Mick Leahy

Michael James Leahy (1901-1979), Australian gold prospector, explorer and farmer. Leahy was born in Toowoomba, Queensland, and educated at the Christian Brothers’ College there. After working as a clerk and a sugar cane cutter he left Queensland at the age of 25 to join the Edie Creek gold rush in the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea. In 1930 he and a fellow prospector sought gold at the headwaters of the Ramu River, walked through the eastern highlands and rafted down the Purari River to the Papuan coast. In 1931 he and his elder brother Patrick explored and prospected Kukukuku country in Morobe. In 1933 he and his younger brother Daniel joined a patrol led by an Administration officer James Taylor to become the first Europeans to enter the western highlands and reach Mt Hagen. In 1934 Michael and Daniel explored further west. Michael served with the RAAF during World War II and after the war became a grazier and farmer in what is now Morobe Province where he had numerous land rights disputes with the villagers. He was opposed to secondary and tertiary education of PNGans, self-government and Independence. Leahy’s publications include Explorations into Highland New Guinea 1930-35 and (with Maurice Crain) The Land That Time Forgot.

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