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-33.4485, (61 articles)

Byrock Police Station

Trackers were employed at Byrock Police Station from 1884 to at least 1938.  The career of the first Byrock tracker, Jack Todhunter, was tragically short.  He contracted typhoid fever two months after starting the job.  He was transferred to Dubbo Hospital when his condition deteriorated and he passed away there on 10 March 1885.  Little is known about Todhunter.  He...

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Fred Briggs

Fred Briggs, a Gumbaynggirr man, was born at Farquarhar’s Creek near Nymboida in about 1866 to Thomas Briggs and Mary.  His tracking prowess came to prominence when he found Edward Blaxland, his employer, in mountainous country on Marengo Station in the mid-1880s.  Briggs was working as a stockman at the time.  His first official employment as tracker was at Blicks...

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Peter Hogan

Peter Hogan was born in the New England district of New South Wales, probably in the 1840s.  He later travelled to the Darling Downs in Queensland where he was baptized.  After returning to New South Wales he worked as a tracker for the police from 1864 to 1866 and was involved in the pursuit of Ben Hall’s gang of bush...

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Tommy Ryan

Tommy Ryan, a noted Aboriginal stockman on the Upper Clarence between Grafton and Yulgilbar, was born in about 1860.  It is likely that he was a Bundjalung speaker.  He never worked as a tracker , but his run-ins with police meant that several trackers were sent after him. His story is significant because of his ability to repeatedly escape custody....

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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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Ngarigu

The Ngarigu (also Ngarigo) language was spoken on the Monaro Plains in southern NSW at places such as Delegate, Bombala and Jindabyne.  It is closely related to languages spoken in the Canberra district and others on the south coast of NSW.  Some surviving speakers settled on the Aboriginal Reserve at Delegate in the late 19th century before moving to the...

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Billy Nicholls

Billy Nicholls was born at Tabulam in about 1869, possibly to Billy Nicholls Senior who was a gold miner in the Tabulam district and an Aboriginal woman named Ellen Walker.  Billy started as the tracker at Copmanhurst on the Clarence River in September 1908 replacing Carty Cregg.  Previously, Billy had worked as a stockman for George Barnier at Moleville (12km...

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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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Jambie Lawson

Jambie Lawson (also known as Jemmy, John or Jack) was born at Croagingalong in eastern Gippsland in about 1850 to Wothango and Loah.  He was an important informant to ethnographer A.W. Howitt about Maap people who he said occupied the territory to the east of the Snowy River and as far as the Victorian coast.  He may have attended the initiation...

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Charlie Hammond

Charlie Hammond, son of Charlie Hammond Snr and Maria, was born on Wiradjuri country at Goolagong near Forbes in the 1870s.  He was the tracker at Dubbo in 1902 and 1903.  In May 1903 he helped arrest a man suspected of burning down a shed at Spicer's Creek to the east of Dubbo.  The suspect's boots matched the prints at...

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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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