Ian Craig Leslie
6 July 1942
|Occupation||Television journalist, corporate communicator|
|Known for||60 Minutes|
|Children||Jayne Leslie, Peter Leslie|
Ian Craig Leslie OAM (born 6 July 1942) is an Australian television journalist and corporate communicator. He is best known for his 12 years (1977-1989) as a member of the original team on what was Australian television's highest-rating show 60 Minutes.
Ian Craig Leslie was born in Java,Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Leslie was born one of twins in Bandung, Indonesia under Japanese occupation, to his mother Lydia. He had an elder brother, sister and two aunts. At the time, his father William was interned in a POW camp in West central Java and would not see the twins until the Japanese surrender three and a half years later. His father was from Aberdeen, Scotland and mother was born in Gnadenfeld, Ukraine. Both migrated from war torn Europe for a better life in the thriving Dutch-British East Indies. His mother's family was of white Russian origin and fled their homeland to escape persecution under the Communist Bolshevik tyranny.
They raised their four children in Java where William Leslie was a manager for a large Anglo-Dutch export company. An idyllic life ended abruptly with the Japanese Imperial Army's invasion in February 1942. For his first three years, Ian and his family spent life behind bamboo as POWs in a separate camp to his father. Despite the ravages of prison life and starvation, disease, and lack of medical aid the Leslies survived. In August 1945 at the end of the Pacific War, the Leslies were evacuated back to Scotland.
In 1947 William Leslie took his family back to Indonesia to resume life and career. What they saw was a very different country to the one they had left three years earlier. Nationalism had replaced Dutch-Anglo colonial rule. Communist insurgents under President Sukarno waged a war of independence. Indonesia was no longer a safe place to raise a family, with politically motivated attacks on Europeans becoming a daily occurrence. In 1950 they moved to Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. Ian Leslie is a member of the Australian branch of Clan Leslie.
Ian was educated at Church of England Boys Prep and Toowoomba State High.
Leslie became a cadet journalist in Toowoomba in 1962 with the local newspaper/television group, rising to News Editor. He moved to Sydney in 1972 as a senior reporter with the Ten Network. In 1977 he transferred to the Nine Network to join A Current Affair.
In 1979 the Australian edition of 60 Minutes was launched on the Nine Network, with Ian Leslie, Ray Martin and George Negus as the original reporting team. He remained in that role for the next 11 years, until 1989.
In his time with 60 Minutes he will be remembered most for his compassionate reporting, especially where children were involved and for his unwavering commitment to expose suffering in Australia and in developing countries.
Leslie covered conflicts in most of the world's major trouble spots: Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lebanon, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Burma, Korea, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.
He interviewed many other world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Moraji Desai, Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Presidents Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), Godfrey Beniza, Milton Obote and Yoweri Muzeweri (all of Uganda).
In 1990 Ian Leslie formed a production company specialising in corporate communications.
On a 60 Minutes assignment in the Philippines, a Moro guerrilla pulled a revolver from his holster, put it against Leslie's head and pulled the trigger. Leslie had no idea the gun was not loaded.
In 1966, Leslie married Jan Penhaligon. They have two children, Jayne and Peter, and three grand children, Zavia, Tahlia, and Sienna. Jan was educated at PGC College Warwick. She has degree in Music, A Mus A and ATCL (Associate Trinity College London) having topped the State's music exams. Daughter Jayne has a degree in Drama from the West Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts. She runs her own business coaching company. Son Peter is an accomplished television cameraman, covering major sporting events in Australia and overseas, including the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Beijing 2008 Olympics.