J.T. Gellibrand and William Buckley
February 1st, 1836
On 1 February,
Gellibrand had his first meeting with William Buckley, an ex-convict who
had absconded from the first Port Phillip at Sorrento in 1803 and lived
with Aboriginal people until 1835. Gellibrand sought knowledge from Buckley
about the Aboriginal communities he had lived with.
had this morning a long conversation with Buckley and explained to him
fully the desire of the Association in every respect to meet his views
and make him Superintendent over the Native Tribes… it appears from his
statement that the Tribes are most peacably disposed [and] that they fully
understand the nature of the Grants issued by them… I am quite satisfied
that he can only be acted upon, by kindness, and conciliation, and by
those means he will be an Instrument in the hands of providence in working
a great moral change upon the aborigines'.
On 4 February,
William Buckley accompanied Gellibrand and his party on a trip west from
Melbourne, heading toward Geelong, where they met with a group of Aboriginal
people with whom Buckley had lived.
directed Buckley to advance and we would follow him at a distance
of a quarter of a mile. Buckley made towards a native well and
after he had rode about 8 miles, we heard a cooey and when we
arrived at the spot I witnessed one of the most pleasing and affecting
sights. There were three men five women and about twelve children.
Buckley had dismounted and they were all clinging around him and
tears of joy and delight running down their cheeks[.] It was truly
an affecting sight and proved the affection which these people
entertained for Buckley… amongst the number were a little old
man and an old woman one of his wives. Buckley told me this was
his old friend and with whom he had lived and associated thirty
A week later,
while passing through the Barwon (Geelong) area Gellibrand and Buckley
met with an Aboriginal woman who had been attacked by a white settler.
The woman demanded justice from Gellibrand, with Buckley expected to mediate
on behalf of the people who had supported him for so many years.
my arrival at the Settlement I found about one hundred and fifty
Natives and I learnt with much concern that an Act of aggression
had been committed upon one of the women which required my immediate
attention… this woman was proceeding towards the Settlement to
see her mother and fell in with one of the Shepherds who laid
hold of her, brought her to the hut tied her hands behind her,
and kept her there all night, and either that night or next morning
abused her person…
communicated to her friends the injury she had sustained and they
immediately apprized Buckley of it to obtain redress… The Natives
men women and children assembled around me. I explained to them
through Buckley our determination in every instance to punish
the white man and to protect the Natives to the utmost of our
power… I then endeavoured to make the poor woman understand how
much I commiserated with her situation…'
On 22 February 1837 Gellibrand and a friend, George Hesse, left on a trip from Point
Henry on Corio Bay to Melbourne:
directions, from near the junction of the Barwon and Leigh rivers they
rode towards the Otway Ranges and were never heard of again.'