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Mount (15 articles)

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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Mount McDonald

The Police Station at Mount McDonald near Cowra was staffed by trackers from 1883 to 1886 and probably earlier.  Part of the Milburn Creek Gold Field, trackers played an important role in guarding the gold escort, a coach which traveled to Carcoar and sometimes Blayney carrying the miner's finds.  The tracker accompanied the escort and stayed overnight before returning to...

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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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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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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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Tracker Jack Patten

This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the team at Koori History.  See the original article written by John T. Patten at https://koorihistory.com/tracker-patten/   John James Patten, known as Jack Patten, was born in the Snowy Mountains of Victoria at Corryong in 1874. He was the eldest son of John Patten, a man for whom there is...

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Tommy Pearce

Working at Mount McDonald from June 1882 until the end of 1884, Tommy Pearce’s career is unusual in that it provides evidence that trackers sometime took a holiday.  On Friday 27 April 1883, he passed through Carcoar “en route” to Dubbo for a “leave of absence”.  The purpose of his trip or why the destination was Dubbo – perhaps he...

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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 Dargin

Billy Dargin was born on the Bogan River in about 1843.  Nothing is known about his parents, but it was recorded at the time of his death in 1865 that he obtained his surname through working for Peter Dargin, a squatter who owned land in the Bathurst district and further west.  Dargin is common Aboriginal surname from the Bogan River...

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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