Michalski, Jan Kristian (1836-1918) Golębiewo, the son of Jan Michalski (1806-1891) & Barbara Sztarka (1808-1871), married on 12 October 1862 at St. Jakuba, Kłodawa to Johanna Agniszka Rygel (1841-1933) Kleszczewo, the daughter of Jan Rygel (1796-1860) & Brigitta Szulc (1796-1871). Johanna was with child born at Kleszczewo—Jan Walenty (Rygel) (1862-1938). Family—Kleszczewo; Maryanna Julianna (1864), Kłodawa; Rozalia (1867-1954) & Franciszek (1870-1872). They left Kłodawa for Hamburg where they set aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers, Dunedin on 6 December 1872
During the journey Marta was born; (1872-1960) but It is believed little Franciszek died on board ship on 13 November 1872. Listed aboard were—Johann Michalski 36, Johanna 32, Johann 10, Marianna 8, Rosalia 5 & Franz 2. They family were sent to Scroggs Creek along with other Poles where John was employed on heavy intensive labour, clearing and preparing the area ahead for the proposed railway line through the Taieri. The family settled on the Taieri where they had the remaining family—East Taieri; Annie (1875-1959), James (1877-1911) & Johanna Agnes (1880-1960), Mosgiel; Albert William (1883-1959), & Helena (Nellie) (1886-1951). The children first were educated at the East Taieri School before attending St. Mary’s Catholic School at Mosgiel when it opened in 1892. The 82’ Freeholders lists Johann owning land to the value of £140 at Mosgiel Junction. Johann, a labourer, was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 23 October 1900 residing at East Taieri. He received title for sections 59 & 62 in Mosgiel Junction on 19 October 1904 where he built a cottage at 45 Clyde Road and lived their remaining years. They were hard workers with a quick flare of temper, which dies just as quickly and a love of dancing. Although for the pioneers there was no time to indulge in sport, some of the latter generations have had the stamina to do well in athletics, swimming and tennis. Johann died at Mosgiel on 1 December 1918 aged 82. Dorrie Riddle (nee Mehalski), recalls as a young girl having to sit with her Grandmother (Johanna) when she was dying and had not long to live. She later told her mother “Grannie kept on talking to God, and never once spoke to me, all the time I was there. Didn’t even say, Hello!“. Johanna died at Mosgiel on 16 May 1933 aged 93. Both are buried at the Anderson’s Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.
John Valentine Mehalski (Rygel) worked as a labourer in both the North & South Islands before returning back to Mosgiel. He died at Dunedin on 15 July 1938 aged 76 and is buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery.
Marianna (Mary) Julianna Mehalski, gave birth to a son, William Ashcroft (1883) at Dunedin & was re-registered as William Mehalske & a daughter, May (Mabel) (1886). In 1887 Mary was sent to Christchurch where she gave birth to Thomas, who died a few weeks later. In 1888 saw the birth of Margaret in Dunedin, and all these children were reared as part of the Mehalski family. For some reason, Olive who was born in Dunedin in 1889, must have been adopted, as the birth entry has been sealed. Olive’s birth was also the last record that we have available of Mary Mehalske.
Rosalia (Rose) Mehalski married on 5 June 1895 at St. Mary’s, Milton to David Dickson Stevenson (1871-1948), a factory operator at the Mosgiel Woollen Mill. Family—Rose, Eileen Margaret (1897-1967), William Alexander (1901-1931), Johanna Agnes (1901-1968) & David Albert (1910-1968). David died at Seacliff on 9 October 1948 and Rose died at Gore on 22 March 1954 aged 87. Both are buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.
Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 23, 169 & 196.
Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973, FamilySearch.
Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara O Te Kawanatanga; Land Records.
Bill from Christchurch, supplied family documents & information (2004).
Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, St Mary’s Church, Milton; Baptism Register.
Godziszewo & Kłodawa Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.
McDougall Olive J. R., supplied photos & compiled family information (1998).
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)