RSS Feed

Tag Archives: coen

The last blacktracker

Posted on

(My use of the word ‘blacktracker’ instead of ‘Aboriginal Police Tracker’ may be politically incorrect in 2014, but it is part of our vernacular and as I am using it with respectful intent I don’t give a rat’s arse.)

 

74646
Australia cannot claim much moral high ground over America or South Africa when it comes to the past treatment of people of colour.

Until the 1960’s Australian aborigines had no voting rites, the National census classified them as ‘fauna’ and many were forced to live in shanty settlements on the outskirts of our towns.

This is the reality of the country in which I was raised, yet ‘white Australia’ still grabbed every opportunity to bask in the glory of those aboriginals who excelled despite their ethnic subjugation.

On one hand we lauded the exceptional achievements of Albert Namatjira (artist),  Kath Walker (poet),  Doug Nicholls (Pastor and Governor,) and Lionel Rose (boxer), whilst with the other we abducted aboriginal children from their parents.

Blacktrackers have always been an under-appreciated part of our history.

For more than 100 years they have been employed in remote locations to work alongside European police officers, using their unique tracking skills and knowledge of ‘country’ to locate fugitives and lost travelers. In places far away from ambulances and Forensic Crash Units they were also called upon to assist with first response services and investigation of motor vehicle accidents.

Barry Post, age 72, (pictured above) retired last week at Coen, a remote township on Cape York Peninsula.   He was Australia’s last blacktracker, an occupation made redundant by satellite imagery, GPS and mobile phones.

Blacktrackers served Australia with distinction (and inferior employment conditions) and they should never be forgotten.

********************************************************