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Jozef Aleksander Orłowski, (b. 1813–d. 1895) was born at Małżewo in March of 1813, the son of Wincenty Orłowski (b. 1772) and Katarzyna Szulc (b. 1777). Jozef married on 5 October 1834 at St. Małgorzata in Miłobądz to Brigitta Parobkiewicz (b. October 1814 at Czarlin–d. 1906), the daughter of Michal Parobkiewicz (b. abt. 1775–d. 1831) and Anna Wodkowska (b. 1776–d. 1836). The family born at Pszczółki were: Anna Maria (b. 1837–d. 1910), August (b. 1840–d. 1930), Maryanna (b. 1842–d. 1843) and Jan (b. 1844–d. 1927), at Skowarcz; Wincenty Walenty (b. 1847–d. 1848), Maria Rozalia (b. 1849–d 1857. at Liniewko) and Jozef (b. 1852–d. 1934). In 1872, some of their children migrated abroad and ended up in New Zealand. Jozef and Brigitta left the village of Elganowo for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Friedeburg on 10 May 1875, arriving at the Port of Napier in the Hawke’s Bay on 24 August 1875.
Listed aboard the Friedeburg were: J. Orlowski age 62 and Catharina (Bridget) 55. They travelled south to the township of Waihola where family had settled. Bridget was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 26 September 1900 residing at Waihola. Joseph died on 9 August 1895 aged 82 and Bridget died on 26 June 1906 aged 92. Both are buried at the Waihola Cemetery.
August Jozef Orłowski, carpenter, was born at Pszczółki on 26 May 1840. He married on 17 October 1869 at St. Jan Nepomuncen in Godziszewo to Franciszka Paulina Anis (b. 28 January 1849 at Szczerbięcin–d. 1939), the daughter of Szymon Anis (b. 1798–d. 1865) and Regina Demer (b. 1804–d. 1890). The family born at Trzcińsk were: Franciszek (b. 1870–d. 1872) and Maria (b. 1872–d. 1952). They left the village of Trzcińsk for the city of Gdańsk where they sailed first to Hamburg. Here they set sail aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin, on 6 December 1872.
Listed aboard were: August Orlowski age 32, Francisca 22, Franz 2 and Maria 1 month. It is believed Franciszek died aboard the Palmerston. The family was sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. By mid-July, August purchased sections eight and nine of block 22 in Waihola. The family born at Waihola were: Martha (b. 1875), Annie (b. 1876), August Joseph (b. 1878–d. 1963), John Andrew (b. 1880–d. 1971), Bernard (b. 1882), James (b. 1884–d. 1970), Alexander (b. 1885), Michael Francis (b. 1889) and Fanny Clara (b. 1891–d. 1980). According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, August owned three acres to the value of £220 at Waihola. August worked as a carpenter and was naturalised on 13 June 1887 at Waihola.
“AUGUST ORLASKI V. FRANK JANKOWSKI. Claim, £5 5s, balance due on building contract. Mr. Reid for plaintiff, Mr. Taylor for defendant. Plaintiff deposed that in December last he was employed by defendant to build a house, nothing being said as to the rate of wages. He completed the contract, which took 34½ days, and he charged 12s per day. The defendant had paid him £23 13s, leaving a balance of £5 5s still due. The defendant stated that he engaged the plaintiff to do the work at 9s per day, and that the payment of £23 13s was given as payment in full. This evidence having been corroborated by a disinterested witness, Mr. Reid intimated to the Court, that he could not ask for a verdict in favour of his client. His Worship expressed himself that the evidence was conclusive in favour of defendant, and gave judgment accordingly, with 10s 6d professional costs.” Bruce Herald, 25 Jul 1879, p 3
“Mr. A Orlowski, of Waihola, sustained a fracture of the leg last week through a log rolling upon it. He was conveyed to the hospital.” Bruce Herald, 04 Sep 1888
In 1899, August helped do the major work on the building of the Catholic Church, St. Hyacinth, and doing any repairs on his own accord when required. In appreciation of the work that had been done to the church, the Parish presented August with a bible, which is still in the family today. It is also noted that August helped build the Waihola Hall and was regarded as a wonderful tradesman of the old class. He had only a few basic tools and no modern machinery. August also tried his hand at farming and it is believed that his sister Annie and himself wanted to buy some land but were turned down by the council because there was an abundance of fire-wood on it. Fanny was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen around 24 February 1900, a resident of Waihola. In 1921 August Orlowski (son of the original builder) presented to the church of St Hyacinth a water-font made of Oamaru stone.
