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Whyman McLean View the Map

Whyman McLean, the son of Archibald McLean and an Aboriginal woman known only as Louisa, was born at Morago near the Werai Forest in about 1860.  There were many knowledgeable Aboriginal men in the district and it is likely that Whyman learned tracking skills from them when growing up.[ref]See The Memoirs of H.M. Eastman held by the Central Murray Regional Library, Deniliquin[/ref]

As a young man, Whyman moved to the Maloga Mission on the Murray River run by Daniel Matthews.  A fine singer and strong orator, he worked for many years as an Aboriginal missionary on Malaga, travelling as far as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to preach and raise money for Matthews.[ref]See Mister Maloga: Daniel Matthews and his Maloga Mission by Nancy Cato, 1976, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane[/ref]

After spending time at Warangesda Mission on the Murrumbidgee River in the early 1890s, Whyman took the role of tracker at Tumbarumba in February 1897.  He conducted several investigations into haystack burnings, sometimes giving evidence of how he tracked the perpetrator from the scene. [ref]SeeWagga Wagga Express 28 March 1899: 4; Albury Banner and Wodonga Express 31 March 1899: 24; NSW Police Gazette  5 April 1899[/ref]  After five years he transferred to Wagga Wagga where he continued to work on similar cases.   On several occasions he was called on to retrieve the bodies of drowning victims from the Murrumbidgee River and nearby waterways. [ref]See Sydney Morning Herald 25 Feb 1918: 8; Border Morning Mail and Riverina Times 13 February 1918[/ref] After working as a tracker for almost twenty years, Whyman McLean fell ill in December 1926 and was taken to Callan Park Hospital in Sydney where he passed away two days before Christmas.[ref]Death Certificate of Whyman McLean 1926/021673[/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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