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3 corrections, most recently by Charlie22 - Show corrections



A READING from the forthcoming edition of the " Life and Adventures of William Buckley," was given before the Members of this Association, on Wednesday evening last, by John Morgan, Esq.

It must be understood that Mr. Morgan has undertaken to edit this narrative for the joint benefit of Buckley and himself, and that the work will be dedicated to William Robertson, Esq., who has kindly accepted the office of Trustee for both parties, an appointment, as Mr. Morgan remarked in his introductory observations, which was not necessary, except to ward off any assertions which might afterwards be made with reference to the profits derived from the work. He did not assume so much as that there was any similarity between himself and Defoe, but he referred to the slander- ous imputations which had been cast upon that author with respect to the journal of Alexauder Selkirk, on which the well known wotk of

Robinson Crusoe was founded.

From the reading willi w li ich Mr. Morgan favoured the association, it appeared that Buckley was boro in the year 1780, at Macclesfield, in Cheshire; that he was apprenticed to a bricklayer; and enlisted first in the Cheshire Militia, and alterourds in the 4th Foot, with which corps he served in Holland. Upon his return to England, he became implicated in an offence which rendered him liable to punishment-he was found guilty at Chatham and sentenced to transportation. In pur- suance of this sentence, he was sum out in the Calcutta to Port Phillip (or rather Victoria), where it was the determination of the British Government to found a penal settlement, as New South Wales was then occu- pied. Lieutennnt-Colonel C/Ilins was the Governor. The Calcutta anchored about two miles from the point, which is now known as Point Lonsdale. Shortly after landing. Buckley und three more took to the bush, having one gun amongst them to kill kangaroo. One of them was shot hy the sentry on makin); their escape. The rest, however, kept on their flight ; and light march. iii); order being very desirable when starting, resolved on parting with an iron kettle, which tiley threw In the scrub. It was found thirty j ears afterwards I After u few days' march, his companions wished to rejoin the Culculta, which they saw at anchor. The party ultimately separated, one of them inking the gun. Buckley set out alone, and crossing a ri\ er, lost his fire-stick. He had previously frightened a party of natives away by (¡ring the gun, which he Ima now lost, and was now frequented to the strictest privations. Himself and comrades had not applied their resources well ; he was obliged to subsist upon shellfish, and the water he found was brackish. He subsequently obtained fire from n deserted encampment of the aborigines, and for a few weeks subsisted luxuriously on shellfish und berries. His retreat was subsequently visited by two natives of the wild, »ho endeavoured to induce lum to follow them as far aS'thelr huts, bul he refused. As a pledge upon his refusal to do so, they asked for his stockings, which he would not give them, and hu subsequently escaped during their absence. Ile returned to his former place of residence, and remained for several months; but ulti- mately finding himself much norn out by nant end [ exposure, he determined to retrace his steps, hoping to

regain the ship, or find the companions who had absconded from him. Uu his way he found a mound of earth, with part of a native's spear stuck upright on the ' top of it. lo indicate its being u gtuve. This stick he

took, and used it as a walking-stick. In a day or two he was discovered some native women, who fetched their husbands, w ho seized him by the arms and hands and began beating their breasts, and his, as had also the other natives he lind seen. It appeared that lie

owed his subsequent preservation to the following



"Tliey culled me Murrangurk, which I afterwards learnt wus the name of a mun formerly belonging to their tribe, who had been buried at the spot where 1 bud found the piece of spear 1 still curried nilli me. They have a belief that when they die they go to some place or other and are made white men, and ibnt they then return to this world aguin for another existence. They think all the while people previous to death were belonging to their own iriltea, thus'returned to lile in a diuT-ient colour. In cases where tiley have killed white men, it has generally been because tiley have imagined them to have been originally enemies, or belonging to tribes with «horn they were hostile. Jn accordance with this belief, they fancied me io be one of their tribe who lind been recently killed in u light in which lils duughters had been speared also."

1 be remains of the spear which Buckley hod with him confirmed them in this opinion. After he remained with them a short time, a coirobborree wus held as n celebration of his return to life, and he was transferred to the charge of a mun and woman of another tribe. .The mun uns brother to the native supposed to be personated by Buckley-the womuu was his new guurdian's wife, mid a young mun was introduced to him as his nephew. That night another corrobborree uns held, and lie tasted some opossum, the first auimul food he hud tasted since parting »iib his companions.

