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