William Buckley

William Buckley

William Buckley (1776 - 30 January 1856) was an English convict who was transported to Australia, escaped, was given up for dead and lived in an Aboriginal community for many years.

Buckley's improbable survival is believed by many Australians to be the source of the vernacular phrase "you've got Buckley's or none" (or simply "you've got Buckley's"), which means "no chance", or "it's as good as impossible".

Buckley left England in April 1803 aboard HMS Calcutta, one of two ships sent to Port Phillip to form a new settlement under Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins. They arrived in October 1803, and anchored off the south-eastern side of the bay, near modern day Sorrento. The new settlement, called Sullivan Bay, subject to drought and poor soils, soon ran into problems and they started to abandon the site in January 1804, with the remainder leaving in June.

After hearing that the settlement was about to move to Tasmania, on 27 December 1803 at 9 pm, Buckley and several other convicts cut loose a boat and made their escape to the shore. They made their way around the bay, and the party split up in the vicinity of present day Melbourne. His companions went north-east, hoping to reach Sydney, which they thought was not far, although it was 1000 km away. Buckley, tired and dehydrated, continued alone around the bay.

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William Buckley 


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