"The natives would never dare touch those teeth".

For a very mundane subject Lasseter's false teeth have created a lot of interest, Bob Buck found the teeth beside the body at Winters Glen and pondered the scenario, "The natives would never dare touch those teeth, but it beats me why the crows haven't carried them away", Indeed!. Buck retrieved the dentures and other personal items as proof of Lasseter's death and returned to Middleton Ponds.

About a week after his return the Police demanded that Buck come to Alice Springs immediately, to give an account of the circumstances of Lasseter's death and burial and bring the evidence. Buck arrived at Hermannsburg on 3/5/31 and made the acquaintance Walter Gill who noted that Buck had a set of dentures, a nickel plated revolver, a diary and perhaps a broken camera as the required evidence, Gill drove Buck to Alice Springs next day.

The revolver, camera and diary have been accounted for, but the false teeth have disappeared, perhaps thoughtfully disposed of by the Police. And there the matter may have rested, except Lasseter was illegally disinterred in 1956 and teeth again became an item of interest. Marshall-Stoneking reports a conversation with Nosepeg Tjupurrula, the Aboriginal who located Lasseter's grave for the Lowell Thomas film crew, apparently Tjupurrula was in a position to examine Lasseter's skull closely and was adamant that Lasseter had a full head of teeth !

There's probably only one way to resolve the issue, but on a lighter note, Coote kept the men of the expedition amused with a story of his arrival at Alice Springs. Concerned at the interest the Aboriginals were taking in the plane but ignorant of the language, Coote got the message across by removing his false teeth and clacking them vigorously at the 30-40 Aboriginals, "the blacks took off in all directions"; I wonder if Bob Buck also had false teeth?


R.Ross. 1999-2006

Gill Walter Petermann Journey 4. Idriess Ion L Lasseter's Last Ride 226. Marshall-Stoneking Lasseter, The Making of a Legend 30.