Halls Creek is proud of the many people who have contributed to its development. Some of the better known include Russian Jack, Postmaster Tuckett, Jack Jugarie and Ernie Bridge.
In 1886 'Russian Jack' (Ivan Fredericks) pushed a heavily laden hand-made wheelbarrow as he made his way from Derby to Halls Creek across country to reach the gold fields. With about 30km to go, he met an exhausted fellow prospector. He unselfishly put that man’s load on the barrow and together they pushed on to reach the goldfield. Legend has it that Russian Jack also once pushed a sick mate a great distance in his barrow so he could receive medical attention.
The endurance and mateship of Russian Jack is commemorated in a monument in the park outside the Visitors Centre erected by the Shire of Halls Creek in 1979 to honour his remarkable feat. It can be found in the park adjacent to the Council offices on the Great Northern Highway. Some years ago there was also a wheel-barrow race from Old Halls Creek to the 'new town' to honour the feat of Russian Jack.
The establishment of the Royal Flying Doctor Service was inspired, at least in part, by events that occurred in Halls Creek. In 1917 the postmaster F.W. Tuckett found himself in the unenviable position of having no choice but to perform surgery on an injured stockman named Jimmy Darcy. He operated successfully, not once but twice, using only a pocket knife and brief instructions from a Dr Holland transmitted via morse code along the telegraph line from Perth.
Holland then set out on a 14-day journey to reach Halls Creek only to find Darcy had died the day before he got there due to an unrelated bout of malaria. These events are believed to have influenced John Flynn's decision to establish the RFDS. The RFDS continues to be an integral part of the health service provision in the region.
Jugarie was a well-respected Jaru Elder. In his life he had worked as a Police Tracker, an orderly at the Fitzroy Crossing Hospital and as an Aboriginal Police Aide. In 1997, at over 70 years of age, Jack took part in the 350km 'Human Race' across country from Halls Creek to Wyndham. He competed against two much younger competitors. Jack used only the stars and his knowledge of country to navigate and find food and water along his way. Jack's feats are commemorated in a statue in the park outside the Visitors centre and at the Trackers Hut.
Ernie Bridge hails for a prominent Halls Creek pastoral family. He served as a Shire President in the Shire of Halls Creek as well as being a successful country music recording artist. In 1980 he was elected to represent the state seat of Kimberley in the Western Australian Parliament. He was WA’s first ever Aboriginal Member of Parliament. In 1986 he became the first Aboriginal person to become a state Cabinet Minister. Ernie served both as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and as Minister for Agriculture.
He is the President of the Watering Australia Foundation, a non-profit organisation established in 1995 and continues to champion water supply needs. In 1997 he also established the Unity of First People of Australia, a non-profit organisation dedicated to assisting Aboriginal people and communities with the establishment of employment-creating enterprises and roles for indigenous people in the key areas of law and order, education and health.
In 2003 he received the Centenary of Federation Medal for his service to Parliament and Aboriginal Affairs and in 2004 he won the Western Australian Citizen of the Year Award in the category of Governor’s Award for Regional Development. Since retiring from Parliament in 2001 Mr Bridge has continued to pursue business interests through the Watering Australia Foundation and the Unity of First People of Australia. He recently was the winner of the 2010 NAIDOC Perth “Elder of the Year Male”.