Following the introduction of legislation in the mid-1870s, Aboriginal people were able to give evidence in NSW courts and trackers, perhaps more than other members of the indigenous community, were called upon to take the stand. At Tamworth on 14 February 1894, Joseph Bellilla testified at the committal hearing of Patrick Kennedy charged with stealing rations from the dwelling of William Lyne. Constable Gardiner was the first witness and he asserted that rations were found in the house of the accused. Bellilla corroborated his colleague’s testimony and Kennedy was committed to stand trial at Tamworth Circuit Court. A well-travelled tracker, Bellilla had previously worked at Wagga in 1885 and Howes Valley (near Singleton) from August 1889 to May 1890 [ref]The Tamworth News 20 February 1894: 2; Police Salary Register 1885 SR 11/16335 Reel 1970; 1889-1890 SR 11/16335 Reel 1970.[/ref].
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 ►