254. STANLEY, Malcolm, S.

"I think it would be a great mistake to let the deception go on. This mythical reef has already cost hundreds of thousands of pounds".

Fred Blakeley, Dream Millions, Pg. 1.

 

Malcolm Stanley is mentioned in the opening lines of Blakeley's narrative, Dream Millions, according to Blakeley, he and his city friend were dining in Sydney one day, post Lasseter saga, when Stanley mentioned that yet another expedition had set off in futile search for Lasseter's Reef, and expressed deep concern over the fortunes wasted and the risk to life. Stanley actively encouraged Blakeley to write his account of the First C.A.G.E. Expedition, "just as you have related it to me from time to time", to discourage further expeditions and expose Lasseter.

Blakeley was reluctant to write his side of the story, citing the plausible reason of not wanting to embarrass Lasseter's family, but more likely not wanting to be sued for deformation by Coote or Bailey. Stanley persisted, appealing to Blakeley's sense of responsibility through involvement, saying, "I think it would be a great mistake to let the deception go on". Blakeley relented and wrote the manuscript for Dream Millions over 1936/37, his book was not published until 1972.

Stanley, a decorated war veteran and civil engineer, with a specialty in wooden bridges and laminated timber beams, (meaning that he and Lasseter should have something in common as Lasseter always claimed he was a bridge engineer), was one of the small group of experts assembled by Bailey to test Lasseter's claims. Stanley sensed that all was not as it seemed with Lasseter and his reef and advised Blakeley accordingly, especially on radio security, warning Blakeley to be very careful with what was sent over the air, "You never know what stunts may be worked with the share market". For a short while, between the First and Second Expedition, Stanley was a Director of C.A.G.E. probably lending his expertise in salvaging something from the disastrous First Expedition.

Sometime after 1936 Ion Idriess acquired Stanley's heavily annotated copy of Lasseter's Last Ride, in turn Idriess's biographer, Beverley Eley, was given Stanley's copy of the bestseller, and several of Stanley's opinions on the Lasseter saga have come to light. Apparently Stanley made much of Lasseter's bigamy, although he never clearly stated the implications Lasseter's social and cultural misdemeanour  had for the Company or the search for the reef, unless it was an example of Lasseter's duplicity. There is an early reference to Lasseter's escape from the desert to America, backed by several trustworthy Lasseter sightings in Oregon and Salt Lake City. The story about Lasseter's letter to Carrington asking him to arrest Johns for assault is examined with the conclusion that Lasseter wanted Johns kept out of the way while he set off alone to peg the reef. Stanley was not to know that Lasseter's letter to the Government Resident was part of the growing myth and never existed.

According to Eley, Stanley made the astonishing claim that the Second C.A.G.E. Expedition did find Lasseter's Reef, "they found the reef-in ironstone caps containing no gold," This is probably the reef 'found' by Green, that assayed 16 grains to the ton for gold, according to Idriess. Stanley concluded his commentary on Lasseter with, "the crowd lost all of its subscribed capital, I knew many of them, Fortunately I mistrusted Lasseter, I kept out and stayed out", not entirely, he backed Lasseter with an initial 20 share.

LASSETERIA

R.Ross. 1999-2006

Fred Blakeley, Dream Millions, pgs.1,65. Beverley Eley, Ion Idriess. pgs.136-138. Ion Idriess, Lasseter's Last Ride. pg. 135.