Author(s): Wendy Frew
Historian Charles Bean described the Leanes as 'the most famous family of soldiers in Australian military history' and they were used as a poster family for recruitment in the First World War. But these Aussie diggers were separated by only one generation from humble Cornish farmers and their families, who sought godliness not glory when they sailed to South Australia in 1852.In 'Leane Times', Wendy Frew goes behind the myth of this famous fighting family to discover a complex story of people who came to Australia in search of prosperity and religious freedom. Lifted out of almost medieval village life in east Cornwall by a great wave of religious non-conformism and mass migration from the old world to the new, the Leanes landed in South Australia at a time when free immigrants were carving out a 'paradise of dissent'. These Cornish immigrants helped influence education, civic life and women's rights in their new country, and eventually transformed themselves into people who called themselves Australian.