Descendants of Bernard (b. 1882), also known as Bertrum, go by the family name Luskie. The story goes that Bertrum was cutting off pine saplings in the forest near Waihola in the company of his father, August, and one of his sons. Bertrum was busy axing away, obviously not taking too much care, when August said that he better take care or else he will lose his hand. Not taking much notice, he accidently cut off a couple of fingers from his left hand. With that August burst out laughing, seeing only the funny side. Bertrum stomped off and with that he changed his religion and name to Luskie.
August died on 25 June 1930 aged 90 and Fanny died on 20 October 1939 aged 90. Both are buried at the Waihola Cemetery.
“MRS A. ORLOWSKI. The last of. the earliest settlers of Waihola, Mrs Augustus Orlowski, died at Milton on Friday at the age of 91 years. She was born near Chestochova, Poland, her maiden name being Francesca Anis. A few years after her marriage to Mr Orlowski they sailed from Danzig with their two small children about 70 years ago for London, on the first stage of their journey to Now Zealand. They arrived at Port Chalmers by the ship Palmerston and stayed in barracks in Dunedin for a short time prior to removing to Waihola, where Mr Orlowski carried on the trade of a builder. Later he purchased a farming property, which he carried on till his death about seven years ago. The deceased took a keen interest in church affairs. She is survived by four sons and four daughters —Messrs Augustin (Milton). John (St. Clair), Bernard (Dunedin), James (Oamaru), Mesdames Anderson (Dunedin), Erwin (Waihola). Clark (Palmerston). and R. Tisdall (Middlemarch). ” Evening Star, 25 October 1939, p 5
Franciszek Orłowski, who was two years old at the time, may have died on the journey out.
Maria Orłowska was born at Trzcińsk on 09 June 1872. She married on 27 June 1893 at the House of Mrs Wisnesky in Waihola to Robert Henry Anderson (b. 1873 at Dunedin–d. 1943). The family born at Dunedin were: James George (b. 1893), Margaretta May (b. 1896–d. 1916), Isabella Irene (b. 1899–d. 1968) and Arthur Alexander (b. 1902). Robert died at Dunedin on 25 January 1943 and Maria died at Dunedin on 16 March 1952 aged 79. Both are buried at the Northern Cemetery in Dunedin.
Jan Orłowski was born at Pszczółki on 29 July 1844. He married on 6 November 1870 at St. Jan Nepomuncen in Godziszewo to Anna Jozefina Maślak (b. 17 June 1843 at Dalwin–d. 1925), the daughter of Jan Maślak (b. abt. 1815–d. 1890) and Maryanna Żynda (b. abt. 1815–d. 1883). Prior to marriage, Anna gave birth to three children but all died as infants. The children born at Miłobądz were: Clara (b. 1865–d. 1866), Joseph (b. 1867–d. 1868) and child (b. 1869–d. 1869). Jan and Ann had their first child, Maria (b. 1871–d. 1963) at Mały Turze. Here they left for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 6 December 1872.
