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Walgett (8 articles)

Walgett Police Station

Trackers were employed at Walgett for over 100 years.  One of the earliest trackers was Jackey Bundah who in 1877 pursued and captured his brother-in-law Charley Combo.  He was severely beaten by other local Aboriginal men for his breach of customary law.  There were many other trackers with traditional ties to the district including Tom Hickey (born Walgett 1878) who was...

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Alexander Ward

Alexander Ward (also known as Alexander King) was born at Bingebah Station on the western fringe of the Pilliga Scrub on 5 September 1887.  He was the son of William King, an Aboriginal stockman born at Coonamble, and Jane Ward of Windsor in western Sydney.  He married Stella Duncan of Coonamble at Burra Bee Dee Aboriginal Station in July 1916. ...

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Jack Simpson

Jack "Smart Gui" Simpson was born along the Barwon River between Boorooma and Brewarrina in about 1880. Little is known about his parents, Jack Simpson Snr and Louisa Khan. Louisa is thought to have moved to Orange where she passed away. Jack told stories to his family of tracking Jimmy and Joe Governor in 1900 after the Breelong massacre near...

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Jack Cave

Jack Cave was born in Wiradjuri country in the Bathurst district in about 1865.  He grew up on local properties and learned the skills of a horse breaker.  Around the turn of the century he moved to the Walgett district and took up the job of tracker at Mogil Mogil in 1900.  He was later the tracker at Glencoe from 1904 to...

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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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Norman Walford

Norman Walford, the last officially employed tracker in NSW, retired from the NSW Police on 3 May 1973 after a career of 25 years.  He is well-remembered in Walgett today – there is a walkway in his honour along the edge of the Namoi River – and his wife, Mrs Gladys Walford (nee Kennedy) lives in town.  And many Aboriginal...

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Jackey Bundah

Jackey Bundah worked as a tracker at Walgett in the late 1870s and early 1880s.  “Bundah” means kangaroo in Gamilaraay and it is possible that this was his totem.  In early 1877, he assisted in the recapture of Charley Combo, his brother-in-law, who had escaped from Walgett Gaol and was wanted for assault.  After Combo was returned to gaol, two...

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Ngiyampaa

The Ngiyampaa language (comprised of two dialects, Wayilwan and Wangaaypuwan) was spoken across a wide area of central NSW including long segments of the upper Macquarie and Bogan Rivers, along the southern bank of Barwon River west of Walgett and the arid area to the south-west of Cobar.  It was closely related to the Wiradjuri, Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay languages to the...

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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