The Ghost and the Bounty Hunter: William Buckley, John Batman and the Theft of Kulin Country by Adam Courtenay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A friend recommended this volume. It’s an interesting story about an escaped convict William Buckley who eluded the authorities for a long time. The author Adam Courtenay who is the son of Bryce Courtenay.
The book encompasses British social history, early colonial history as well as Aboriginal history in and around Melbourne between 1800 and early 1830s.There is some insights into the troubled time in Tasmania with land grabs, relations with aboriginal people.
William Buckley was a convict who was sentenced to transportation landing in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He wound up in what was an early attempt to colonise the area around Port Phillip Bay. He managed with others to escape custody and elude the authorities for many years. Living amongst the local Aboriginal people, he did overtime gain an understanding their language and customs.
William Buckley’s story has been reconstructed from two accounts. One is form a minister of religion and the other a journalist. According to the author the journalist account is somewhat sensationalised probably to appeal to popular audiences at the time. There are holes in Buckley’s story in part due to him being illiterate and not very articulate. He does come across as being sympathetic to the plight of aboriginal people. He was caught between the colonisers and the aboriginal people with whom he had lived.
It an easy book to read and provides some insight into the early colonial days form both sides. What is most interesting is the aboriginal side of the story that is often miss-told or not told at all.
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