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Charles Leck (c. 1862–1929)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Charles Leck at Paraguay, n.d. [detail]

Charles Leck at Paraguay, n.d. [detail]

University of Sydney Archives

Charles Leck, also known as Charles Lech (c.1862-1929) drover, New Australia prospector & settler in Paraguay, carrier

Birth: c 1862 in Sydney, son of Henry William Leck (1837-1923), a miner who had been born in Prussia, and Henrietta Alexander, née Turner (1841-1877), born in New South Wales. Marriage: 27 November 1897 in Cosme (Caazapa), Paraguay, to Georgina Graham Noon (1871-1949), weaver, who had been born in Scotland. They had two daughters and two sons. Death: 11 March 1929 in Sydney hospital. Religion: Anglican.

  • In Gavin Souter’s words “a bushworker of wide experience” from Woodstock, NSW, Leck was “a short man, but very strong”, who “could turn his hand to anything”.
  • Worked as a drover, bush labourer and shearers’ cook.
  • In 1891 attended Amalgamated Shearers’ Union conference in Adelaide. On 11 December he and William Saunders were elected vice chairmen of the Peoples Parliamentary Association (PPA).
  • In May 1892 he and Saunders travelled to South America to join Alfred Walker in Buenos Aires, then searched for a suitable site for William Lane’s New Australia settlement in Argentina before choosing land in Paraguay.
  • Became a foundation member and inspector of the settlement: “no member has done more, or rendered more varied service; he has always been in quest by the electors, was constantly in harness as Agent, Secretary, or committeeman”.
  • Leck’s resignation from Cosme, with no ill feelings, was accepted in March 1902. Granted a withdrawal share of £250 and honorary membership, he left the settlement with his family and spent the following eight years in South America, much of the time “breeding mules in Argentina for the British and German armies”.
  • In 1910 the Lecks returned to Sydney, where Charlie worked as a carrier and lived in Mosman then in the Stanmore area.
  • Cause of death was acute cholecystitis.
  • One son Louis Lane Bennet Leck (1911-1985) became a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald.

Gavin Souter, A Peculiar People: the Australians in Paraguay, (Sydney, 1968); Mary Gilmore, 'New Australia's Three Musketeers', Bulletin (Sydney) 25 January 1928, pp 2 & 5 (

Additional Resources

  • leaves Cosme, Western Champion (Barcaldine, Qld), 9 June 1902, p 11

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Leck, Charles (c. 1862–1929)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 4 October 2023.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Charles Leck at Paraguay, n.d. [detail]

Charles Leck at Paraguay, n.d. [detail]

University of Sydney Archives

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Lech, Charles

c. 1862
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


11 March, 1929 (aged ~ 67)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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