William Buckley

Born: c1780 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England.
Arrived Port Philip, N.S.W. in October 1803.
Vessel: Calcutta.
Status: Convict.

Married:  Julia Eagers on the 28 January 1840 at New Town.
Died: c1856 in Horbart Town, Tasmania.
Buried: c1856 in Horbart Town, Tasmania.

Mother :

Prior to the Macquarie era, William Buckley as born in Chesire, England in 1780. He became an apprenticed bricklayer at age 15 and at 19 years of age he joined the Cheshire Militia. By this time, William was approximately 6'6'' tall and eventually joined the King's Own Regiment of Foot. He fought the French in Holland, was wounded and repatriated back to England.

Whilst on furlough in England he was caught in possion of stolen property, thought to be cloth. He was convicted of receiving stolen property and sentenced to imprisonment on the 2 August, 1802. He was 20 years of age.

The British authorities, intending to establish a penal settlement to prevent French occupation, ordered William and 299 other convicts  to be transported on the Ocean to the Port Phillip region of N.S.W.  The settlement was established at Sullivan's Bay by Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins in  1803 but was subsequently abandoned in January 1804 because of lack of fresh water.

William, together with four other convicts, escaped  from the settlement on the 27 December 1803.  The other four convicts  disappeared and were never heard from again whilst William lived amoungest the local natives in what is now the Geelong area for the next 32 years.

Therefore, prior to, during and after the Macquarie era William Buckley was living amoungst the local natives from 1803 to 1835. He was rescued by William Todd, James Gumm and Alexander Thomas, members of John Batman's Port Phillip Association party investigating the area with a view to future settlement in the Port Phillip District. News of William's rescue was conveyed  to Sir George Arthur, Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land. Sir George, on hearing William's story granted him, on the 28 August 1835, an
immediate pardon.

Following his rescue William found employment, firstly with Joseph Tice Gellibrand as an interpreter and superintendent over native tribes and then with  Captain Lonsdale of the King's Own Regiment of Foot, William's old corps, as interpreter  and  conciliator.When  Governor Sir Richard Bourke arrived from New South Wales, William acted as his guide on trips to the interior. After a period of 15 months with Captain Lonsdale, William resigned and left Melbourne on the 28th December 1837 for Van Diemen's Land.

In Van Diemen's  Land he was introduced to  Sir  Sir  John  and Lady  Franklin. Sir John was the Lieutenant-Governor and was able to arrangement for William as assistant storekeeper at the Immigrants' Home, Hobart Town. He was there for three months ans was later transferred, as gatekeeper, to the Female Factory. About this time, one of William's friends was killed by natives on an overland trip from Sydney to Port Phillip. The widow, Mrs Julia Eagers was left unprovided for so William proposed marriage and was accepted.

William and Mrs Julia Eagers were married on the 28th January 1840. In 1850 he was pensioned off his job at 12 pound per annum and in 1852 the Victorian Government gave him a further pension of 40 pound per annum. William lived the remaining few years of his life in peace and comfort. He died in Hobart Town, aged 76 years, in 1856.

John Morgan, "The Life and Adventures of William Buckley".
Kevin Hayden, "Wild White Man".
"The White Blackfellow, The True Story of William Buckley", The Site Gazette, Volume 18 Number 4, Summer 2012, publication of the Friends of the First Government House Site (Inc.).


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