September 23, 2013


The first Polish immigrants arrived in Australia in 1856 settling in the region called Clare Valley. It was later renamed Polish Hill River.  It wasn't until the end of WWII that Australia witnessed the first massive wave of Polish refugees. With the loss of their homeland, Polish people who had become displaced during the war were not able to return to Poland. Between the years 1947 and 1954, the Polish population in Australia rose from 6,573 to 56,594 people. The next wave of Polish immigrants arrived during the emergence of the Solidarity Movement in Poland, especially after the declaration of martial law. Between 1980 and 1991 the Australian government granted permanent entry to masses of Polish refugees. (The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs was immediately created in response to public interest in the political changes taking place across Central and Eastern Europe.The Institute focused largely on Polish history, politics, and culture.)

Although the Polish people integrated very well into the Australian community, and contributed with their talents and labor, they never abandoned their Polish identity.  It is interesting to note that the highest mountain in Australia is named Mount Kosciuszko (after General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish-American hero of the American Revolutionary War.) Polish roots run deep.

Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest mountain

Whether they call themselves Australian-Polish, or just Polish, or just Australian,  Polish immigrants have made significant contributions to Australia. There are numerous Polish athletes of every genre who chose to compete for Australia, far too many to list here. The following are just a few of the extraordinary Polish-Australians who have not only made a name for themselves, but brought great honor to Poland as well as their new homeland.

Famous Polish Australians


At the age of 24  had already earned a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in nuclear physics.  Then went on to complete six years of postdoctoral research, and completed an advanced management program at Harvard Business School. His name is Zygmunt "Ziggy" Switkowski.

The name Switkowski is synonymous with Telstra, Australia's telecommunications and media giant. Zigmunt was appointed Chief Executive Officer at Telstra, as well as to the Board of Directors of Foxtel (Telstra's pay television affiliate).  During his tenure, he implemented numerous services such BigPond, the major internet service provider, as well as Pacific Access, the advertising and directories subsidiary. ( However, in 2002 the later was renamed Sensis.)

Under Switkowski's direction, Telstra shares were sold on the Australian Stock Exchange, the New Zealand Stock Exchange and  New York Stock Exchange. It was the second tranche of its kind - the first having been conducted before Switkowski joined Telstra as CEO.  He also oversaw the third tranche, after which he resigned from his position at Telstra in 2004.

Before Telstra, Ziggy had served as Chief Executive Officer at Optus, a telecommunications company; at Kodak (Australasia) as Chairman and Managing Director; and at Amcor, a multi-national packaging company.  He received the Advance Australia Award (1995) for outstanding achievement in industry and commerce. In 2011 he was appointment Chancellor at the prestigious RMIT University. It's one of the top 10 universities in Australia, and ranks among the 100 top universities in the world.

Switkowski also served as Chairman of  the Commonwealth Government inquiry regarding domestic nuclear power (2006); Chairman of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (2007);  President of the Board of Directors of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (2006-2009);  directorships with Healthscope (2006) and Tabcorp Holdings, (2006) as well as Director of Rare Earth miner Lynas Corporation (2011). He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

In 2011, Switkowski officially became the Chancellor of the Royall Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)


Peter Luczak is a retired professional tennis player, who at the height of his career ranked number 64 in the World.  At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Luczak won the Gold in doubles.  He started playing tennis at the tender age of five, thanks to his doting father Kris.

But it was not until he attended Fresno State University that he finally obtained the funding he needed to pursue his tennis dream, while he studied for his finance degree. In his senior season  Luczak accomplished 27-0 score before being upset in the first round of NCAA Tournament.  He held the record for the most singles win.

While on a break from university in 2000, Luczak made the professional circuit playing for the ATP Futures and ATP Challenger Series. In the same year he made the Futures final in Clearwater but lost to Dmitry Tursunov.  His fortunes changed, and in the following year, Luczak won 4 Futures titles, and finished the year ranking at 280.

