Frank Williams was born in 1881 on the Warrego River on what was both Samuel McCaughey's Toorale Station and his mother’s traditional Ngemba tribal land. His English father worked on a station near Mount Gundabooka. His mother Fanny taught him the survival skills that had enabled his people to master the harsh country beyond the Darling over thousands of years.
At 15 years old Frank had the expertise to read tracks in every environment; a snapped twig, a bent grass stalk, even an injured ant could be read as part of a story. It could tell the weight and sex of the quarry; whether they were carrying a load on the right or left shoulder or perhaps their physical condition.
Frank began tracking for the Police at Mt. Drysdale near Cobar about this time, and spent the next 17 years working for rations. He was following an honourable tradition of men who had already served the Bourke region well.
It seems that Frank’s integrity eventually brought him standing in both the white community and among the Ngemba people. The sacrifices he made isolated his family to some degree from their Aboriginal heritage, but at the same time he built a strong platform for them by the way he lived his life.
When Sir John pinned the Imperial Service Order on Frank Williams, it was a case of two honourable men meeting face to face.
In a matter of years, his grandson Percy Hobson was to distinguish himself as a world class athlete. Sgt. Frank Williams was honoured with a Police funeral when he died in 1955.
For more information please contact the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre
Kidman Way, Bourke NSW 2840
02 6872 1321