|237. SANDY BLIGHT.|
|"beaten by Sandy Blight what an epitaph".|
|Lasseter's Diary, 29.|
Micky, the Aboriginal guide to the first expedition suffered the scourge of sandy blight or trachoma, an eye infection caused by the Eubacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, chronic infection leads to blindness. From Blakeley's view Micky's affliction lessened his value to the expedition as he would be unable to follow the flight of the water fly to its underground water supply. As Blakeley is the only person (so far) to have seen a water fly, Micky's task will be doubly difficult.
According to his diary, Lasseter also suffered sandy blight, causing considerable discomfort and blinding him to tracks, towards the end of the diary he writes "I am nearly blinded & crazy with sandy blight", and while he can no longer see animal tracks he continues to write quite legibly!!. Lasseter blamed Jack Jenkins for his eye infection, evidently Jenkins, a director of the Company, had some influence in making up the expeditions medicine chest and had either neglected or refused to include an ounce or two of Argerol, the appropriate cure.
But Lasseter finds some relief, when as a last resource, "I soused my eyes in Lourdes Water last night and they are much clearer today". According to Marshall-Stoneking, quoting a family source; prior to leaving Sydney Lasseter was given a small bottle of the blessed water by a neighbour, Mrs. O'Brien, fortunate indeed and very Idriess.
While Lasseter writes that sandy blight will be his epitaph, Micky's symptoms were relieved but not cured by the salves and ointments carried by the expedition, yet another small contradiction between Diary and fact, why didn't Lasseter avail himself of the expeditions extensive medical supplies before setting off for the Petermanns, he has no excuse for his circumstances.
© R.Ross. 1999-2006
Blakeley Fred Dream Millions 98,99. Idriess Ion L Lasseter's Last Ride 54,55. Marshall-Stoneking Lasseter-the making of a legend, 110-112.