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Lane, William (1861 - 1917)

Activist, Editor and Journalist
Alternative Names
  • Miller, John (Pseudonym)


Lane was the most influential of the early socialist nationalist agitators. He worked as a printer and journalist in the United States before embarking upon his Australian career as a radical journalist. He edited the radical nationalist Boomerang from 1887 and the Queensland labour movement's Worker from 1890 to 1892.

His ironically titled novel, The workingman's paradise was published in 1892 to raise funds for the families of gaoled strikers.

The great strikes of 1890 and 1891 led Lane to believe that Australia should be abandoned. Under the banner of New Australia, 220 colonisers set off for Paraguay in 1893 to establish a socialist, utopian, settlement. Lane established rules of racial exclusion and temperance which led to tension. Lane established a second colony near-by as Cosme. Both colonies eventually collapsed.

Lane, disillusioned, began work at the conservative New Zealand Herald in 1900, and died in Auckland in 1917.

See Gavin Souter, 'Lane, William (1861 - 1917)', Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.



  • The Worker's first seventy years, Australian Workers' Union, Brisbane, 1960. Image PDF Details
  • Lane, E. H., Dawn to Dusk, SHAPE, Brisbane, 1939. Image PDF Details
  • Lane, William, The workingman’s paradise : an Australian labour novel by John Miller, Edwards, Dunlop and Co [This scan courtesy of the State Library of Victoria], Sydney, 1892. Image PDF Details
  • Miller, John (William Lane), Workingman's paradise; an Australian labour novel, Edwards, Dunlop, Sydney, 1892. Transcript HTML Transcript PDF Details

Book Sections

  • Milner, Andrew, 'Radical Intellectuals: an unacknowledged legislature?', in Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee (eds), Constructing a culture: a people's history of Australia since 1788, McPhee Gribble/ Penguin Books, Melbourne, 1988, pp. 259-84. PDF Details
  • Webb, Sidney and Beatrice, 'Extract', in Austin, A.G. (ed.), The Webbs' Australian Diary 1898, 1898. Image PDF Details

Newspaper Articles

  • 'The Worker: Statement of Aims, 1890', The Worker [Queensland], vol. 1, no. 1, 1 March 1890. Details
  • Gilmore, Mary Jane, 'Colonia Cosme; the New Australia experiment', Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 5 November 1902. Image PDF Details
  • Lane, William, 'New Australia', The Worker [Queensland] (Brisbane), 24 August 1890. Image PDF Details