Hasty’s Grave

Hasty’s Grave

This grateful country cherishes the fine courageous band
Who pioneered the wilderness, and founded our great land
And so it is appropriate that the name of one so brave
Be printed on our outback maps, marked simply ‘Hasty’s Grave’

And for those who wished to go there, and find the grave, perhaps
Longitude and latitude are listed on the maps
With Youanmi to the Eastwards, and Mt Magnet North of West,
Out there beyond the vermin fence, is where he’s laid to rest

Its a lonely and scheduled spot, where roos and emus roam
Where man is hardly ever seen, and the dingo makes its home.
Through this rugged country, in eighteen fifty four
Austin and his party had set out to explore

And had overcome the dangers, the heartache and dispair
Could this be one of Austin’s men, who died and now lays there?
For want of better knowledge, and to put a mind at rest
A search produced this answer, that no one could have guessed

For probing and researching along an erratic course
Reveals to us that Hasty, was Austin’s favorite horse!
By what perculiar circumstances did the mappers long ago
Raise Hasty to glory that fe mortalsd never know

A gesture that true horse lovers will solidly commend
Why not salute a gallant horse – clearly ‘mans best friend’.
by S Hopkinson ‘Hoppy’

From the diary of Robert Austin (Explorer) on his expedition to the Eastern Interior of WA:-

Robert Austin, Explorer

Aug 28 1854 – Getting the horses together early this morning, we resumed our journey towards the camp. At 10am, 6 miles from the camp, I left Lightfoot, Jailor and Hasty, on a patch of grass near pools of water that had been formed since we passed here before, to which I determined to shift the camp in the afternoon. On reaching the camp I found seven of my strongest horses lying dead, namely Joker, Snake, Yussif, Blackbird, Simon, Barber and Punch, and the other horses in a very precarious way namely; Vinden, Billy, Button, Cecer and Darkie, the latter horse especially was evidently on his last legs.
R Buck was feeding the sick horses with gruel and J Edwards was in charge of the camp. Mr Thomas Whitfield was away with Narryer, rat hunting, and did not return till 2pm. He reported having used 20 pounds of flour in making gruel for the horses. Poor Punch got lock jaw and had to be shot.
Under these circumstances it was necessary to leave much of the equipment behind. The remaining horses were too weak to travel far so he pushed on without resting to Recruit Flats, 40 miles distance, he set out three parties in search of grass. Once found the men would turn up the bushes so that the horses could get at the grass that has grown up under them. This was done constantly over the coming weeks, so desperate for the lack of feed for the horses.
A patch of green grass at Farmers Flats was found 10 miles east and all the horses were moved there excepting Hasty and Lightfoot, neither of which could travel. On the 31st August, Austin returned to find Hasty in a hopeless state and he had to shoot him. Hasty is referred to in Austin’s diary as ‘ a well bread and spirited horse’
Hasty’s Grave is marked on maps to this day. It pays tribute not only to this fine horse, but to this noble equine companion, which was never far from man and his achievements in those early days.

If you would like to know more about the expedition:-

The Finest Goldfields in the World   –   The Austin Expedition to the Murchison in 1854

Edited by Peter J Bridge, Kim Epton, Marion Hercock and Sheryl Milentis, with the members of the Western Australian Explorers’ Diaries Project, and with an introduction by Professor J.M.R. Cameron.

ISBN 978-0-85905-018-0, (2009 new), casebound, dust jacketed, 240pp, illustrated, 610 grams

Published in association with Mark G. Creasy.

In 1854 Robert Austin led an expedition east and then north to the Murchison River. Disasters from a gun accident, poison plants, and thirst assailed them. After many tribulations they reached the Geraldine Mine on the Lower Murchison over two months later. Their exploration inspired others to prospect the desert for both grass and gold, culminating in the opening of the area in the 1880s, and the finding of rich goldfields. More than 150 years after his difficult and perilous journey Austin is now placed among the premier explorers of the Australian outback.

Contains the 1855 journal, republished for the first time, colour plates by the expedition artist that have remained unknown for over 150 years, new lithographs and new information on the artists – with a few surprises. Also has appendices on Austin’s Sharks Bay expedition, lists of subscribers to the expedition, biographical notes on all associated with the expedition, including the Aboriginal assistants, correspondence between Austin and John Forrest documenting Austin’s 1854 discovery of gold, and details of the flora and fauna seen on the expedition by Alex George and Ian Abbott. Also reprinted is the rarely seen paper by Roth on Austin’s reminiscences of the South West Aboriginals.

Austin’s map is included in a rear pocket.

A magnificent addition to the exploration literature of Australia.

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My name is Moya Sharp, I live in Kalgoorlie Western Australia and have worked most of my adult life in the history/museum industry. I have been passionate about history for as long as I can remember and in particular the history of my adopted home the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. Through my website I am committed to providing as many records and photographs free to any one who is interested in the family and local history of the region.

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