- This event has passed.
RAHS Day Lecture – Pathfinders: A History of NSW Aboriginal Trackers, 1862-1973
August 5 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
Aboriginal trackers were an indispensable cog in the NSW justice system from 1862 to 1973. Both men and women, utilising traditional bush skills handed down from generation to generation, were employed by the police to perform a variety of tasks from pursuing and arresting bushrangers, solving murders, breaking police horses and finding lost souls in the bush. Thousands performed with distinction although only a few gained the recognition they deserved. In this talk, I will retell the life stories of several trackers including Billy Dargin (who played an instrumental role in the pursuit of Ben Hall), Mayella (a superb female tracker from Brewarrina), Whyman McLean, a tracker and missionary from southern NSW, and Alec Riley, the doyen of NSW trackers from Dubbo. And I will let listeners in on a few recently discovered secret stories from Sydney where surprisingly, trackers were employed until the 1950s.
About the speaker: Michael Bennett is a Sydney-based historian specialising in native title, oral history and Aboriginal genealogy. He recently worked in communications for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. Michael’s passion for tracker history developed when growing up in Dubbo and hearing stories about local trackers such as Alec Riley. His book Pathfinders – A History of Aboriginal trackers in NSW was recently published by NewSouth. It is also available from Abbey’s Books on York Street (next to QVB).RESERVE TICKETS