Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The escape of William Buckley


1803 At 9pm, William Buckley (1780 - January 30, 1856), Cheshire, UK-born convict in Australia, escaped. Thus began his 32 years of living in the bush among Aboriginal tribespeople, the only European in what we now call the State of Victoria.

In 1799, the more than 2-metre-tall (6 ' 7") teenager had gone to Holland to fight, under the command of the Duke of York, against Napoleon. Later, while in London, he was convicted of stealing a bolt of cloth which he swore he had been carrying for a woman and didn't know was stolen. Despite his war service record, and the relative insignificance of his crime, William Buckley was sentenced to transportation to New South Wales for 14 years (this was in the days when the British still believed that sending people to Australia was a punishment) ...

For a few days he wandered in the bush without sustenance. Some friendly indigenous people of the Wathaurong tribe of the Barwon River district caught a yabbie (freshwater crayfish) for him, which he cooked and ate. However, fearing that they might prove unfriendly, he decided for a time to take his chances in the bush. It was not long, though, before the hardships he encountered made him decide to seek out Aboriginal people again, so he set out to where he had met them before. Finding a spear stuck in a grave, and being so weak from thirst and hunger, he took it for support ...

Buckley’s chance
In Australia there is a common expression, 'Buckley's', short for 'Buckley’s chance' meaning 'without a chance or hope', as in the phrase, "You’ve got Buckley's, mate". Its configuration, then is similar to ‘Hobson’s choice’, which is no choice at all.

There are two main contenders for the original creation of this term. One is that there was a department store, named Buckley and Nunn's. Hence, one has two chances: Buckley’s and none. The other is that it derives from William Buckley.


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1 Comments:

Blogger rev. billy bob gisher ©2005 said...

i see a resemblance to william f. notice the slight lean.

6:08 AM  

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