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Trial (5 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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Joseph Bellilla

Following the introduction of legislation in the mid-1870s, Aboriginal people were able to give evidence in NSW courts and trackers, perhaps more than other members of the indigenous community, were called upon to take the stand.  At Tamworth on 14 February 1894, Joseph Bellilla testified at the committal hearing of Patrick Kennedy charged with stealing rations from the dwelling of...

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John Watkins

A distinguished tracker, John Watkins (nick-named Sir Watkin Wynne), was born about 1830, probably in Wiradjuri country between Bathurst and Forbes [ref]Sydney Morning Herald 9 August 1887: 8.  I have inferred the broad area of Watkin’s birth place from the area where he is first mentioned in the historical record and the area to which he returned after retiring from...

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Molong Police Station

Molong Police Station An early tracker who worked at Molong was Peter Hogan, an Aboriginal man from the New England district.  Hogan was on patrol with Senior Constable Herbert and Constables Ambrose and Cook near Molong in March 1865 in pursuit of bushrangers.  Hogan and Cook were put in charge of the horses one night after camp was made on...

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Parkes Police Station

Trackers were employed at Parkes from as early as 1875 when two were sent to a nearby property to search for a lost boy.  They returned five days later without success [ref]Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser 2 October 1875: 425.[/ref]. The names of the trackers who worked from 1883 to 1886 are known.  Alfred was the tracker in...

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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)...

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