LETS Grow Free is re-establishing old school ways of living and thinking.  Our Great-Grandparents were self-reliant and had strong local community trade and friendships that they could depend on!   They knew how to make things, fix things, grow things and they knew how to care for others in their communities who were less fortunate than themselves!  Imagine living in a modern day community where members actively cultivate the skills and lifestyles of the "good old days"?    That is what we are striving for in LETS Grow Free. What a great place to be!

Turning back the clock
Australia in the 1930's was filled with challenges not unlike those of today. 

  • The official unemployment level reached a peak of 32 per cent. Hundreds of thousands of Australians were out of work. The immediate effect was on individuals and families: children with not enough to eat; men, the traditional breadwinners, humiliated and powerless; women scrabbling to hold families together
  • In the absence of unemployment insurance, charity groups became the only source of relief but were unable to feed the overwhelming numbers of hungry 
  • National income declined by a third
  • More than 40,000 men moved around the country looking for work: setting up shantytowns on the edges of communities and camping in parks
  • The few jobs that did become available were cruelly fought over
  • By 1932 more than 60,000 men, women and children were dependent on the susso, a state-based sustenance payment that enabled families to buy only the bare minimum of food.  One Queenslander commented, ‘Many spend more on a dog’.  This was not unemployment insurance and was only available to people who had been without work for an extended period of time and who had no family assets 

Source -      National Museum Australia       https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/great-depression#:~:text=Depression%20hits%20home&text=Hundreds%20of%20thousands%20of%20Australians,Suicide%20rates%20increased%20dramatically.

LETS Grow Free is like lemonade!
Precious few people are still alive today to give a first hand account of the challenges of 1930's Australia.  However,   the experiences and wisdoms gained live on through our family lineage.  Our forbears demonstrated  strength of character and healthy mindsets of   "we will make do"  and  "don't sweat the small stuff."  They knew how to live well in circumstances that we today would  find overwhelming.  In fact their mind set was such that they rarely viewed their situations as dire at all and instead simply got on with things.  "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"     LETS Grow Free is like lemonade!

For those of us who did not live through the 1930's nor grow up hearing about these times from Grandparents, there is a very good book that gives a first hand account. It is the humble autobiography of Albert Facey titled  "A Fortunate Life" 

This is the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. It is the story of Albert Facey, who lived with simple honesty, compassion and courage. A parentless boy who started work at eight on the rough West Australian frontier, he struggled as an itinerant rural worker, survived the gore of Gallipoli, the loss of his farm in the Depression, the death of his son in World War II and that of his beloved wife after sixty devoted years - yet he felt that his life was fortunate.

Role Models
Another inspiring story of  1930's Australia  is that of  Lennie Gwyther.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lennie_Gwyther
Lennie's sister, Mary Small has written a book named  "Lennie's Ride "  based on family records.

"So picture this.   It’s 1932 and Australia is in the grip of the Great Depression. One in three workers are unemployed. Decrepit shanty towns hug the outskirts of the big cities. A scrawny rabbit caught in a trap will feed a family for a week. Country roads are filled with broken men walking from one farmhouse to another seeking menial jobs and food.

On the outskirts of the South Gippsland town of Leongatha, an injured farmer lies in bed unable to walk – or work.  World War I hero Captain Leo Tennyson Gwyther is in hospital with a broken leg and the family farm is in danger of falling into ruins.  Up steps his son, nine-year-old Lennie.

With the help of his pony Ginger Mick, Lennie ploughs the farm’s 24 paddocks and keeps the place running until his father can get back on his feet.  How to reward him?

Lennie has been obsessively following one of the biggest engineering feats of the era – the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He wants to attend its opening.  With great reluctance, his parents agree he can go.

