9. The AMERICAN IMMIGRANT.

"Oh, Mr. Lasseter, I am afraid you made a terrible blunder in coming to London. The Otway is booked full”

The Bulletin, Vol.31. No.1581. Thursday June 2, 1910. Pg 10.

1 Being May 1909, at that time Lasseter was resident at Phelps, a rural community in upper New York state, U.S.A. He arrived in the vicinity in 1902 and the following year married Florence Scott, who had Mayflower antecedents. Between intermittent work and wandering far and wide, he managed the Scott family farm and cared for his ailing mother in law, who owned the farm. Eliza Scott passed away on the 25th August 1908.

2 Confirming the date Lasseter and his family left the United States, on the S.S. Arabic and not the S.S. Afric.

3 Here and in an earlier passage Lasseter infers that he arrived in Sydney on the Friedreich der Grosse, Lasseter and his family disembarked the Friedreich der Grosse at Port Adelaide on the 10th December 1909 and spent Xmas with his sister Lilian McGrath. The Port records show Lasseter's nationality, as well as his American wife and daughter, as English, rather than British.

4 Shortly after his arrival Lasseter took up a small leasehold on the banks of the Clarence River at Tabulam, a village about 30 miles to the west of Casino, he and his family remained there until November 1915.

5 Considering his past and future form there's a certain irony in "breaking stones". Lasseter's job at the Casino Council quarry starts an enlightening train of events, in November 1913 he claimed compensation from the Council for an eye injury he suffered in June 1910; while employed at the quarry, "I was struck by a splinter of stone in the right eye." The Council quickly rejected Lasseter's claim, "It is too far back". Nearly three years later Lasseter would use this injury to gain a discharge from the Army and records refer to the accident at the Casino quarry as the cause of his near blindness. For almost a year Lasseter played on this injury, sometimes to the left eye and sometimes the right, and variously due to a severe cold, the quarry accident or an accident at Seymour while an Army recruit, and of course the infamous, Died of Wounds incident.

August 1917 found Lasseter in Adelaide and in desperate straights, he reenlisted in the A. I. F., eyesight apparently passable, but was discharged less than three months later due to "mental deficiency", while this diagnosis is probably correct the earlier reason for discharge, "Defective Eyesight", raises the obvious question; that was answered in April 1920 when Lasseter wrote to the Comptroller of Repatriation, pleading special consideration and clearly inferring that his eye injury occurred while he was on duty at Seymour and the reason for his earlier discharge from the A. I. F. and present poor circumstances; however, while in Adelaide, "I also visited an eye specialist & he cured the injury to my eye. I then re-enlisted in S. A.". 

6 "the Chief of Police (a very American title) had obtained work for me in the quarry",  would have to be one of the funniest lines written by Lasseter, unintentional of course and karma comes to mind.

7 This Director of Immigration is a versatile and patient fellow, apparently acting as Lasseter's personal immigration, travel and employment agent as well as baggage handler and forwarding agent, his efforts rewarded by very public condemnation, The Bulletin being the most widely read newsweekly in Australia at the time.

 

LASSETERIA