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Kempsey (3 articles)

Trial Bay

Fourteen Aboriginal men were hired in November 1887 to look for Mr Francis Scott who went missing at Trial Bay near Arakoon.  It is probable that the many of the trackers were residents of the nearby Pelican Island Aboriginal Reserve which was gazetted in 1885.  Some of the named individuals have strong cultural connections to the Kempsey district and Dunghutti...

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A General History

Early History

Since the beginning of the colony, government agencies, explorers, surveyors and members of the general public called upon the tracking abilities of Aboriginal men and women.  First Fleet officers and early land-owners sometimes made use of Aboriginal men to track and capture escaped convicts.  Alexander Berry, for example, relied on an Aboriginal man known as Broughton (or Toodwick)...

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Billy Holten

Billy Holten was born at Bellbrook on the upper Macleay River in the late 1830s. Before working as a tracker, he was well-known as a stockman and horse breaker. He was employed as a tracker for many years in the late 1800s in the Kempsey district, developing a close association with Constable Morris of Jerseyville [ref]Macleay River Historical Society Photographic...

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NSW Aboriginal Trackers

This website explores the history of Aboriginal trackers in NSW from 1862 when the current NSW Police Force was established through to 1973 when the last tracker, Norman Walford, retired.  You can read about the lives of individual trackers and some of the incredible tracking feats they performed.  There is also information about the police stations where they worked and...

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Police Stations

There were over 200 NSW police stations that employed Aboriginal trackers between 1862 and 1973.  Many were concentrated in the central-west and north-west of the state, the agricultural and pastoral heartland of NSW.  This is because one of the main jobs of trackers was to pursue sheep, cattle and horse thieves. Trackers sometimes lived in small huts out the back...

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A General History

Early History Since the beginning of the colony, government agencies, explorers, surveyors and members of the general public called upon the tracking abilities of Aboriginal men and women.  First Fleet officers and early land-owners sometimes made use of Aboriginal men to track and capture escaped convicts.  Alexander Berry, for example, relied on an Aboriginal man known as Broughton (or Toodwick)...

Learn More