Prussian) Frantz Ludwig Teike (b. 1813) and (Polish) Maryanna Parobkiewicz (b. 1812–d. 1885). The family born at Liniewko were Franciszka (Mary) (b. 1869–d. 1956) and Franciszek (b. 1871–d. 1919). The family moved to the village of Rokitki where the family left for Hamburg and set aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 6 December 1872. Listed aboard were—Fried. W. Teike age 26, Mathilda 25, Francisca 3 and Franz 9 months. They were sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. The family born at Allanton were John (b. 1874–d. 1874) and Anna (b. 1876–d. 1876), at Waihola; Joseph (b. 1878–d. 1954), who was fostered out to the Annis family of Waihola, and Martha (b. 1880–d. 1911), at Fairfield; Janet (b. 1882–d. 1980), at East Taieri; Martin (b. 1884–d. 1970), Louis (b. 1886–d. 1887) and Catherina (b. 1887–d. 1888), at Fairfield; Harriet Matilda (b. 1889), Albert Felix (b. 1892–d. 1931) and Thomas Eric (b. 1893–d. 1970). Frederick worked either at the brick works at Fairfield or for the Walton Park Coal company as a miner. Frederick worked at various mines such as at Shag Point in North Otago, so he worked away from home from time to time. It appears she may have nursed her mother until her death in 1882. Matilda died on 20 February 1921 at her residence in Fairfield aged 70 years and is buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.
Franz (Frank) Klimeck married on 22 April 1882 at the House of Franz Annis in Waihola to Francisca (Fanny) Apollonia Cherkowska (Chełkowska), the daughter of Albrecht Chełkowski and Katarzyna Stolc. Frank Klimeck purchased 12 Sections of land above the township of Waihola on 23 May 1884, previously owned by Paul Baumgardt. The family born at Waihola were Felix (b. 1884–d. 1961) and Annie (b. 1885–d. 1968). After the railway work came to a close Frank worked as a farm labourer for Thomas Adam at Waihola. Fanny died suddenly on 2 October 1886 at Waihola of apoplexy, aged 29 and is buried at the Waihola cemetery behind the Annis plot. After the death of their mother, Felix and Annie were sent to live with their uncle and aunt, Fred and Mathilda Tikey at Fairfield. From Dunedin, Frank set aboard the Te Anau on 12 July 1888, arriving at Melbourne on 20 July. 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 and according to Stone’s Otago & Southland directory, he was 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.
Theodor, known as (Felix) or (Phil) Klimeck was residing at Fairfield after the death of their mother Anna Klimeck in 1882. During this time he had met up with a young girl in the neighbourhood by the name of Jane McEwan (b. 1868–d. 1935). Jane was born at Dalserf in Scotland to John McEwan and Mary Robertson. The family migrated to New Zealand in 1875 and settled at Fairfield. By the late 1870s the marriage had ended and Mary had left overseas with a new partner and was with child, first to Australia then America. This left Jane who was around twelve years of age to fend for the family and her father who worked at the same coal mining company as their uncle Fred Tikey, 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 who had already departed for Melbourne. This branch of the family live in the Dunedin region.
Theodor married on 9 June 1885 at St. Patrick’s in Latrobe in Tasmania to Harriet Catherine Milbourne (b. 1865 at Ulverston–d. 1953), the daughter of George Seymour Milbourne and 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. The family born at Clifton Hills were Frank Mathias (b. 1886–d. 1938), at Dandenong; Henry Theodor (b. 1888–d. 1968) and Alice Matilda (b. 1890–d. 1982), at Ulverstone in Tasmania; Elsie Annie (b. 1893–d. 1972), at Menindee; Helen Mary (b. 1894–d. 1895), at Coolgardie; Felix Walter (b. 1896–d. 1897), at Devenport, Tasmania; Joseph Stanislaus (b. 1900–d. 1965), Mary Magdalen (b. 1903–d. 1923), Felix Paul (b. 1906–d. 1980) and Monica Catherine (b. 1909–d. 1996). Felix travelled around Australia with his growing family from Latrobe in Tasmania to Dandenong in Melbourne. He worked on the railways in New South Wales 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 died at Wynyard in 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 in Tasmania on 15 December 1953.
Martin Klimeck married on 22 February 1887 at St. Mary’s in 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 and Greenhithe Streets on 20 June 1888 and later sold it on 3 October 1900. The family born at Waihola were Mary Louise (b. 1888–d. 1972), Wilhelmina Augusta (b. 1889–d. 1993), William Patrick (b. 1892–d. 1977) and Eleanor Annie (b. 1893–d. 1991), at Tokomairiro; Martin Joseph (b. 1895–d. 1983) and Rosalie Theresa (b. 1899–d. 2003), at Akatore; Peter John (b. 1902–d. 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 and 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 Klimeck’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 and 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.
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 in Dunedin.
Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 37, 43, 51 & 155.
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.
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.
Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)