265B. TALBOT, Henry William Beamish.

"He is an exceptionally capable surveyor and a wonderful bushman".

Dr. W. G. Woolnough, Government Geological Adviser. 24/07/1931.  


On the 20th of July 1931, John Bailey, the Chairman of C.A.G.E. wrote to Arthur Blakely, the Minister for Home Affairs, thanking him for protecting, "under charter to the Company, the area in which it is definitely known the Lasseter Gold Reef is situated". A blatant untruth on two counts, the Government had not granted the Company any 'charter' to prospect anywhere, and the existence of Lasseter's Reef had already been discredited by Fred Blakeley and Carrington and many others. Once again the Minister responsible for Central Australia was involved in the questionable objectives of the Central Australian Gold Exploration Co. as it organised a second expedition to Lasseter Country. Bailey pressed his political connection with a further demand, "I refer to the Geologist and Mining Surveyor, both of whom we regard as vital to the success of the expedition's great undertaking, and I now encroach further on your kind thought by asking if the Federal Government can assist us in regard to this very important side of the matter." 

It took Blakeley a couple of days to locate the Governments Geological Adviser, Dr. W. G. Woolnough was 'in the field' at Longreach, sharing knowledge with oil drillers, when he received a telegram requesting recommendations on suitable men to accompany the expedition, his emphatic reply was on the Ministers desk two days later, coincidently the anniversary of the first Expeditions departure  from Alice Springs the previous year. That H. W. B. Talbot were on that Expedition. 


Doctor Woolnough's advice prevailed and Bill Talbot, who was considered by his peers to be one of Australia's finest field Geologists, signed on with the second Expedition on 12th of August at 20.16.8 per week. the Expedition left Bob Buck's station, Middleton Ponds, on the 22nd of September, the party's, "somewhat elderly man", celebrated his 57th birthday a week later, somewhere two days northeast of Ayers Rock. Talbot celebrated many more birthdays in remote places as a senior field Geologist with Western Mining Corporation.        

Talbot seems to have been a man of independent spirit, his contract with the Central Australian Gold Exploration Company clearly states that his field notes and diary of the Expedition were to be handed to Buck at the end of the end of the journey, and he was not to engage in any other employment for the duration the contract. Fortunately for history and Hermannsburg Mission, Talbot ignored these constrictions and kept his diary and did the Mission a great service by surveying the necessary levels for a piped water supply.

Idriess missed an opportunity to elaborate on an incident mentioned at page two of 'Lasseter's Last Ride', "In 1916 the Western Australian Government sent out several camel expeditions to locate Lasseter's Reef. Both expeditions suffered causalities at the hands of the blacks and were forced to return." He was referring to a geological mapping expedition of six men and sixteen camels to the Warburton Ranges lead by Talbot in that year. While on reconnaissance of the Mount Gosse area. Talbot, Edward de Courcy and J. W. Johnson were attacked by Aboriginals, Talbot was lightly wounded in the arm and chest but the more seriously injured Johnson died of sepsis. This incident is widely quoted in Lasseter literature and relocated to the Rawlinson Ranges to add to the fearsome reputation of the Aboriginals there. It seems that Idriess never made the connection between one of the victims of the Mount Gosse spearing and the expert bushman Geologist on the second C.A.G.E. Expedition. 


R.Ross. 1999-2006

Idriess, Ion. L. Lasseter's Last Ride. pg. 2. National Archives Australia. Title, Central Australian Gold Exploration Synd. Assistance to Prospect. C/S. 1948/1143. B/C. 68988. pgs. 25-52. The Australian Geologist. No. 146. pgs. 12-13. Albrecht, F. W. Letter to Lutheran Almanac, 1964, pg.11. Talbot, H. W. B. Central Australian Gold Exploration Co. N. L. 1931 Expedition to the Petermann and Rawlinson Ranges NAA. Title, H. W. B. Talbot – Suggested authorisation to make surveys of oil country in Fitzroy River area. Series, A1. C/S 1925/22028. B/C, 1615019.