William Buckley

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William Buckley wearing possum skin cloak



Known by Historians such as Bonwick and Barrett as Australia's Wild White Man, the real life Robinson Crusoe. Buckley was an escaped convict from the abortive penal colony at Sullivan Bay in Victoria, near sorrento in 1803. Having returned to the colony some time later to find it abandoned, proceeded to spend 32 years among the Watha wurrung people of the area now understood to be situated between Geelong, Melbourne, Lorn, and Ballarat. After meeting with Batman's colonising party in 1835, until being re-integrated into colonial society as a reformed convict in the settlement of Batmania, which became Melbourne in 1835. Buckley was employed by the colonial government as colonial liason to the Aborigines of Port Phillip and worked as a guide and translator. We understand that William Buckley continued to identify himself as Wathaurong even after he re-joined the British Empire and was living in the colony. His life can be remembered as an example of conciliation and harmony between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the Port Phillip colony.


Buckley has captured the hearts and imaginations of writers, artists and poets throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century. There have been a wealth of paintings, books, poems, and other publications exploring his history and romanticising his story. Some include Buckleys Hope by Craig Robertson, [1]Ghosting william Buckley, by Barry Hill,[2] The Adventures of Camoola[3]by Eve Johnson [4]and other more scholarly textx such as James bonwick's Wild White Man and The Blacks of Victoria [5]

A Labyrinth and a memorial in a Park at St Leonards today commemorates the meeting of John Batman's party with William Buckley in 1835.


William Buckley meets John Batman at Indented Head, Reference, The first settlers discover Buckley [picture] Woodhouse, State Library of Victoria.
The painting is after a lithograph of Buckley by Ludwig Becker, drawn for the frontispiece to a version of Buckley's story as narrated to John Morgan, State library of Victoria Image H30879.
Buckley's Cave", Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection

See also

Possum Skin Cloaks




Further Reading

Annotated Bibliography of the History of William Buckley and Colonial Indigenous Relations Pertaining to Wathaurong Mythology By Paul Michael Donovan

External links

Colonial Victoria Episode 1 (Sullivan Bay, Victoria) by PaulMichael Donovan - http://youtu.be/5zz2AZ43w5E

William Buckley as an historical figure on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/#!/ConvictHistoryWilliamBuckley

The Extraordinary Tale of William Buckley part I - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGzqHprymsY

Surfcoast Times Timeline of William buckley - http://www.surfcoastnews.com.au/William_Buckley/timelineFrameset.htm

Culture Victoria Paintings of William Buckley - http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/stories/william-buckley/1513/william-buckley-painting/

--PMDonovan 16:24, 12 September 2013 (EST)

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