There is growing realisation about the variety of records that reveal details of NSW Aboriginal lives in the 19th century, including those in our Collection.
Historian Michael Bennett will be speaking about the hundreds of men and potentially more than a few women who worked as trackers for the police, performing a variety of tasks from pursuing criminals to caring for police horses and gruesomely, retrieving drowned bodies from rivers and creeks. Their lives and careers are revealed from police records including salary registers and diaries of duties and occurrences. Tragically, personal details of Aboriginal people are found in gaol records including photograph description books which often record the only depictions of Aboriginal people born in the early 19th century. At a time when efforts are underway to understand the complex and heartbreaking history of Aboriginal interactions with law enforcement, Michael will highlight records that Aboriginal people can access to discover more about their own family history on the colonial frontier.