284. WATTA MITTA MITTA.
"The headman who is so treacherous".
Lasseter's Diary. 9.

 

Lasseter never named the 'arrogant young headman' in his diary, Watta Mitta Mitta is first named at page 227 of Lasseter's Last Ride, in the typewritten transcript of the dying prospectors '78th Day' letter, written by Lasseter a few days before his end at Winters Glen. This disjointed message mentions the "treacherous Watta Mitta Mitta", for the first time, some three months after the diary has been written and buried in the cave on the Hull River. Lasseter has taken a long time to identify his nemesis.

Idriess would never allow a villain to remain anonymous, fortunately Lasseter has named his tormenter, but the choices of names for certain members of the small band of Aboriginals that Lasseter travelled with are quite laughable. Mitta Mitta is the name of a sizable river and small township in northeastern Victoria.  Wimmera, the notable pastoral area in western Victoria is attributed to an elder of the band who is left to perish after a failed yam hunt, along with his companion, Opperina, also a waterhole in the Musgrave Ranges.

Harry and Idriess would have Watta Mitta Mitta guilty of thievery, treachery and temptation as well as spearing, both threatened and actual and generally making Lasseter's life miserable. Marshall-Stoneking in 'Lasseter, the Making of a Legend' allows Idriess a generous interpretation of the young headman's name. Watta Mitta Mitta could translate to 'Wati rama rama' from the Pitjantjatjara, 'wati' an initiated man, and 'rama' for mad, hence mad man.

LASSETERIA

  R.Ross. 1999-2006

Idriess, Ion. L. Lasseter's Last Ride. 128-227.  Lasseter's Diary. 9.