Are you entitled to some of NSW’s missing millions?

 

When Polish immigrant Maria Okinczyc went to work for Mrs M.S. Jelly in an outback hotel in 1949, the former prisoner of war probably didn't expect to end up accumulating NSW's largest sum of unclaimed money.

But a trust account of $1.07m in the name of Mrs Okinczyc, who died in 2001, is now the most substantial amount of long-lost loot in the state.

Revenue NSW holds $444m of unclaimed money.

Nearly $47m flowed into its coffers in 2019-20 and only $17m went out, suggesting the people of NSW need to do more to find their lost dosh.

 

 

Mrs Okinczyc's money was declared unclaimed in 2015 and, in an effort to connect it to its rightful owner, The Daily Telegraph is on Tuesday publishing all the available information on her.

Born Maria Ochocka in Lublin, Poland on December 9, 1919, she moved - or was moved - to Germany in 1942 where she spent seven years until boarding MV Dundalk Bay bound for Australia.

National Archives records show she listed her occupation in Germany as "rural worker" and that her address there was the Fallingbostel prisoner of war camp.

Documents held by the International Center on Nazi Persecution show she was married when she arrived in Sydney in April 1949. That was an error.

The man she would eventually marry, Piotr Okinczyc, also born in Lublin, was listed as single when he arrived in 1950 after recently divorcing another woman.

He nominated Maria as his only friend or relative in Australia. She was working as a domestic at a hotel in Maitland, South Australia.

 

Maria Okinczyc led quite the life and now has $1.07m in unclaimed money. Picture: National Archives
Maria Okinczyc led quite the life and now has $1.07m in unclaimed money. Picture: National Archives

 

Mr Okinczyc, who was in forced labour in Germany from 1940, was 13 years her senior.

He was a cook at the Cabramatta Hotel and died in 1958, two years after they were married at Auburn. They are buried together at Liverpool Cemetery.

It does not appear they had children together, but they may have had extended family here.

A 2007 Australian Securities & Investments Commission Gazette lists a Giuseppe Okinczyc's last known address as being Maria's longtime home - 72 Broomfield St, Cabramatta.

Giuseppe may have been a cousin. A person with that name born in 1923 applied to become an Australian resident in 1971. He had four children, three of whom came to Australia with him. No other record of him exists.

In 1951, Mrs Okinczyc lost her handbag containing her NSW Certificate of Registration.

 

Maria Okinczyc died in 2001.
Maria Okinczyc died in 2001.

 

Under the Alien Act, she applied for a new one.

Oddly, the form lists her nationality as Latvian. The application was made in her maiden name.

Mrs Okinczyc became an Australian citizen in 1965 when she was working as a waitress at a hostel in Villawood.

The Cabramatta home was sold in 2005 for $900,000. It is not known if the proceeds were transferred into the trust account.

Most of the amounts held by Revenue NSW, which can be searched on its website, are relatively small - unpresented cheques, deposits or refunds.

To see the top 50 unclaimed fortunes, go to www. dailytelegraph.com.au.

Originally published as Are you entitled to some of NSW's missing millions?



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