Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lasseter's Last Ride


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The boss was signing shearers on, around our Union floor
The day that sunburnt stranger came to old John Bailey's door;
A strong and silent man he stood and then his waiting done,
He spoke of riches, wealth and gold, beyond the setting sun.

Lasseter's gold, wealth untold, Lasseter's last ride!
Lasseter's gold, wealth untold, Lasseter's last ride!

The man who found that fabled reef, a man from death returned,
Yet deep inside each hearer's heart the lost bonanza burned;
The call was heard in home and hut to draw Australia's best,
A band of bushmen, near and far, to join that golden quest.

From Alice Springs they set their star, to far Ilbilba's well,
By leagues of barren sandy waste undreamt of yet in hell;
Beyond that native camping ground, Kaditcha demons moan,
And on the burning desert face a man went on alone.

Beneath his blind and searing soul the afghan camel strode-
A headlong rider, bent on hell, to make that mightly lode;
A great new golden state he saw beneath the inland sky,
But fortune fell and fate at last she left him there to die.

The desert breezes moan and mourn, the dingoes nightly wail,
And often in that lonely land the misted moon is pale;
Then on that grey and ghostly waste, along the trail of old,
A haunted rider plunges by, to reach his reef of gold.

Harold Bell Lasseter revealed to the world in 1929 that in the late nineteenth century, when he was a young man, he discovered a massive gold reef in a remote part of Western Australia. He spent much of his life trying to raise money to mount expeditions to find it again. This song comes from the Wildflower Songsheet of Australian Ballads, and undated folio printed in Western Australia by Imperial Printing Co Pty Ltd.

A more detailed examination of Lasseter's Reef can be found on the Gold Net Australia site.

The illustration for this post is a photograph of Lasseter's grave. The words on the plaque are from Theodore Roosevelt.

1 comment:

  1. "Yay" from me too Nic. This is a song worth learning.