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Harold Lasseter Grave
Harold Lasseter Grave

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The plaque at the grave of Harold Lasseter, with the words of Theodore Roosevelt, were placed as a tribute to the man's pioneering spirit. Harold Lasseter died in the Petermann Ranges in 1931 while searching for the legendary reef of gold.

Lasseter believed he found vast reefs of gold in Central Australia. During the Depression he persuaded people to fund an expedition but the expedition went seriously wrong and he died in the Petermann Ranges. He was found by Aboriginal trackers and buried near where he died. The body was exhumed and interred in the Alice Springs cemetery in June 1958.

No maps showing the location of the fabled gold reef were ever found, and over subsequent decades the tale of the reef and its discoverer has assumed mythic proportions; it is perhaps the most famous lost mine legend in Australia, and remains a "holy grail" among Australian prospectors.

ADELAIDE,Friday.—A body, believed to be that of the prospector, Lance(sic) Harold Bell Lasseter, who died while searching for a fabulous reef of gold near the Petermann Ranges in the Northern Territory in 1931,has been recovered from a grave. The find was made by the Australian Television Enterprises Ltd. unit, led by producer Lee Robinson, several days ago. A local bushman, Mr. Bob Buck,who is believed to be now in Adelaide, claimed that in 1931 he went out to search for Lasseter's body, which had been buried in a shallow grave by aborigines. He disinterred the body, removed the upper denture and reburied the body in a proper grave with a post and railing fence and returned to Alice Springs, where a death certificate for Lasseter was issued. A native boy named Mick, acted as guide to the television party.

Mick said that as a boy of 14 he was with a group of natives which led a starving white man for 40 miles towards Nindevale Station. However, he died and the natives buried him in an oval-shaped grave, doubled up in the native fashion. Mick led the party to a dry creek bed and pointed to a spot where he said Lasseter had been buried. The spot which Mick pointed out was dug up and four charred posts were found. The next day a skeleton of a man with a missing upper denture was found, a little deeper. A doctor from Alice Springs examined the skeleton at the grave and declared it to be that of a white man about 5ft. 4in. tall and of similar build to Lasseter.
Canberra Times (ACT), 21 December 1957. 


Address:Memorial Avenue, Alice Springs General (Memorial) Cemetery, Alice Springs, 0870
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -23.703611
Long: 133.864722
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription


"It Is Not The Critic Who Counts, Or How The Strong Man Stumbed And Fell
Or Where The Doer Of Deeds Could Have Done Better.
The Credit Belongs To The Man Who Is Actually In The Arena
Who Knows The Great Enthusiasms. The Great Devotion
And Spends Himself In A Worthy Cause.
If He Fails, He Fails By Daring Greatly.
So That He Will Never Be One Of Those Cold And Timid Souls 
Who Knew Neither Victory Or Defeat." 
                                                   Theodore Roosevelt 


Left Side Inscription

Harold Lewis Bell Lasseter. Died in the Petermann Ranges on January 30 1931. His grave was located on December 14th 1957 by an expedition led by Lowell Thomas and Lee Robinson. This is his final resting place.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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