In 2002 Luczak won his first title in Granby, at the ATP Challenger Series, but lost to countryman Scott Draper in the final. In 2003, he played his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open and in the third round defeated Attila Savolt and Renzo Furlan before losing to Mario Ancic. 

In 2004 at the Challengers, Luczak won 2 more events -  in Canberra and Kosice; victories which he attributed to his much favored clay surface.  In 2005 he debuted in the Davis Cup but lost to Guellermo Coria.  However he reached the semi-finals beating Fernando Gonzalez at the Brasil Open before losing to Alberto Martin.

Luczak succeeded in matching his best Australian Open performance in 2006 by reaching the third round. But he then lost four sets to Tommy Haas. Luczak competed in the Davis Cup playing against Switzerland and defeated Michael Lammer, helping Australia to win that tie.

By 2007, Luczak had reached the prestige of being classed in the top 100 for the first time in his career. He attributed this achievement to winning a career best four titles in the ATP Challenger Series - all on clay.  Unfortunately, it was subsequently followed by loses in the Roland Garros and in Belgrade.

A stress fracture of his pelvis in 2008 put him out of commission for 14 weeks. He returned to compete against Chile in the Davis Cup. Then remained in South America to play the Copa Petrobras series, again on clay.  We won Montevideo beating Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 7-6 in the semi finals before getting a walkover from Nicolas Massu in the final.   Luczak won the Copa Petrobras Masters event at which the best performers competed in a play off; he beat Thomaz Bellucci.

Luczak was elected to the ATP Player Council comprising Roger Federer (President), Rafael Nadal (Vice President), Novak Djokovic, Michael Berrer, Yves Allegro, Eric Butorac, David Martin & Martín García.

In 2009, while still on the mend from his pelvis injury, Luczak attempted his comeback, but lost in the last round of qualifications, to Wayne Odesnik in the Challenger circuit. He continued the circuit making the semis in Burnie and Meknes. He failed in the second round of the Roland Garros qualification to Alexander Flock, after having 5 match points.  However he defeated Flock in the last round where we won the event. 

Luczak won the challenger in Poznan and made the semis in San Marino but lost to Potito Starace.  He won another Challenger title in Cordenons, defeating Christophe Rochus and Oliver Rochus in the semi final and the final.  In October 2009, Luczak reached a ranking of number 64 in his career.

He competed at the Medibank International in 2010 in Sydney, defeating Jose Acasuso of Argentina in the first round, as well as Tomas Berdych in the second round.  Unfortunately he lost to Mardy Fish in the quarter finals and to Rafael Nadal in the first round of the Australian Open.  He went on to compete in the 2010 Movistar Open, reaching the quarter finals before losing to Juan Monaco.

In 2010 at Wimbledon, Luczak was recognized for his ability to deliver the fastest serve in the history of Wimbeldon - at 148 mph!!


Yvonne Jaqueline Strzechowski, known as Yvonne Strahovski, is an Australian actress. She adopted the name Strahovski for the sake of easier pronunciation at the suggestion of her producer.  
She began her career in Australian television appearing in films and television roles. She performed for the satirical show, Double the Fist and in the Australian drama series Headland, as well as Channel Nines Sea Patrol. It was not long until Yvonne moved to the United States and began work in the NBC series Chuck (2007-2012) where she portrayed CIA Agent Sarah Walker.  This was followed by a role in the series Dexter (2012), where she played the role of Hannah McKay.

Incidentally, Strahovski speaks Polish fluently, and in a few episodes of the Chuck series, the writers incorporated a few words in Polish in the scripts; ( in the episodes of Chuck Versus the Wookiee, Chuck Versus the Three Words, and Chuck Versus the Honeymooners.) 

