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Jack Cook View the Map

Jack Cook and family

Jack Cook was born at Gloucester in Worimi country in about 1838 and grew up to be a talented stockman.  As a young man, he handled horses for Thunderbolt the bushranger.  He was later employed as a tracker, but did not actively pursue Thunderbolt whose partner was an Aboriginal woman named Mary Ann Bugg who also came from the Gloucester district.  [ref]Interview with Robert Syron, 15 October 2014; Gloucester Advocate 18 August 1925: 2.[/ref]

Jack was also peripherally involved in the search for Jimmy and Joe Governor after they murdered members of the Mawbey family at Breelong (near Gilgandra) in July 1900.  As the brothers approached the Gloucester district for the second time in late October 1900, Cook was called in by a settler to investigate a supposed sighting near Craven Creek.  Cook followed the tracks of two bare-footed men heading in a westerly direction towards Little Manning but lost them in the scrub.  Although both brothers were in the area, the sighting was spurious and the police did not investigate further. [ref]Scone Advocate 26 October 1900: 2.[/ref]

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...

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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

Pathfinders book Pathfinders, A history of Aboriginal trackers in NSW, written by Dr Michael Bennett and published by NewSouth, is now available from all good bookstores. Click on the link below to order your copy. https://www.abbeys.com.au/book/pathfinders-a-history-of-aboriginal-trackers-in-nsw.do Early History Since the beginning of the colony, government agencies, explorers, surveyors and members of the general public called upon the tracking...

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