Posted by: nancycurteman | June 1, 2010

Australian History: Stories of Courage and Ingenuity

Stories of courage and ingenuity have a long history in Australia. Many of the stories speak of survival in the bush, desert and outback. One of these amazing stories tells of William Buckley, a Cheshire bricklayer convicted of receiving a bolt of stolen cloth. He claimed innocence to no avail. The English transported him to Australia on a convict ship as part of a group intended to form a new English colony in southern Victoria at Sorrento. Buckley escaped his captors in 1803 and wandered the desolate land alone until the Aboriginal Wathaurong people found him starving and near death. They welcomed him into their family because they believed him to be one of their warriors returned from the dead. He lived among them for three decades and learned their language and customs then married into the tribe. While living with the Wathaurungs he earned their respect and affection. He roamed their land on the Bellarine Peninsula and became expert in Aboriginal weaponry and survival strategies. In 1835 he returned to European society as an interpreter, guide and peacemaker. For the rest of his life he remained an active advocate for understanding and reconciliation between the indigenous peoples and the settlers.

Photo by nishi.slv.vic


  1. Sounds like a rip-roarin’ story.


  2. There seem to be numerous stories like this in Australia. I think the Outback is pretty unique. It is somewhat analogous to our Old West in terms of adventure.


  3. Nice tale with a happy ending. Thanks, nancy!


  4. The resilience and tenacity…and capacity to Forgive…is a powerful attribute across Aboriginal Australia especially at a time when the Australian Government has suspended the Racial Discrimination act in order to enforce the “Intervention” across the Northern Territory, controlling all Aboriginal Communities financially and in many other ways.

    The invasion into traditional homelands is not history…it is very current I am ashamed to say.


    • Good points. I know there are also current efforts to support the Aborigines as well.


  5. I have included a link to the map of Aboriginal Australia at the end of my latest blog post Nancy…


  6. I visited your site. What wonderful photographs. Thanks for the link to the map and the photos.


  7. Nancy I am sure that along with the amazing Uluru you refer to in an earlier blog entry, you would be inspired by the man-made creation of Anmatjere Woman and Child at Airelon…


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