In 2010 Strahovski received the Teen Choice Award for Choice Action TV Actress in her work in Chuck, as well as receiving a nomination for the Spike Video Game Awards, for Best Performance by a Human Female for Mass Effect 2.  Teen Choice Awards nominated her again in 2011.  In the same year, Cosmopolitan Magazine (Australia) awarded Strahovski the Fun Fearless Female of the Year along with Favorite TV Actress.

Strahovski appeared in Mass Effect Galaxy, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3.  She was the voice of Miranda Lawson and had her face scanned and animated in Mass Effect 2.    She appeared in the 2011 film Killer Elite next to co-stars Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro.  She also appeared in the 2012 comedy, The Guilt Trip, with Seith Rogen and Barbra Streisand.

She played the female lead in I, Frankenstein (Nov 2011) and joined the cast of Dexter for the seventh season (June 2012) In December 2012, Yvonne  made her Broadway debut in the revival of Clifford Odet's Golden Boy (Dec 2012) where she won a Theatre World Award.
Yvonne Strahovski is an avid supporter of PETA and has appeared in their campaign ad for "Adopt, Don't Buy".  She was honored  with the 2012 Australians in Film Breakthrough Award, along with Liam Hemsworth for their work in international roles. Yvonne is soon to reprise her role as Hannah McKay in the eighth season of Dexter.




Klim was named Male Swimmer of the Year in 1997 by Swimming World Magazine. In 1998 and 1999 he was named Athlete of the Year by the Australian Institute of Sport, and was inducted into the AIS Best of the Best in 2001!

Two years later he set a world record in the 100m butterfly - twice. And did it in 51.81 s. However in 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, Ukranian Andriy Serdinov broke the record for 100m butterfly in the first semi-final, and it was broken in the next semi-final by Michael Phelps. (Subsequently, Phelps's record was bested by Ian Crocker in the finals.)


Klim ranked first in the world for 200m freestyle, but surprisingly was eliminated in the heats. Nevertheless he succeeded in qualifying for finals in the 100m butterfly and competed the freestyle in the 4 x 100m medley relay, and won a bronze medal for the latter category.

1998 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Perth, Australia
Klim drove the crowd wild as he rapidly advanced to become the leading swimmer of the meet, winning an impressive array of medals.
Klim's Medal Standings FINA World Championships 1998
GOLD  200m Freestyle
SILVER 100m Freestyle
BRONZE 50m Freestyle
GOLD 100m Butterfly
SILVER 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay
GOLD 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay
GOLD 4 x 100m Medley Relay


At the Sydney Olympics Klim set a world record of 48.18 in the 4×100 m freestyle relay (it paved the way for a world record 3:13.67). Three days later, Klim was part of the 4×200 m freestyle relay, which achieved another world record of 7:07.05. However, his 100m freestyle world record was bested in the semi-finals by Pieter van den Hoogenband and Klim finished in 4th place in the finals, a bitter defeat indeed.  He later commented that he turned first at the wall but for some reason he claimed that his legs gave way in the second half of the race.

In the 100 m butterfly, the same thing happened: he was first turning at the wall at world record ace,  but for some reason was defeated in the closing stages by Sweden's Lars Frolander.  Klim finished in second place.  On the final night of competition, Klim won silver as part of the 4×100 m medley relay team.

Klims Medal Standing at the Sydney Olympics : 
SILVER  100m Butterfly
GOLD 4 X 100m Freestyle Relay
GOLD 4 X 200m Freestyle Relay
SILVER 4 X 100m Medley Relay

(In 2001, Klim suffered an ankle injury which restricted him to relay events. But it lead to another world record, and a gold medal in the 4×200 m relay (7:04.66). He also won a gold medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay.

In 2002 and 2003, Klim remained inactive because of chronic back and shoulder problems. Klim attempted to get qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics, but failed. However he was permitted to do a swim off and compete in the relays. Unfortunately Australia was unable to win the 4 x 100m event, and ceded victory to team USA in the 4 x 200m. Australia won the silver.

