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Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The memorial commemorates the aboriginal tracker, Windiitj (Tommy Windich c1840 - 1876).  It was erected as his grave is on Port Authority land and is inaccessible to the public

Tommy Windich was closely associated with the expeditions of the Forrest brothers, John in 1869, 1870 and 1874 and Alexander, in 1871. A Nyungar man from near Mount Stirling, he was a fine horseman and expert in bushcraft. Ironically, his expertise assisted the European penetration of his land, so his career symbolises those Aboriginal people who adapted their lives to the ways of the newcomers. When he died at Esperance in 1876, while acting as a guide for the overland telegraph construction, John Forrest erected an engraved headstone to his memory.

The following telegram, from Mr. Fleming, Superintendent of Telegraphs, has been received by Mr. John Forrest from Albany: — "Poor Tommy Windich died at Esperance Bay three weeks ago." Mr. Forrest, in communicating ths above intelligence to us, thus expresses himself in reference to his old bush companion: - 'This faithful and intelligent native has passed away, still in the field of exploration, as he has been for so many years. He was still quite a young man, and has been intimately connected with every exploration in this colony for the last 10 or 12 years. He accompanied Mr. Hunt, Mr. Alexander Forrest, and myself. Twice he crossed with me from this city (Perth) to Adelaide, and took a very prominent part in those expeditions. He possessed great knowledge of the interior, and I feel sure was the most experienced and best bushman in the colony. He has died far away from his own home and from his friends, for his name is almost a household word in this colony. I will take steps to have the spot where he is buried fenced in and marked. To, me who has had him for my only companion on so many trying occasions, the tidings of Tommy's death is especially sad, and I feel that I have lost an old and well-tried companion and friend.'
The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth), 15th March 1876.



Address:The Esplanade, Port Authority Park, Esperance, 6450
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.869167
Long: 121.892778
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

Erected by John and Alexander Forrest

In memory of Tommy WIidich.

Born near Mt. Stirling 1840
Died at Esperance Bay 1876.

He was an aboriginal of Western Australia of great intelligence and fidelity who accompanied them on exploring expeditions into the interior of Australia - two of which were from Perth to Adelaide.

"Be ye also ready"

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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