Book of the Week – Lasseter’s Last Ride 1931, First Edition by Ion L. Idriess

This week’s best book I am going to have to hand to Craig. Every bookseller loves to find an Ion Idriess, as much as the collectors. Fittingly discovered on a hellishly long exploration of the countryside, (thankfully in a car and not on camels) Craig was trying to show me this while I was absorbed in a pile of dusty old kid’s books and kept impatiently waving him away.

This particular book, Lasseter’s Last Ride, is Idriess’s  second book. Harold Bell Lasseter was, briefly, an Australian explorer who claimed to have found a huge gold reef in the desert, somewhere between Western Australia and The Northern Territory. In 1930 he had raised enough money to fund an expedition, and set off in search of the reef. After being abandoned as a madman by his crew, and then his camels, he never returned.

His remains, along with a diary, were discovered by Bob Buck in March of 1931, with Lasseter thought to have perished around the end of January. His ‘diary’ revealed that he had lived among Aborigines for several months in the Petermann Ranges and had most likely died of starvation.

Angus and Robertson purchased the diary and then commissioned Ion L. Idriess to write the book. This was first published in 1931, and has been reprinted many times. The diary can be viewed here


‘What good a reef worth millions? I would give it all for a loaf of bread.’

Recorded in the diary before his death beside a remote Northern Territory creek bed.

1931 Ion L Idriess Lasseter’s Last Ride Angus and Robertson First Edition

One thought on “Book of the Week – Lasseter’s Last Ride 1931, First Edition by Ion L. Idriess”

  1. I work as a volunteer for a Catholic charity in Rotorua NZ. I help sort and manage the books that are donated to the little shop. After spending almost 40 years in OZ, seeing this book come in was a delight and also a shock. In OZ for work commitments I had spent time in Woomera for a few years, and then travelled to the Alice where I also lived and worked for close to 11 years. I felt so “at home” reading these pages. I knew that tough red landscape, the intense heat, the aboriginals with their unique ways, some of the places and certainly the history. Plus those camels, those travel distances, Hermansburg, and the personalities. And these pages bought it all back – that amazing world of brilliant night skies and pure depth of red dusty willy willys. I thank the author from my heart. For me it was a great read. And i am posting the book home to a special friend in South Australia who I know will love it too. The reef is out there – waiting for the right person to find it like Lasseter did so long ago. Me, I prefer opals!

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