Skip to content | Skip to document navigation

National Archives of Australia logoResearch Guides

Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory

Lewis Hubert (Harold Bell) Lasseter (1880–1931)

Harold Lasseter was born in September 1880 at Bamganie, Victoria, and served briefly in the First AIF during World War I.

Lasseter's place in Territory history arises from his claim that as a young man he had discovered a fabulous gold reef in Central Australia, although precisely when he made the discovery is uncertain as the date changed a number of times.

In 1930 his claim led to the formation of an expedition to locate the lost reef. Lasseter accompanied the expedition which departed from Alice Springs in July, but returned unsuccessfully in September. Lasseter mounted a second expedition shortly after. He became separated from the expedition and was later found by a group of Aboriginal people in a delirious state, suffering from thirst and malnourishment. He lived with the group for some time but ultimately died of starvation in early 1931. His body was located in March 1931 and buried on the site but was later moved to Alice Springs Memorial Cemetery.

Lasseter's lost gold reef, if indeed it does exist, has never been found.

Selected records relating to Lewis Hubert (Harold Bell) Lasseter
National Archives, Canberra
Lasseter Lewis Hubert (WW I service file), 1914–20 B2455, Lasseter L H
National Archives, Darwin
Neville Harding expedition – Lasseter's reef, 1950–51 F1, 1951/651
Lasseter's lost reef – press clippings – Centralian Advocate, 1950–56 F742, 1950/588M
Burial – L H B Lasseter, 1958–76 F706, 1960/39
Neville Harding – Lasseter reef expeditions, 1967–70 F1, 1971/2147


Chapter 16
Territory Personalities