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     Staszek Biega Stanislaw Adam Biega, Jr. (known as Staszek - pronounced sta-shek) was born 4 March, 1925, in Modlin, Poland. His father, Stanisław Biega, had been born in Sanok, graduated from Sanok High School. After World War I, he had been promoted to Captain and attached to the 10th. Engineering Regiment at Modlin (near Warsaw). He married Irena Helbich 4-I-1923. She came from an illustrious Polish family with a long history (see Helbich family history ).
Subsequently they moved to the headquarters of the the Second Engineer Brigade at Powązki, a northern suburb of Warsaw. His mother died in 1937 after a long illness.

Irena Helbich Biega Later in 1937, he and his father moved to Puławy (about 100km south of Warsaw) when his father was promoted to Deputy Commander of the Engineer Battalion located at this army garrison.
     1 September , 1939, the Nazi armies invaded Poland. Staszek never saw his father again, because he was taken prisoner and sent to a Prisoner-of-war camp, and was killed in 1944 when an Allied bomb hit the camp by mistake.

Brygada Swietokrzyska Staszek lived for a while with his mother's family in Warsaw, then he joined the NSZ Brygada Swietokrzyska, a unit of the Polish Resistance movement that was fighting the Nazis in the Holy Cross Mountains in central Poland. See the story of the Holy Cross Brigade.
     In January 1945 the Soviet armies renewed their offensive. As the German armies retreated westward, the Brygada Swietokrzyska retreated also, moving into Czechoslovakia, finally reaching the area close to Pilsen. For several weeks the Brygada operated independently working together with the Czech resistance, freeing many women prisoners on 5 May from a Nazi concentration camp Holiszow, see story.
But then the Soviet army reached the area, and the Brygada crossed to the area occupied by the American Third Army. They were moved to a ex-German army barracks near Coburg 6 August. The units of the Brygada were used as guards for Allied prison camps containing German SS and POWs at Dachau and Berchtesgaden. They wore American uniforms dyed navy-blue.

     In 1946 Staszek transferred to the Polish 2nd. Corps based in Ancona, Italy. A few months later he was moved, with the Corps, to a camp in England, just outside Liverpool. There Staszek and his friends tried to figure out what to do. Return to Poland was impossible, as it was now under control of a communist government that was arresting many members of the resistance movement that had been fighting the Nazis. In 1948 he signed up with the Australian Government to work for two years on any project they wanted him, departing the UK from Tilbury Docks on the SS Strathnaver, arriving in Sydney on 10/08/1948.


     Warragamba Dam After arriving in Australia they were sent by train to a former army camp outside Kelso near Bathurst New South Wales (NSW). Staszek was moved to Molgoa near Penrith NSW to work at the construction of the Warragamba Dam, 50 miles west of Sydney. Around November 1948 he was offered a six month contract to work for the Government on Manus Island north of New Guinea mainland. He then returned to finish his contract period working on building the dam.

     A young Australian girl, Annette Smith, was helping an older relative in the running of the local post office at Mulgoa, during holiday periods. They soon fell in love and later they married at Christ Church, Gosford, NSW.

     Staszek completed his contract and became a free resident of Australia. He had saved some money, bought a truck and started working as an independent carrier, contracted to L.E. Bauman, a timber merchant operating from Balmain in Sydney, transporting timber from the mills of Southern NSW around Eden to the vast Hydro-electrical Project in the Snowy Mountains of NSW and Victoria.

      He and Annette were now living in Auburn, NSW. Their family started growing. Within three years came Stan, born 17-05-1951, then Mark, born 25-09-1952; Marjorie 25-05-1954.

family 1968      In 1960 they bought the house in Baulkham Hills, NSW, that they still live in.

      Staszek got tired of the long hauls which kept him away from home and bought a taxicab. Annette was working as a book-keeper for a private firm, then later as a teller in a bank.
The family increased again with Julian (14-06-1959) and Philip (14-07-1964).

     The family started spreading out. In 1971 Stan married Felicity McDonald.
The urge to travel back to his home country took Staszek and Annette to Poland in 1972, with a stop to visit cousins in America. They took the two youngest boys with them, Julian and Phillip. In later years they made several more trips to Europe, North America and Poland.
One more addition to the family came on 6-12-1972 - Elizabeth.

     Staszek decided to try another venture. He bought a liquor store. This was a more profitable venture, but it almost brought tragedy. A robber entered the store 1 December 1983 and shot Staszek. Although his chin and jugular vein were shot through, he made a miraculous recovery. Not surprisingly, he decided to sell the store and return to driving a taxi part time - much safer!

     Staszek retired from daily work in the early nineties. But he still remains active and is involved in many volunteer activities. He regularly drives a community bus, taking pensioners on tours around Sydney and other parts of New South Wales. During the Sydney Olympics and the Paralympics in 2000 he was the driver for the senior members of the Polish Olympic squad and Polish official visitors. Staszek was a "Volunteer of the Year" for the NSW Premier's Award.

The Australian Biega family has grown from strength to strength: as of 2007 there are 13 grandchildren and 5 great-children.
  • Stanislaw William (Stan), for many years he has owned Australia's largest second-hand bus sales company.
    • Gaylene (married Ian Down)
      • Cameron Down
      • Madison Down
    • Stanislaw Jaimie (married Lisa Evans)
      • Martina
      • Portia
      • Stanislaw Hayden
  • Mark, works at the Australian Navy headquarters in Canberra.
    • Adam (known as AJ)
    • Marysia
  • Marjorie, a registered nurse, married Tony Bennett.
    • Sarah - a member of the Australian synchronized skating team at the world championships in 2006.
  • Julian, operates a succesful dairy farm in N.S.W.
    • Ashlie
    • Christopher
    • Kelsey
  • Philip, is a specialist bus mechanic.
    • Aaron
    • Simon
    • Justin
    • Toby
    • Heather
  • Elizabeth, works in Melbourne while studying.

To see the Family Photo Album, click here.
There is also a family tree, going back to the late 18th. century.

Staszek has a nephew in Poland. His half-brother Maciej, son of his father's second wife, was born just as the war started - in September 1939. Later a sports journalist in Poland, he died in 1993. He was married and had a son born in 1971, also named Stanisław (to make everything more confusing!). He currently lives in Warsaw, is an environmentalist and consultant promoting railway travel.

Return to Top of page.
Go to Jan Biega and his descendents

Where all Biega families come from

List of other Biega family histories

Holy Cross Brigade

Polish Historical Institute in Australia

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Last updated: December 2009.