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Wełnowski Family


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Wełnowski, Jozef, Labourer (1837-1910) Barłożno, the son of Jan Wełnowski & Maryanna Wrońska (1792), married on 8 November 1863 at St. Katarzyna, Klonówka to Franciszka Anna Andrykowska (1827-1906), the daughter of Stanislaw Andrykowski (1798) & Katarzyna Fryda (1803-1863). Family—Klonówka; Jan (1860-1901), Jozef (1864-1935), Tomasz (1866-1951), & Barbara (1870-1943). They left Klonówka for Hamburg where they set aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers, Dunedin on 6 December 1872.

Joseph Welnoski at his cottage in Waihola. History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand

Listed aboard were—Joseph Welna 35, Francisca 34, Johann 9, Joseph 8, Thomas 4 & Barbara 1. They were sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden & Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. They soon moved to Waihola where they had their youngest—Anna (1874-1965). Joseph built the family cottage of sod on the corner of Nore & Beacon Street, where they both lived out their lives. Joseph & Francisca apparently never learned to speak English, but only in their native tongue. Joseph was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 14 April 1900 residing at Waihola. Francisca died at Waihola on 6 July 1906 aged 79 & Joseph died at Milton on 14 April 1910 aged 73. Both are buried at the Waihola Cemetery.

John Welnoski had a musical talent and used to play the piano accordion at dances and parties. Apparently he had a 50/50 share in the instrument, which caused a lot of strife, because every time John picked it up to play, his partner wanted it also. For as long as John left it alone his partner never touched it. Finally John’s patience gave out and he said to his partner “If you really want your B….Y half here it is” and so saying, he picked up an axe and rendered the accordion useless, but equally shared. John, a labourer, of Waihola, was naturalised on 13 June 1887. He died a single man on 21 December 1901 aged 41 and is buried at the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton.

Barbara Hand (nee Welnowska)

Joseph Welnoski after working for a time at Waihola, became a construction worker on the railway line at the Catlins, Clyde & the Wingatui-Alexandra line. Joseph married in 1905 to Ivy Francis Batchelor. Family—Reginald Joseph Thomas (1906-1995) & Ellen Augusta (1909-1910). Joseph died at Arapuni, South Waikato on 18 February 1935 aged 70 and is buried at the Putaruru Lawn Cemetery.

Thomas Welnoski at the age of 12 started work on the farm of Mr. Todd of Waihola. He married on 10 October 1906 at St. Mary’s, Milton to Annie Bell Dysart, the daughter of William Dysart & Margaret McDevitt. At this time he managed a farm for Mr. Chapman, a lawyer from Dunedin, at Waihola. He came to Riversdale from Milton in Oct 1908 as one of the workmen on the Waikaia railway line arranged by Martin Klimeck. His wife at the time thought Riversdale a miserable place, and thought they would move as soon as the line was finished. However they ended up spending the rest of their lives there. After the line was completed, Tom, a conscientious worker, spent his time in rabbit trapping during the winter, assisting farmers at lambing time in the spring, in the shearing shed and harvesting or fencing at other times. Family—Clarendon; John Francis (1907-1907), Mary Veronica (1908-1982), Margaret Frances (1909-1997), Riversdale; Annie Imelda (1911-1992), Thomas Joseph (1913-1982) & William Patrick (1915-2004). Thomas, a labourer of Riversdale, was naturalised a New Zealand citizen on 30 November 1922. Thomas died on 12 February 1951 aged 84 and Annabella died on 10 June 1965. Both are buried at the Riversdale Cemetery.

Barbara Welnoski married on 25 May 1891 at St. Mary’s, Milton to Harry Hand. Family—Milton; Agnes (1892), Barbara (1893-1967), Henry (1894), Thomas (1896), Frances (1897-1897), Gertrude Constance (1898-1992), Veronica Rosalie (1901-1985), Edward (1904), Ellen Imelda (1905-1983), Annie (1907-1907), Teresa Eugene (1911-1995), Joseph James (1915) & Ronald Alexander (1922-2010). It is clear that Barbara’s descendants, who keep alive her Christian name right down to great-grand daughter, had a great respect for her. Both Henry & Barbara died on 15 July 1943 at Milton and are buried at the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton. Barbara was aged 72.


John Wilnoski, Block 10 Plot 148, Fairfax Cemetery. Taken by Paul Klemick


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 23, 36, 37, 172, 196 & 197.

Slocombe Stanley, The Riversdalians, Centenary Story of Riversdale District 1873-1973

Research Sources

Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973, FamilySearch.

Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, St Mary’s Church, Milton; Baptism Register.

 Thomas Welnoski

Thomas & Annie Welnoski, Block 16 Plots 50 & 51, Riversdale Cemetery

Hand Henry & Barbara nee Welnowska Grave2

Henry Hand & Barbara (nee Welnowska), Block 10, Plot 160. Fairfax Cemetery. Taken by Paul Klemick

Barłozno & Klonowka Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.

Fairfax Cemetery, Dunedin Public Library

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

Waihola Cemetery Records, Dunedin Public Library


Riversdale Cemetery – Thomas Welnoski (1866-1951) – Find A Grave Memorial


Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)