Klims Medal Standing
BRONZE  4 X 100m Freestyle Relay

2007 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Melbourne Australia

Klims Medal Standing
GOLD  4 X 100m Medley Relay

Klim retired from competitive swimming on the 26 June 2007.  At the time he ranked 94 in 100m freestyle. But in February 2011, he announced a comeback, setting his sights on the 2012 London Olympics, only 14 months away.  Sadly he did not qualify and retired once again.  He established a skin care company of which he is founder and CEO,  "Milk and Co."

On the 14 February 2011 Klim announced his return to competitive swimming, hoping to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. Ultimately Klim failed to qualify for the team.

Michael Klim (OAM) was born in Gdnia, Poland on August 13, 1977. He attended University High School in Melbourne, and Wesley College.  Incidentally, the OAM stands for Medal of the Order of  Australia. It is bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II, to Australian citizens for their great achievements.  The only other Polish-Australian to have received the OAM was Stanislawa Dabrowski (1998) a devoted humanitarian, and Citizen of the Year (1996)


Among the throng of professional footballers in Australia, Stuart Musialik is a shining star. He reached not only national fame, but international plaudits for his amazing talent and skills.  He was on the Australian roster for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, following which he played for the famous Olyroos (nickname for the Australian Olympic Soccer Team) against the team from Chinese Taipei.  His exceptional performance in Beijing in the 2008 Olympic campaign ranked him among the top echelon of footballers in the world.

Musialik was born and raised in Newcastle, Australia and began playing at a young age.  He is of Polish origin. When he was just nineteen years old he played for the Weston Workers Bears. and was awarded a Newcastle Jets spot. The Weston Bears won the Premiership and reached the Grand Final of the NBN State Football League, but lost to Broadmeadow Magic. In this period, Musialik played alongside Nigel Boogaard.

Musialik played in the A-League's for Newcastle Jets for three seasons.  Unfortunately he was suspended in game one (Sept 27, 2007) after a verbal altercation with Melbourne Victory defender, Rodrigo Vargas.  The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

In the 2008-2009 season, Musialik joined Sydney FC under the tutelage of John Kosmina.  Stuart signed a two year contract with option for extension. He declined the offer, opting instead for a pay increase, but ultimately left the team at the end of the 2010-2011 season. Musialik signed a one year deal with Central Coast Mariners in July 2011.

According to Jet's Head Coach, Gary van Egmond, Musialik is "a very, very smart footballer, has lovely touches, and he's already starting to talk to some of the younger boys and give them the benefit of his experiences"  This year Musialik has been training with the Jets with intention of playing in the 2013 NBN State League competition. Though Stuart has been out of the game for some time, he has proven his ability to get back in the game.

Stuart Musialik highlights (00:06:02m)


A-League Premiership 2009-2010
A-League Championship 2009-2010

A-League Championship 2007-2008
Coach's Award 2006-2007

A-League Premiership 2011-2012


Yes, that's right. Keith Urban has Polish roots! The name given to him at birth was Richard Keith Urbanski. Though he was born in Whangarei, New Zealand,he and his parents immigrated to Australia, and lived in Caboolture, Queensland. At the age of six, Keith was already thinking about making it in the music industry and by seven years of age was learning music techniques. By eight he was winning song contests! A few years later he made regular guest appearances on the Reg Lindsay Coutnry Homesttead TV show, Mike McClellands Music program and many other televisions shows.

In 1990 Urban signed on with EMI in Australia and recorded his first solo album. He achieved 4 No. 1 hits in Australia, New Zealand and Germany. In 1992 he moved to Nashville and worked as a guitarist for Brooks Dunn and appeared as backup in the music video for Mercury Blues. He later formed his own band, The Ranch which released its own album in 1997. But in 1998 he disbanded the group to concentrate on a solo career. He released an album in 1999 which garnered three top 5 hits and earned him Top New Male Vocalist Award at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards as well as the 2001 Country Music Association's Horizon Award.

