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Buckley, Wild White Man, Lived with Blacks

Amazing Adventures of Australia's Own Crusoe

be found himself in serious trouble on a charge of having received stolen property. He was tried at the Chatham Assise, found guilty, and sentenoed to imprisonment in the hulks. For six months he was put to work with the convict gangs engaged upon the fortifications at Woolwich. He was then transported to Australia on board the prison ship Calcutta. The officer in charge of the Cal cutt, and her sister ship, Ocean, was Lieutenant Colonel Collins, of the Royal Marines. His instructions were to establish a convict settlement on the south-east coast of New Holland, as Australia was then known. The voyage was rough and protracted, as voyages in the early days usually were; but eventually the little expedi tion entered Port Phillip Heads, and

found a moorage at daybreak o* October 9 in the year 1803. After some investigation it was de cided to establish the settlement at m spot known as Sullivan Bay, very closa to Sorrento. The expedition accord ingiy disembarked at Sullivan Bay on October 17, and the first of tht "Orders" issued by Collins bears that date. On October 35, being the King's birthday, the British flag was hoisted over the tiny settlement and a little salvo of musketry celebrated the Royal occasion. He Resolves to Escape A PPOINTED Governor's servant William Buckley was in a much-envied

YOU remember how Rome was once saved from the in-<*> vader by the alarmed cack-<*> ling of geese on the Capitol, these

r^?«?«« — — — —-^ THIS is the first article of a < ■ fine series from the pen of # I the Australian author, BER-' INARD CRONIN, who de-J j scribes in thrilling: manner { | the exploits and adventures * ?of Australian pioneers and* J explorers, recalling vividly \ I the distant days when this J \ great island continent of ours * \ was a land of mystery and' t little more than a blank on \ \ the map. \

then, and the little family, we are told, subsisted principally upon oat- meal. In spite of this meagre fare, William Buckley grew enormously. He had barely entered his 'teens when he was apprenticed to a bricklayer, But very little of this kind of work satisfied him. for his was an adven- turous disposition. At the age of 16. in spite of his father's objections, he enlisted in the Cheshire militia. Since, in those days, the worth of a soldier was judged by

birds being thereafter highly revered by a superstitious popu lace. And so it was that a trividfetlon ujjon the part of William BuoPF the Robinson Crusoe of Australia, was the ■leans of saving his life. One day, on the point of exhaustion, following several weeks of seml-atarva tkm, Buckley was crawling rather than walking through the bush when he came upon a mound of earth from which projected a spear. With no Other thought in his mind than to provide himself with some support on his travels, Buckley pulled the •pear from the grave and used it as a walking stick. The spear, as we ffcaU see. preserved him for one of the strangest odyssies ever recounted. He Joins the Redcoats KNOWN as the Wild White Man, William Buckley was born of poor parents, at MaclesfieW, Cheshire, Eng land. Be had a sister and two bro-

•JHE importance of create w only to be jadged by their ultimate eonte- J quenees. The apparently triTial fat Hfe has of tern been fovnd —hae qaently to have had mi enormous inflnenee for good and ill.

his physical rather than his mental qualities, William Buckley must have proved a great prize. His height and his strength were enormous. He seems, however, not to have been very intelligent. However eventually coming into the King's own regiment, he went to the wars ln Holland, where he was wounded in the hand. On his re turn to England he became idle and dissolute, and bore rather a bad char acter. It was not very long before

irHh It many little favours which the convicts in general were not permitted. Buckley's experience of bricklaying gained him employment in the erection of the first building—* magazine and storehouse. His old dislike for the work, how ever, came to the fore after about three months, and he grew very dis contented. He resolved if possible to escape, in spite of the fact that the records of the settlement disclosed that apparently only two possible end ings met an escapee—death in the wilderness or a miserable return. There was also the risk of being shot by the sentries when in the act of escaping. Buckley, however, had all the obstinacy of the weak-minded, and he was not to be deterred be cause of the ill-fate which had met some of his companions who had tried for their liberty. There seems to have keen an M«« aoMSg these peer fellows that Sydney wm only ? few mflea away, aad that California was als? within warning Msteaee. As a matter of fact, escape itself did not present very serious difficul ties. The point was that, having escaped, the inhospitable nature of the surrounding country made sur viving extremely difficult. In all cases, those who escaped returned— if they returned at all—of their own accord, crawling back to the settle ment, miserable and emaciated, im ploring to be flogged and once more fed. Just at sunset two days after Christmas Day, when the gangs were returning from their labour, six convicts, including William Buckley, dropped aside from the main party, and creeping around the end of a partially completed building, suddenly made a dash for freedom. A sentry challenged and fired. One of the convicts named Shaw fell to the ground; the others rushed on and disappeared. For a little while the escape did not cause any great con cern to Commander Collins. But as

