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From Buryan to Bondi

The Dennis Family of West Penwith, Cornwall and some Australian Descendants

Description Readers' Comments News and Updates Publication Details To Purchase

The greatest contrast in lifestyles between their new and old homeland was achieved by Susan's son James Dennis, who learned to read back in Cornwall by the light of a miner's lamp. Within thirty years of arriving in Australia as a thirteen-year-old labourer, he was a headmaster, a Master of Arts from Sydney University and then Inspector of Schools for NSW. His two sons were amongst Australia's first lifesavers, at Bondi Beach. Son Spenser became a designing engineer for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and son Cleon was an Engineer Lieutenant on HMAS Sydney in its famous battle with the Emden.

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Readers' Comments

Cornish Association of Victoria, Inc, Newsletter No 88, November 2008, Review by Lindsay Chapman - This very professionally produced publication is the result of many years of painstaking research by the author who in tracing her own Cornish background has provided a wealth of information for many other related families both in Cornwall and here in Australia. The format is A5, soft cover and of 386 pages.

The biography is most comprehensive, well structured and the text is supported by a number of ascendancy charts, early family photographs and present day images of West Cornwall. Louise lists and acknowledges all who have assisted in gathering detail and provides a full listing of sources chapter by chapter and this in itself is a most useful reference for others seeking their own Cornish heritage.

Whilst a reader who does not have any family connection may be overwhelmed by the amount of personal data given for the numerous descendants they will find all of the supportive information very interesting. One example of this was the naval career of Cleon Dennis during WW1, he served on HMAS Sydney at the time of the battle with the German cruiser Emden in 1914.

You should read the book yourself to follow the accounts of other members of this and the many related families who settled in Australia. Although this is a large volume, with chapters and charts being devoted to specific families and a comprehensive index, it is easy to select the family line or event that relates to your own interest. If you have any connection with a Dennis family in Cornwall or Australia this is your gold mine.



News and Updates


Correction, page 93 - James Dennis Angove lived with his father and his paternal grandmother at Treen in 1861.

Correction, pages 127-131 - Descendant Narelle West has kindly provided additional details and several corrections about her forebear Jane Williams. The most important correction applies to page 130 - Jane's son George married Elizabeth Ann Cannon at Newcastle West on 6 September 1906.

Read an updated story of Cleon Dennis, RAN

BLOG: Please refer to  for additions of new information about the Dennis family, whenever they come to hand. Last updated 1 November 2014.

Publication Details

Louise Wilson, South Melbourne, VIC, May 2008
Paperback, perfect bound, 386 A5 pages, colour & black & white illustrations

To Purchase

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Alternatively - contact the author via email to provide a mailing address and arrange for direct payment from your bank account.