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Buckley was granted immediate pardon on 28th August 1835 and joined Batman's party. He went to Melbourne where he met Joseph Tice Gellibrand from Van Diemen's Land and a partner of John Batman. Buckley was showered with  favours in order to obtain local information about the countryside and the people. Gellibrand employed Buckley as an interpreter and superintendent over the aboriginal tribes.

An excerpt from John Gellibrand's Port Phillip Journal says,

"We started very early in the morning under the expectation that we should see the natives and, in order that they should not be frightened, I 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 ridden about eight miles, we heard a coo-ey, 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 a dozen children. Buckley dismounted and they were all clinging around him and tears of joy and delight running down their cheeks ... Buckley told me that this was his old friend, with whom he had lived and associated for thirty years ..."

Charles Barrett, White Blackfellows p30.

Buckley acting as interpreter at Indented Head (40 KB)
Buckley acting as interpreter at Indented Head
W. Blamire Young
Watercolour and gouache, 1901

Buckley was later employed by Captain Lonsdale of the King's Own Regiment of Foot, as interpreter and conciliator and worked with him for 15 months. Buckley's duty was to visit the settler families and to promote mutual confidence. However, there were a number of conflicts.

Great things were expected from Buckley, but he was not interested in trading. His knowledge of the country seemed limited and he was not a good advocate for the settlers. Buckley left Melbourne in 1837 for Van Dieman's Land where he married and worked until he died at 76 years of age in 1856.


"It was not without get regret, that I resolved on leaving the colony, because I had believed that my knowledge of the language and habits of the natives, acquired during my sojourning amongst them, might have led to my being employed by the local authorities during the rest of my life; but, when I reflected on the suspicion with which I was viewed by the most influential white men, and on the probable doubt the natives would entertain in my sincerity after having left them. I thought it best to retire to Van Diemen's Land."

William Buckley in John Morgan, The Life and adventures of William Buckley p 139