Alice Springs

Friday, Aug 29, 2008 at 00:00

Motherhen

This Landrover, on display at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, was used by Harry Lasseter's son Robert on numerous expeditions from 1966 to 1978, when seeking clues as to Harry Lasseter’s journeys.

Lasseter's son Robert and grandson Bob together with friends have driven this Landrover thousands of kilometres, searching for landmarks recorded in his diary. The elevated seat assisted searching, and the radio was placed behind the seat to save it from being clogged by spinifex and grasses. A fan was a later addition. In heavy sand, the Landrover was coupled to another Landrover with a rigid four metre bar to create and eight wheel drive combination.

Harry Lasseter discovered a gold reef in 1897, when as a 17 year old he travelled alone from Alice Springs to the west coast with two horses.

Crossing the desert his two horses died, he was only saved when an Afghan sandalwood cutter rescued him and took him to the camp of a surveyor by the name of Harding, somewhere in Western Australia. When he showed Harding the samples of gold from the reef he had discovered, Harding was keen to go back right away, but they did not do so for three years, when he and Harding re-located the reef. Due to the gold boom in Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, they were unable to finance development of the find.

Lasseter then travelled abroad, and it was not until after the War that he again tried to locate the reef. Although he went back in 1918, it was not until 1930 that he recorded in his diary the re-discovery. During his return, his camels bolted and left him stranded near the present day Docker River. Friendly Aboriginals salvaged some of his belonging which had fallen from the bolting camels, and Lasseter camped in a small cave alongside the Hull River bed. Suffering dysentery, he stayed at the cave for around two months. Before leaving, he buried his diary in the cave. In weakened health he set out to walk to Mt Olga in the harsh mid summer conditions. He died about 50 kilometres east of the cave.

The National Road Transport Hall of Fame is one of many different displays in the Red Centre. Read about some we visited.


See this and other trip blogs in more detail at Travelogues on Australia So Much to See

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Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

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