Mr. Morgan also rend the following, as probably the

first introduction of the


" They presented me also with an opossum-skin rug, for which 1 gave my new sister-in-law my old jacket in exchange, although it was by this time much the worse for wear. 1 need scarcely say this paletot uddeil much to our appearance, or Unit these interchanges of

attractive civility bud great effect in cementing our

family acquaintance."

Buckley soon became accustomed to their nomadic career of life ; was present at their wars, and joined them in excursions to their hunting grounds. The following is a description of one of their


" We pitched, or rather erected, our bark tents, hav- ing killed two immense large wild dogs on our way. The limbs of these animals they broke, and flinging them on the fire they kept them lhere until the hair was singed; they then took out the entrails and roasted the bodies between heated stones, covering them over with sheets of bark mid earth. After this process, which lusted two hours, they were ready for eating, and were considered a dish fit for an exquisite. They handed nie

a leg of one, as the best part, but 1 could not fancy it ;.

nnd on my1 smelling it and turning up my nose the« were.much amused, laughing away at a great rate. No doubt they .thought my having died and been made white had strangely altered my taste in^such mattera. Aa for themselves they set to work with great test* making all the time notions to rae to Tall too also . at length I exchanged my portion with a neighbour, who gave me for my dog's leg a fine piece of kangaroo, my friend laughing very much at the idea of having the

best of the bargain.''

Our wanderer gradually attained a knowledge of their language, and became a tolerably efficient sportsman, Au interesting account of a general fight between hot. tile tribes was read, to which space cannot be afforded, The subjoined sketch of the


may prove amusing.

" They have no notion of a Supreme Being, although they have of on after life, as in my case ; and they do ?mt offer up any kind of prayer even to the sun or moon, as is customary with most oilier uncivilised people. They have a notion that the uorld is supported by props, which ore in charge of a man who lives at the farthest - end of the earth. They were dreadfully alarmed on one occasion »hen I was with them by news passed from tribe to tribe, that unless they could send bim a supply of tomahan ks Tor cutting some more props with, mid some more rope lo tie them with, the earth would go by the run, and all hands would be smothered. Fearful of this they began to think, and enquire, and calcúlale where the highest mountains were, and how to get at them and on them, su (is to have some chance of escape Irom the threatened danger. Notwithstanding this forethought they set to woik to provide the needful, mid succeeded in this way. Passing on the word to the tribes along tho coast, some settlers at a very great dis. tance were rubbed of axes and sans and rope, and trees of dray wheels; all of which were forwarded on from tribe to tribe tu the old gentleman on the other side, and, as was supposed, in time to prevent the capsiie-. fur it never happened. A tribute of this description is paid whenever possible ; but who the knowing old jug. gling receiving thief is I cuuld never make out."

HIE: oniom OF nnE.

" Their notion of the origin of Ares'is ^[iisj that as n native woman was digging at an ant-hill one day, fur the purpose of getting their eggs fur ealing, a crow flying over her dropped something like dry grass, which immediately biased, and set a tree un fite. Fur this reason they very much respect tile Waakces, as they cull the bird, and du not kill and eat bim, unless pressed by necessity."

Mt. Morgan read several instances of their barbarous and inhuman sacrifices, from which lhere is nu doubt bul cannibalism existed. Buckley's new relations and friend« got into trouble ; his, sisier-in Inw, and nephew were burned, and he lind tu fly fur his life. Ile was not followed through his excursions by the reader, but some particulars as tu marriage ceremonies, 6¿c, were furnished, as in the course of the narrative the wanderer was compelled to take unto himself a wife. She was not faithful, however, and did nut trouble him lung. She was subsequently speared by another man willi whom she hud played as falsely. Au affecting incident relating to the death of a blind boy, of which Buckley had charge, was also


It must be observed that Duck Icy had hot only lost all his English language, bul also all record of time. Once he attempted to join a ship at anchor off Indented Heads, which had been visited and robbed by the aborigines, but was unsuccessful, and made his way back tu the tribe. The ship's ciew buried one of their number on an island. Sume months afterwards a whale-bunt was found stranded, nppuremly belonging to some marinéis who had been cast away. The blankets which they had used were regarded as a gteat acquisition by the tribe.

li me went on, and the settlement of Port Phillip by colonists from Van Diemen'« Land followed. After many obstacles of various kinds he rejoined them, and his fice pntdoii was obtained frum Sir George Arthur, willi a flattering testimonial of thanks for his services lo the settlers. These documents were dated the '¿alii August, I8t)ä, which was exactly thirty-two years from the date of his landing from the Calcutta!  

On the subsequent jidveiituies of Muckley and his final settlement in Van Diemen's Lund, it is nut our present olject lo enlarge; the work will shoitly be published.