William Lane

Portrait of William Lane, 1890-1894 William Lane (6 September 1861 – 26 August 1917) was an English-born journalist, author, advocate of Australian labour politics and a utopian socialist ideologue.

Lane was born in Bristol, England into an impoverished family. After showing great skill in his education, he worked his way into Canada as first a linotype operator, then as a reporter for the ''Detroit Free Press'' where he would later meet his future wife Ann Lane, ''née'' Macquire. After settling in Australia with his wife and child, as well as his brother John, he became active in the Australian labour movement, founding the Australian Labour Federation and becoming a prolific journalist for the movement. He authored works covering topics such as labour rights and white nationalism.

After becoming disillusioned with the state of Australian politics following an ideological split in the labour movement, he and a group of utopian acolytes (among them influential writer and poet Mary Gilmore) moved to Paraguay in 1892 to found New Australia, with the intention of building a new society on the foundations of his utopian ideals. Following disagreement with the colony regarding the legality of miscegenation and alcohol consumption, he left to found the nearby colony Cosme (also known as Colonia Cosme) in May 1894, and later abandoned the project altogether in 1899.

Upon resetting in New Zealand he continued his journalistic endeavours until his death in August 1917. After his death he was both celebrated as a champion of utopian socialism, and condemned as the arrogant leader of a failed new society. Due to his radical politics and his extensive journalistic career, he remains a controversial figure in Australian history. Provided by Wikipedia
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