Keith Urban - Little Bit Of Everything (00:03.37m)

Keith Urban is recognized for his extraordinary guitar skills, and has performed on albums for Garth Brooks' Double Live, Dixie Chicks', Fly, and Paul Brandt's This Time Around. Urban served as judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards. His generous contributions are responsible for helping the careers of many independent artists around the world

Keith Urban is joining the judges panel of American Idol for its 14th season!He will be joined by Harrry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez.


Studio Albums

Keith Urban (1991)
Keith Urban (1999)
Golden Road (2002)
Be Here (2004)
Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing (2006)
Defying Gravity (2009)
Get Closer (2010)
Fuse (2013)

Compilation Albums

Days Go By (2005)
Greatest Hits: 18 Kids (2007)
The Story So Far (2012)

Number One Singles

But for the Grace of God (2001)
Somebody Like You (2002)
Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me (2003)
You'll Think of Me (2004)
Days Go By (2004)
Making Memories of Us (2005)
Better Life (2005)
You Look Good in My Shirt (2008)
Start a Band (w//Brad Paisley) - 2009
Sweet Thing  (2009)
Only You Can Love Me This Way (2009)
Without You (2011)
Long Hot Summer (2011)
You Gonna Fly (2012)
Little Bit of Everything (2013)


2001 Awards

Top New Male Vocalist           Academy of Country Music Awards
Horizon Award                        Country Music Association Awards
Outstanding Achievement Award   ARIA Music Awards           
Male Vocalist Award               VMA Awards

2003 Awards

Country album of the year
GOLDEN ROAD                    ARIA Music Awards

Song of the Year
"Somebody Like You"             BMI Awards

Video Clip of the Year
"Somebody Like You"             TCMA Awards

2004 Award

Male Vocalist of the Year       Country Music Association Awards

2005 Awards

Album of the Year
Be Here                                   Academy of Country Music Awards

Top Male Vocalist                   Academy of Country Music Awards

Country Album of the Year
Be Here                                   ARIA Music Awards

Male Vocalist of the Year       Country Music Association Awards

Entertainer of the Year           Country Music Association Awards

International Artist of the Year   Country Music Association Awards

Top-selling Pop Catalog Album of the Year
GOLDEN ROAD                    Billboard Awards

2006 Awards

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
YOU'LL THINK OF ME          Grammy Awards

Top Male Vocalist                   Academy of Country Music Awards

Male Vocalist of the Year       Country Music Association Awards

2007 Awards

Best Country Album               ARIA Music Awards

2008 Award

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
STUPID BOY                         Grammy Awards

2009    Awards

Vocal Event of the Year
START A BAND  (w/ Brad Paisley)   Academy of Country Music Awards

Musical Event of the Year
START A BAND  (w/ Brad Paisley)   Country Music Association Awards

Collaborative Video of the Year
START A BAND  (w/ Brad Paisley)   CMT Music Awards

Country-Favorite Male Artist              American Music Awards

2010 Awards

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
SWEET THING                                  Grammy Awards

Favorite Male Artist                             People's Choice Awards

Best Male Video                                  CMT Music Awards

2011 Awards

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
TIL SUMMER COMES AROUND                Grammy Awards

Choice Music: Male Country Artist                 Teen Choice Awards

2012 Award

Best Original Song
FOR YOU (nominated)                                  Golden Globe Awards                                                           

(please click link below)

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Keith was not born Urbanski. His great grandfather Richard was born Urbanski. His grandfather and father were Urbahn. This is the name Keith was born with.

    I know this because Keith's great-grandfather was also mine.

    Bronislaw would have been my grandmother's first cousin. Therefore you, Mr or Miss Urbanski would be my 4th cousin. I'm guessing you live in Australia.

    Please contact me as I am just finding this stuff out about 'the White Ghost' and the Polish connection.