time went on he became uneasy; not, possibly, so much on account of the miserable existence of the escaped men themselves, as that incidents of the kind had a bad effect upon the morale of the settlement as a whole. However, whatever motiffes actuated him, he now called together a party, of marines. The party tracked thef absconding convicts for some 60 miles, but failed to discover them. In a belief that they had perished miserably in the bush, a return wa? made to the settlement. This belief was not justified. What had happened was this: Having got clear of the sentries' guns, the five convicts ran for the best part of four hours until they fell exhausted. That night they made camp on the bank of a creek. As soon as day broke they ran on again harder than ever. They had with them some meat and bread, a gun stolen from the Gover nor's garden, an iron kettle, and one or two tin pots. In a belief that they had only to continue far enough and long enough to reach Sydney, the con victs set out ■ resolutely to cross the rugged countryside. Actually, as it happened, they wer« heading not for Sydney but for the site where Melbourne now stands. Hav ing crossed the Yarra, they presently climbed some hills, and on the crest of these they ate the last of their food. He Becomes a Leader +( THEY were lost and hi imminent dan* ger. of death by starvation. Wil liam Buckley, by virtue of his great ate and strength, had assumed the leadership, and he now led-them to the beach, along which they wandered for three days, living on shellfish and whatever else they could find. Long since they had filing away their kettle and their pets, as being too heavy %9 carry. And so they continued on along the beach and in course of time completely made the circuit of the bay. until they arrived at a spot opposite to the Sor rento settlement. They now realised their mistake. They could see the rools of the settlement and the "Cal cutta" lying at anchor. Starving and desperate, the unfortu nate wretches did all they could to attract those in authority, choosing rather the lash and the prison ceil than the death which so obviously waited for them. They made flags of their torn shuts, and by night they lighted fires. But all in vain. After

six days, four of them set out on the return journey round the bay, leaving William Buckley solitary and deter mined to retain his freedom. Of these four, three perished. The survivor, named McAllender, finally reached the settlement, where he told the story of the escape. Left to himself, William Buckley travelled on once more, dismally sur mounting all obstacles in a forlorn hope that he must eventually reach Sydney. Once clear of the bay, he fol lowed the coast line, subsisting upon shellfish, gum taken from the trees, and the tops of young plants. When some days had elapsed the weather be came hotter. He Joins the Blacks 4W£ \ LL through his Journey Buckley had A taken particular care to avoid en countering the blacks. He had seen their camp fires at night, and on two occasions he had swum a river in order to escape them. Now, coining unawares upon a still smouldering fire, he lost All jate fear. He tore some berries from a nearby bush, roasted them on the embers, and devoured them greedily. Presently he found a supply of shellfish. These, too, he roasted and ate. For a whole week he remained on this spot until his strength was a little restored. He then found a hollow in a cliff, and here he lived more or less happily for some months. Bat events were

BUNCHY TOP A note of warning in relation to bunchy top is sounded by Mr. H. W. Eastwood, senior fruit tnstnmtor (NAW.), in an article In the wA«rt cultural Gazette." During the la* two years (he says) an acute depression has existed in the banan a industry, and mainly owing to this fact growers have found il most difficult to give proper attention to their plantations, the result being that bunchy top disease has increased considerably. When prices for fruit improved last April growers generally responded w* taking a keener interest in their areas, and since then they have given more attention to their plantations. Besides being helped by improved prices the growers' own organisation has assisted them in the control of bunchy top by engaging men to find and treat diseased stools in their plan tations. While apparently satisfactory iesults "have been achieved in this re spect, it should not be forgotten that the extremely dry season being experi enced has operated against the spread of bunchy top, a nd there Is likely to be a recrudesence of the disease following a good fall of rain. A similar season to the present one was experienced in 1928, and while the disease was not particularly bad in the districts where most bananas were grown at that time it quickly spread and assumed control after the wet sea* son commenced. The importance of early detection and thorough treatment and destruc tion of diseased stools cannot be stressed, too.strongly. ........ -_....,.

