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-33.4485, (66 articles)

Sam Hall

Sam Hall (also known as Sam Hull) was born in Gowen County (between Gilgandra and Coonabarabran) in about 1845.  Little is known about his life personally or professionally.  It is likely he was a tracker in the Coonamble district although his name is yet to be found in official records.  In later years, he lived on the Aboriginal reserve at...

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Taree

The attached photograph was kindly provided by Matt Howard whose grandfather was a policeman at Taree in the early 1900s.  The inscription tentatively identifies the subject as George and dates the photograph to approximately 1912.  According to official records, trackers were not employed at Taree in 1912 or at any time in the 20th century.  Pathfinders invites members of the...

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Monty Tickle

Information about Monty Tickle’s origins are sketchy, but according to his death certificate he was born in about 1900 at Cloncurry, Queensland, to Friday Tickle and Topsy.  It is not known when he came to NSW, but by 1921 he was the tracker at Orange in the central-west of NSW.  In August of that year he investigated the illegal slaughter...

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Henry Cleveland

Henry Cleveland (also known as Harry) was born at Cleveland Bay near Townsville in about 1864.  He knew little of his mother (she may have passed away when he was an infant), but probably lived for several years with his father, brother and sister.  From a young age, Henry was adopted by a white family who took him to Adelaide. ...

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Mount Boppy

Mount Boppy probably has the record for the shortest tenure of a tracker in NSW.  A small gold-mining settlement 50 kilometres east of Cobar in Ngiyampaa country, a tracker was based at Mount Boppy for only the month of January 1904.  Known only as Jack, he had previously served as the tracker at Cobar and then moved on to Mount...

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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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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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