Lasseter and the Mine with the Iron Door

By Simon Ryan.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 1924, Lewis Hubert Lasseter changed his name to Lewis Harold Bell Lasseter. This seemingly unremarkable fact becomes significant in the context of Lasseter’s subsequent claim that he had found a valuable reef of gold in central Australia. While attempting to relocate this reef, Lasseter died in the desert. Lasseter and his lost reef quickly became a legend; he is now recalled by the Lasseter Highway and perhaps more appropriately, the Lasseter Hotel Casino. He is memorialised, condemned and mourned in dozens of books that seek to examine the truth of his claim, and he has inspired countless trips into desert country that attempt to locate his lost gold. His change of name is important as it signifies his debt to Harold Bell Wright, the American popular author whose “The Mine with the Iron Door” found its way in text and cinema versions to Australia in the 1920s. But the alteration of his name reflects a deeper struggle with identity that is examined through the lens of Stuart Hall's work on identity construction.

Keywords: Exploration, Gold Mine, Lasseter, Australian Outback

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.15-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 218.696KB).

Dr. Simon Ryan

Associate Professor, Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Associate Professor Simon Ryan lectures in literature at the Australian Catholic University. He is the author of The Cartographic Eye: How Explorers Saw Australia. His interests include the literature of British exploration and colonialism.