Aboriginals track Ned Kelly reward

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The Independent Online
Brisbane (Reuters) - Descendants of Aboriginal trackers who helped to catch the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly in 1880 have gone to court to seek payment for his capture.

Saying their grandfathers were left to die in poverty, they lodged a writ in Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday. "These trackers, from Fraser Island [in Queensland], were used by the Victorian government to track down Ned Kelly in 1880, and were promised pounds 50 each," a spokesman for Queensland's attorney-general said. "But the descendants now claim the trackers were never paid, and are suing the Victorian government for non-payment and the Queensland government for not pursuing their salaries."

Descendants of two of the trackers want a share of the pounds 8,000 reward paid for the capture of Kelly - plus 116 years' interest. The Fraser Island Aboriginal Land Council claims this could amount to A$40m (pounds 20m) for each tracker.

A spokeswoman for Victoria's attorney-general said a writ seeking damages from the Victorian government was first lodged in late 1994. But the government threw out the claim, saying the trackers' wages had been paid.

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