Spotlight: The Death of Sir Watkin Wynne (19/08/1887)

Sir Watkin Wynne was the name commonly used to refer to Aboriginal tracker John Watkins. Watkins was involved in the hunt for the Clarke brothers and was present at their capture. During that final shootout he was badly injured by a bullet (supposed to have been fired by Johnny Clarke) that zig-zagged up his right forearm from the wrist. The arm was later amputated due to the severity of the wound. This was the last bit of policing Watkins was involved with.

The following is a news report on his death, which was reprinted in several papers verbatim. As Watkins was Aboriginal, it seems that there was very little interest in reporting on his passing.

Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser (NSW : 1856 – 1861; 1863 – 1889; 1891 – 1954), Friday 19 August 1887, page 3

Epitome of News.

An old aboriginal identity known as “Sir Watkin,” died in the Forbes hospital a few days ago. “Sir Watkin” was a tracker connected with the police force in the old bushranging days, and was engaged in the capture of the notorious Clarke gang. It was on that occasion that he was shot in the arm, and which necessitated amputation. Since that time he has been in receipt of a small pension from the Government, which was paid regularly up to the time of his death.

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