Frederick BlakeleyPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

The monument commemorates prospector, bushman, and author Frederick Blakeley (1882-1962).

Blakeley was born at Gilberton (New South Wales) and moved to Broken Hill at an early age, and then on to White Cliffs to mine for opals. He spent all of his life roaming the outback prospecting.

In 1908 he cycled the 3500 kilometres from White Cliffs to Darwin, and wrote of his epic journey in Hard Liberty. In 1930 he led the expedition that set off to find Lasseters Reef; a futile search that became the topic of another book Dream of Millions; in this book Blakeley casts doubt on the truth of Lasseter’s claim to have found a super-reef of gold.

Blakeley also wrote articles for several newspapers, and was widely regarded as an expert on Australia’s inland, and its aboriginal inhabitants. His book Hard Liberty is still regarded as a classic portrayal of life in the outback during the early part of the 20th Century.


Address:Haasts Bluff Community Road, Haasts Bluff, Haasts Bluff , 0872
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -23.360194
Long: 132.035361
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:August-2003
Front Inscription

Frederick Blakely (1882 – 1962)

Bushman, prospector, author, and friend of the Aboriginal people.

Blakeley began work at 12 years of age in the mines at Broken Hill. He spent many years in the Outback prospecting for gold, opal, and tin. In 1908, with Dick and Jim O’Neill, Fred cycled from White Cliffs (NSW) to Darwin (NT).  They assisted Aunger and Dutton complete the first motor car crossing of Australia and met with Francis Birtles on the first trans-Australia bicycle ride. In 1915-1919, the trio pioneered the Coober Pedy opal field (SA). Fred’s outback classic, “Hard Liberty (1938) describes their adventures.

Fred Blakeley camped here at Ngankirritja (Haasts Bluff) in 1930 leading an expedition in search of Harold Lasseter’s legendary gold reef.

With Lasseter as guide, the expedition left Alice Springs in July and trucked west via Ngankirritja and Ilpili Spring (Ehrenberg Range) to Walungurru (Kintore Range) near the Western Australian border.

Unsuccessful, it returned to Alice Springs in late September but Lasseter continued the search using camels.  Lasseter reported he had relocated and pegged the reef.  He died in the Petermann Ranges in January 1931. Blakeley’s book, “Dream Millions” (1972) gives his account of the expedition.

Blakeley supported Aboriginal interests throughout his life, including the establishment of exclusive reserves. Fred loved Central Australia. His ashes were scattered on Ngankirritja on 17th February 1963.

Erected by Blakeley’s relatives, the Luritja and Pintubi people, the Ikuntji Community and friends in August 2003.

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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