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  THE LEGEND OF LASSETER Page1         Page 2 »»     Page 3 »»

Perhaps the greatest mystery in the charismatic saga of the Australian Gold fields, is the Legend of Lasseter's Reef.

Harold Lasseter was a man whose history and antecedents are shrouded in mystery. Even today debate rages as to the authenticity of his claim that he had found a fabulously rich gold reef, west of Alice Springs, Central Australia, somewhere near the Western Australian border.

To detail the whole saga in this brief resume is beyond the bounds of linguistic licence, however with further editions of Gold Net Australia Online specifics relating to this fabulous tale will be examined and commented on, in serialized form.

As you will read in further issues, the whole incredible saga raises more questions than it provides answers. Even today, the location of this fabulous wealth has not been found, and debate rages as to the validity or otherwise of this saga.

Lasseter was a prospector and miner who had both prospected and mined for gold and other treasure in Western Australia when gold was the backbone of the economies of this emerging nation.

He had been prospecting for rubies in the MacDonnell Ranges, west of Alice Springs, had become lost and had stumbled across a gold reef. He collected a bag of specimen gold and while trying to return to civilization became hopelessly lost. He was found by an Afghan camel driver, half starved, raving through thirst and delirious.

He was taken to a nearby surveyors camp, where he was nursed back to health. Some three years passed before Lasseter in company with a surveyor named Harding, who had been at the surveyor's camp at the time of his rescue, returned in search of the reef. As the story goes, they located the reef, took bearings and returned to civilisation at Carnavon on the north west coast of Western Australia.

Bearings had been taken using their watches, and they were dismayed to find that both their watches were substantially incorrect when they arrived at Carnavon. This of course meant that the bearings given would be incorrect and could be inaccurate by quite large distances.

Time passed. Lasseter was swept up in the rushes that were occurring all over Western Australia, and he worked both as a miner and a prospector throughout this time of plenty. Gold was literally oozing from the ground in almost inexhaustible quantities. Wealth was everywhere, and fortunes were being made.

The two men left at Ilbilba were quietly making their acquaintances with the local natives, many of whom had not seen a white man before. Caution was imperative, as spearing of white settlers was still a distinct possibility in this forbidding country. It was soon learnt that the native tribes of the area, were not only cautious of white men but also of other tribes, and stealing of lubra's (women) was common place, as were skirmishes between tribes for a variety of unrelated matters. Totally naked, well armed with spears, nulla-nulla's (clubbing sticks) and boomerangs, they were well equipped to both defend and attack as the situation arose. In general the tribes had a hierarchy, and well-regulated discipline. Each tribe with their own language, often unable to communicate with their 'next door neighbors'.

It was not unknown for native tribes to live in this manner in Australia right up to the 1960's. With the arrival of the large truck back at Ilbilba, the expedition leaders re-assessed their position.

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