Mr Ward

12 May 2011 | 00:00

Allan Clarke spoke with the grieving family of elder Mr Ward three years on from his death.

It was in 2008 that the nation first heard of Mr. Ward.

A respected elder and revered leader of his West Australian community, Mr Ward was a man who carried the knowledge of his ancestors.

He was someone who took young men out bush and taught them how to hunt and survive and sing the words of their forefathers.

All of that knowledge and culture disappeared on the 27th of January, 2008.;

His arrest in Laverton for traffic offences would ultimately lead to his death. 

At 11:30 in the morning Mr. Ward was driven to Kalgoorlie, a 360 kilometre journey.

He spent his final hours travelling through the desert in the back of a prison transport vehicle.

Temperatures climbed in the back of the van. At one point Mr.Ward collapsed on the metal floor.

When they reached Kalgoorlie at 4:30pm that afternoon, Mr. Ward was dead.

Mr Ward a large burn mark blistered across his torso, and the post mortem showed that Mr Ward had died as a result of extreme exposure to heat.


The WA Department of Public Prosecutions shocked the family when they decided not to press criminal charges. Public anger burst onto the streets and protest rallies shut down Perth's CBD.

Three years on I travelled to Perth to speak with Mr Ward's loved ones. I found a family still in mourning and seeking justice.

They will not rest until someone is made accountable for the untimely death of a respected and beloved elder.

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