Listed aboard were: Johann Orlowski age 28, Anna 29 and Maria 1. The family 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 Waihola were: Voleska (Lucy) (b. 1873–d. 1949), Francis (b. 1875–d. 1952), Julia (b. 1879), Minnie (b. 1881–d. 1946) and Lewis (b. 1883–d. 1958). It is believed one the houses they lived in stood at the Milburn Lime Works. According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, John owned one acre to the value of £120. Johann worked as a labourer residing at Waihola and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 13 June 1887. With the opening of the Catholic church of St. Hyacinth in 1899, Johann gifted four large silver candlestick holders and is believed to have made the two milking stools.
“Taieri Beach. ACCIDENT. Rather a nasty accident happened to Mr John Orlowski the other day while he was engaged leading in turnips. His dray upset and Mr Orlowski got both his legs badly crushed, but luckily no bones were broken, and I hear he is getting better.” Bruce Herald, 30 June 1899, p3
Johann and Anna later moved south to Milton where they retired. Anna was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 6 June 1900, a resident of Taieri Beach. Anna died on 24 May 1925 aged 82 and John died 22 December 1927 aged 82. Both are buried at the Fairfax Cemetery near Milton.
Maria Orłowska was born at Mały Turze on 04 June 1871. She married on 20 March 1893 in Sydney to Arthur Thomas Harrington (b. 1869–d. 1903). The family were: Margaret Minnie (b. 1893–d. 1970), Julia (b. 1895–d. 1896), Mary Katherine (b. 1896), Arthur Thomas (b. 1898–d. 1982), George John (b. 1901–d/ 1980) and Josephine (b. 1902). After the death of her husband, Mary then remarried on 10 August 1905 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin to Richard William Anderton (b. 1872–d. 1946). The family were: Hector Archibald (b. 1905–d. 1984), Dorothy Harriet (b. 1907–d. 2000) and Richard David (b. 1909). Mary died at Wingatui on 23 August 1963 aged 92 and is buried at the East Taieri Cemetery.
Jozef Orłowski was born at Skowarcz on 21 February 1852. He arrived at Glasgow in Scotland, where he set sail aboard the Oamaru on 24 October 1877, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 13 January 1878. Listed aboard were: Joseph Orlowski age 25. He travelled south to Waihola where the extended family resided. Joseph married on 9 October 1880 at St. Mary’s in Milton to Pauline Philipowski (b. 08 September 1858 at Sobowidz–d. 1946), the daughter of Jan Piotr Filipowski (b. 1835–d. 1899) and Rozalia Julianna Grabowska (b. 1834–d. 1908). The family born at Waihola were: Victoria (b. 1881–d. 1972), Rose (b. 1882–d. 1967), Edward Adolph (b. 1885–d. 1969), Ignatius Joseph (Arthur Joseph Taylor) (b. 1887–d. 1939) and Bernard (b. 1889–d. 1934). Joseph worked as a labourer and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 13 June 1887, a resident of Waihola. The family later migrated to Melbourne in Victoria, Australia where they lived out their remaining years. Joseph arrived in Victoria in July 1888 aboard the Tarawera, while the rest of the family arrived sometime later. The family born at Northcote were: Daniel O’Connell (b. 1891–d. 1943) and at Trentham; John (b. 1893–d. 1936). It is believed here Joseph had a B.S.A. bicycle franchise and his son Ignatius ran one in Auckland. Joseph died at Essendon in Melbourne on 17 September 1934 aged 82 and was noted as a sculptor. Pauline died in South Melbourne on 14 May 1946 aged about 88 years and both are buried at the Hiedleberg Cemetery in Melbourne.
Notable People: Oldest New Zealander, Madeline Anderson died aged 111, granddaughter of August and Francisca Orlowski.
Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 23, 29, 30, 33, 34, 45, 48, 155, 170, 196, 197 & 198.
Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973, FamilySearch.
Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara O Te Kawanatanga; Land Records.
Bobowo, Godziszewo, Łęgowo, Lubiszewo Tczewskie, Miłobądz & Trąbki Wielkie Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.
Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, St Mary’s Church, Milton; Baptism Register.
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 (2022)