Sam Bell was born at Hay in the late 1860s. Oral history suggests that he survived a massacre at Hay and later moved to Coonamble where he was employed as the tracker in 1889. Three years later he married Annie Duncan of nearby Bullarora Station. The couple had eight children, including May Bell who was born at Coonamble in circa 1894. She married Jack Pearce, a boundary rider born at Gongolgon, at Brewarrina in 1915 and her father is identified as a tracker on the marriage certificate [ref]MC 1915/14910.[/ref]. Bell was still the Coonamble tracker in 1900 when he was called to Breelong to pursue Jimmy and Joe Governor [ref]Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative 23 July 1900: 2.[/ref]. The duration of his involvement in the chase is unknown. Suffering from convulsions, he was taken to Parramatta Hospital where he passed away on 25 September 1907. He was buried the following day in Rookwood Cemetery [ref]DC of Sam Bell 1907/010698.[/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 ►