The Library is open. See frequently asked questions.


Due to essential maintenance, digital image viewers in the old catalogue will be temporarily unavailable between 1 pm and 4 pm (AEDT) this Thursday, 9 December 2021. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Letter fragment recording Lasseter's fateful last words donated to NSW State Library

Monday, 30 November 2015

“I’m done for”! A letter fragment containing these fateful last words of inland explorer Harold Lasseter, discovered attached to his dead body in 1931, will go on public display for the first time TODAY (Monday 30 November) at the State Library of NSW.

The letter, recently donated to the State Library along with a telegram and envelope, may shed light on the last days of the infamous explorer who died in the Central Australian desert searching for gold “as thick as plums in a pudding” – known as Lasseter’s Reef ? he claimed to have sighted 20 years earlier.

According to State Library curator Elise Edmonds, “the letter fragment is a poignant artefact. It contains fragments of words that convey the hopeless desperation felt by Harold Lasseter as he lay dying in a cave near the Petermann Ranges in Central Australia.”

Extract from letter: …anything for shade…78th day no food…I realise my end is…might have got to…but what hurts most…is not to know why…weak to stand & have…I’m done for....

PDF iconDownload full media release