William Buckley

(previous ... Dispute Over Melbourne)

As the dispute over Melbourne continued, an incident happened that favoured John Batman's party in no small degree. The men who were still left at Indented Head were surprised one morning to see an extremely tall figure advancing towards them. His hair was thickly matted, his skin was brown (not black), he was almost naked and carried the ordinary arms of the aborigines. This was William Buckley, the only survivor of the three convicts who had escaped Governor David Collin's expedition. He had lived for 32 years among the natives, sometimes joining them in their camps, but more frequently living by himself in a cave near Queenscliff. He had many strange adventures during this long time, but had not the smallest influence for good upon the natives. He was content to sink to their level and lead the purely animal life they led. But when he heard from them that there was a party of whites on Indented Head who the Geelong tribes proposed to murder, he crossed to warn them of their danger. Batman's party clothed him and treated him well and for a time he acted as interpreter, smoothing over many of the difficulties that arose with the natives. This proved invaluable in making the building of the settlement much less difficult than it might have been.

(continues ... New Settlement at Port Phillip)

 

History of Australia