soon to take a new turn. One day he was surprised by three blackfellows. He was too weak to resist them, and suffered himself to be led off to their camp- Next morning, during their absence, he made his escape and re turned to the bush. And now we come to the incident of the spear. Having obtained it, he went on his way, and. when night came he lay down to sleep under a tree. Here he was found by two lubras, who presently went away and brought their husbands back in great amazement to see this curious man with the white skin. The, seeing the spear in Buckley's hand, immedi ately-jumped to the oondusion that he was the reincarnated spklt of one of their dead companions. In their theology black men turned into white men after death. Accordingly, with great manifesta tions of joy, the blacks bestowed on Buckley the name of Murrangurk, which had. been the name of the dead waTfrof frOfll fhose grave the spear For the next 30 years Buckley lived with the blacks. He joined in their fights and was admitted to their coun sels. He married, and in time be came one of the fathers of the tribe. He had forgotten his language, and had almost forgotten his name. Long since he had given up any hope of seeing any of his own kith and kins. There came a day when Buckley met two blackfellows, one of whom carried a flag on his shoulders. The sight of the flag brought back to the wild white man a dreadful longing for the scenes of his earlier yean, despite their bitter memories. Trembling with excitement, he ques tioned the natives. Prom them he learned that a ver 1 was at anchor in Port Phillip Bay, near the In dented Head. As all the crew had gone on a boat expedition, these two natives had swum out and climbed aboard and helped themselves to whatever they could lay their hands upon. They suggested to Buckley that an attempt should be made to decoy the crew to the shore, when they should be killed- Buckley, knowing the native mind sv thoroughly, did not attempt to dissuade them.' He pre tended that he was quite agreeable, but all the time he was wondering toJiimself what use he could make of this happening t j gain his own liberty. As soon as he could he made his way to the shore and tried to at tract the attention of the crew, which had by then returned to the vessel. But now the poor fellow found that he could not speak a word of English. He was only able to make un intelligible noises.

On tw* occasions a beat 4r«w new to-him, but ea seeing- hi* wnwe cotttmie and hearing the nnoonth stammering the sailors simply laughed and polled away again. A few days afterwards poor Buckley returned to the spot to find that the vessel had gone. All that remained was the grave of one or me white sailors. He is Rescued JiJOT very long afterwards he en* countered two more natives, who were waving coloured handkerchiefs. They told him that a ship had recently entered and had landed a party con-' sisting of three white and six black : men, and that the ship had then gone away again, and the party on shore : was busily erecting tents. Again the suggestion was made to Buckley that the whites should be at tacked and murdered for the sake of their possessions. And again Buckley pretended to fall in with the proposal, seeking his opportunity he set out to find the camp, and did so on the next day. Approaching it he sat down and be gan to make signs. The white men answered him kindly, but unfortu nately neither party could, understand the other. And now happened a ior^; tunate incident. Buckley was offered some bread, the article being called by its name. Then, in Buckley's own words: "A cloud seemed to pass from over my brain; I repeated that and other English words." Heartened to find that his memory had not entirely .left him, Buckley showed the men the initials. "WB," tattooed on his arm. Little by little his mother tongue re turned to him, so that presently h« was able to speak to them understand ingly. Hereafter matters quickly mended. His new-found white friends prove* to be the advance guard of the ex pedition led by John Batman, the founder of Melbourne. Buckley now openly sided with his fellows against the blacks who threatened the party. By presenting a bold front they hew the natives in check until Batman re turned. Buckley received a free pardon oa August 25, 1835. exactly 31 years from the date of his landing from the shin, Calcutta. He now pursued various occupations, and In 18S8 arrived hi Hobart town, where he was appointed assistant storekeeper at the Immi grants' Home. In March, 1840, he married a widow, and 10 years later he was paid off by the Convict Department with a pen sion of £12 a year. He died in 18M %t the age of 76 years.