James Gillis McDonald was born at Cobborah near the Talbragar River in about 1873 to Thomas McDonald and Eliza McNabb. He married Harriet Cooper at Mudgee in October 1904 and the couple had at seven children. His youngest son, Malcolm, later recalled that his father told him about tracking Jimmy and Joe Governor in 1900. James knew Jimmy and didn’t shoot him when he had the chance. Jimmy once fired a warning shot at James which struck his saddle. The children later played with the saddle when growing up in Mudgee [ref]Interview with Malcolm McDonald at Toronto, 19 April 2012.[/ref].
James McDonald was the tracker at Wollar when the Governor brothers were on the run. He lived in four room hut in the police paddock. He also worked as a tracker at Rylstone, Cobborah and Mudgee. He passed away at Mudgee in 1937 [ref]Moore and Williams 2001: 186-187.[/ref].
In the attached slideshow image James is positioned in the middle row, 3rd from left.
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...Learn More ►
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...Learn More ►
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...Learn More ►