|160. LASSETER'S LOOKOUT.|
|"George and I went over to the high knob and we christened it Lasseter's Last Lookout".|
132º00"E,23º50"S.(Approx). Mt Rennie 52-15. The first C.A.G.E Expedition reached this landmark, 'a little high knob of flintstone' about the 6th of September 1930. Located on the northern edge of Blakeley's Big Breakaway; country that was considered impossible to cross in the Thornycroft. This was the most southerly point reached by the expedition and here Blakeley again confronted Lasseter with the shortcomings in his 1897 story, Lasseter admitted his confusion regarding directions and location and stated that his 'instincts' told him that the reef was at the eastern end of the Petermann Ranges that could be seen faintly to the south. Blakeley was exasperated and pointed out to Lasseter that to his knowledge some 22 expeditions had explored that country in the past and had used Winters Glen as a depot and had not found gold in the area.
Next morning Sutherland and Blakeley discussed Lasseter's story in private, and agreed that relying on instincts was the "dizzy limit", both men considered this to be the end of the road for Lasseter and it was time to return to Alice Springs. That evening Blakeley held court with Lasseter, Taylor and Sutherland were present, to review Lasseter's story and to convince them that the reef really existed. Blakeley went over the details from 1897 to the present, pointing out the many inconsistencies and contradictions in Lasseter's story, finishing up by inviting Lasseter to put a case for going on. According to Blakeley, Lasseter had nothing to say.
Lasseter was determined not to return to Alice Springs with the rest of the expedition and informed Blakeley that he would continue the search for the reef from Ilbilla with camels and Paul Johns help. Blakeley agreed that this seems the only reasonable course of action for Lasseter, this will also cut down expenses and allow Lasseter more time in the field.
Idriess gave a far more generous interpretation of events and mentions nothing of Blakeley's final questioning of Lasseter with the obvious exposure of Lasseter's fraud, preferring to give a brief description of the Breakaway and the party's disappointment at realising the impossibility of crossing the sandy wastes, stretching left and right, 300 feet below them, the expedition was over and Blakeley intended to return to Alice Springs, but Lasseter simply declared that he was going on and would hire Paul Johns and his five camels. Blakeley considered that this a good idea as it would reduce expenses by sixty percent. The reader of Lasseter's Last Ride is left with the impression that this was an amicable arrangement between Blakeley and Lasseter, yet this is not the way Blakeley recorded events.
Coote put a slightly different shade on circumstances at Lasseter's Lookout, through Taylor he mentions Lasseter's disappointment at sighting his El Dorado but being unable to reach it because of the Breakaway country. Lasseter's reaction, according to Coote, was to simply declare that he would stay in the country until the reef was found, apparently the rest of the men were sceptical of this possibility but said nothing, and again no mention was made of any confrontation between Lasseter and Blakeley.
© R.Ross. 1999-2006
Blakeley Fred Dream Millions 139. Idriess Ion L Lasseter's Last Ride 83.