So Lennie saddles up Ginger Mick, packs a toothbrush, pyjamas, spare clothes and a water bottle into a sack, and begins the 1000+ kilometre trek to Sydney.  Alone.  That’s right.  A nine-year-old boy riding a pony from the deep south of Victoria to the biggest and roughest city in the nation.  Told you it was a different era.  No social media.  No mobile phones.  But even then it doesn’t take long before word begins to spread about a boy, his horse and their epic trek.

The entire population of small country towns gather on their outskirts to welcome his arrival. He survives bushfires, is attacked by a “vagabond” and endures rain and cold, biting winds.  When he reaches Canberra he is welcomed by Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, who invites him into Parliament House for tea.

When he finally arrives in Sydney, more than 10,000 people line the streets to greet him.  He is besieged by autograph hunters.  He becomes a key part of the official parade at the bridge’s opening.  He and Ginger Mick are invited to make a starring appearance at the Royal Show.  Even Donald Bradman, the biggest celebrity of the Depression era,  requests a meeting and gives him a signed cricket bat.

A letter writer to The Sydney Morning Herald at the time gushes that “just such an example as provided by a child of nine summers, Lennie Gwyther was, and is, needed to raise the spirit of our people and to fire our youth and others to do things – not to talk only.“The sturdy pioneer spirit is not dead … let it be remembered that this little lad, when his father was in hospital, cultivated the farm – a mere child.”  When Lennie leaves Sydney for home a month later, he has become one of the most famous figures in a country craving uplifting news.  Large crowds wave handkerchiefs.  Women weep and shout “goodbye”.  According to The Sun newspaper, “Lennie, being a casual Australian, swung into the saddle and called ‘Toodleloo!’”.

He finally arrives home to a tumultuous reaction in Leongatha.  He returns to school and soon life for Lennie – and the country – returns to normal.  These days you can find a bronze statue in Leongatha commemorating Lennie and Ginger Mick.  But Australia has largely forgotten his remarkable feat – and how he inspired a struggling nation.

Never taught about him in school?  Never heard of him before?  Spread the word.  We need to remember – and celebrate – Lennie Gwyther and his courageous journey. " 

Human Virtues
In the old days people knew how to persevere like Lennie Gwyther!  This human virtue and others were passed down through the generations as children grew up seeing clear examples of such qualities in the world they lived in.  Do you agree that we need to keep "Perseverance"  and other human virtues ALIVE in our culture and that we need to clearly demonstrate them to our children?!

Many of us were raised to "respect" our  "elders".  Old school morals, decency and  "the right thing to do"  were run of the mill conversations and expectations.  Some of us were blessed to have had childhoods where role-model grandparents clearly demonstrated virtues of honesty, compassion and courage.   In LETS Grow Free we value human virtues and the role they play in creating a better future for our individual selves as well as a better society for us all.  

Human virtues are sometimes difficult to cultivate in the modern world.  In LETS Grow Free we have sourced a multi-faith approach to teach children and to remind adults of the goodness and self-reliance within us all.  By practising virtues we can learn to live wisely and to  "pull ourselves up by our boot straps"  to benefit ourselves, our families, our societies and future generations. Virtues are old school and there is much wisdom in old school for modern living!
https://www.virtuesproject.com     -The Virtues Project is a global initiative, inspiring the practice of virtues in everyday life. Its foundation is research into the world’s great wisdom traditions. The purpose of its programs, books, and materials is to make this timeless knowledge accessible in our individual and collective lives.In LETS Grow Free we value traditional wisdoms that our members can adopt and apply to their benefit in the modern world. Virtues are universally valued by people of all cultures and religions.  Virtues are our inner strengths, the content of our character, and the truest expression of ones self.  Respect, Integrity, Courage and Trustworthiness, to name a few examples. We invite you to learn more about the meaning and practice of virtues as a way to cultivate a better future for your individual selves, for your family and for future generations. We understand that human virtues are sometimes difficult to cultivate in the modern world.  In LETS Grow Free we have sourced a multi-faith approach to teach children and to remind adults of the goodness and self-guidance within us all.