State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 86 December 2010


Wayne Caldow
The Early Livestock Trade Between Gippsland and Van Diemen's Land: insights from Patrick Coady Buckley's Journal of 1844

Patrick Coady Buckley. Date and photographer unknown, Carlyon Collection, Monash Centre for Gippsland Studies, CA0075.

ONE OF THE EARLIEST industries in the Port Phillip District was the export of livestock to supply fresh meat to the Van Diemen's Land penal system. The island's increasing convict population ensured that the trade was a growing source of prosperity for the Port Phillip squatters. By the early 1840s, the trade was so well established that the Melbourne newspapers simply referred to it as 'the Van Diemen's Land trade'.1
The discovery of a harbour and rich grazing land in Gippsland added greater impetus to the growth of the trade. From 1842 onwards, sheep and cattle were shipped in large numbers to Hobart from Port Albert, the closest mainland port to Van Diemen's
Land. The demand for livestock was such that by the end of 1844, the Gippsland squatting district was fully occupied by squatters from the Monaro runs in south-east New South Wales and those from the Port Phillip district who sought to take advantage of this lucrative market.2 The rapid growth of the livestock trade shaped the settlement pattern and maritime orientation of Gippsland; the district's earliest economic development was tied firmly to the Van Diemen's Land penal system.
Perhaps the earliest and most detailed record of the Van Diemen's Land livestock trade is found in the journal of Patrick Coady Buckley, one of the first squatters in Gippsland. In a matter-of-fact style, Buckley recorded how business was conducted between the squatters, shipping agents, ships' masters and owners, and the buyers from Hobart. Buckley began his journal in 1844, the year in which he chartered the brig Amity to take his first shipment of cattle to Hobart. He recorded the event in detail, from being seasick on the voyage over to the state of the cattle market.
When Buckley arrived in Hobart with his cattle in May 1844, it was a speculative venture into a buyers' market, but the market was about to change. During that year, the Van Diemen's Land government attempted to restrict the importation of 'foreign' livestock from the mainland, but this backfired: producers from the Port Phillip and Portland Districts abandoned the market in favour of more profitable industries. The ensuing shortage of livestock in Van Diemen's Land created a sellers' market for the Gippsland squatters. By the end of 1844, Buckley no longer had to charter ships to take his stock to market – the Hobart buyers came to him.


Patrick Coady Buckley was born in Dublin in 1816 as Patrick Coady. His mother married Edmund Buckley in 1818 and he adopted his stepfather's surname, to become Patrick Coady Buckley. The family arrived in New South Wales in 1818 and by 1831, Patrick and his half-brother, Edmund, had set up the Wullwye sheep station on the Snowy River in the Monaro District. Their ford on the river was known as Buckley's Crossing and it is the site of the present day town of Dalgety. By 1834, Patrick was the manager of the Wullwye pastoral run.3 Five years later, he established his own squatting runs, holding the Ensay and Tongeo Mungie runs from 1839 to 1845.4 The explorer, Paul Strzelecki, noted in 1841 that Buckley and Lachlan Macalister were the 'first two pioneers of Gipps Land'.5
In 1842 Buckley 'paid a visit of exploration to the newly settled district of Gippsland' after hearing glowing reports of the area from Angus MacMillan.6 He went in search of land suitable for a cattle station and selected a tract of land on Merriman's Creek near the present day town of Seaspray. In 1843 he obtained a depasturing license for the land and established the Coady Vale run of 53,760 acres. In the following year he took up the Tarra Creek run of 23,020 acres on the western bank of the Tarra River.7

Opening page of Patrick Coady Buckley's Journal. MS PA 02/121

Buckley prospered from the livestock trade and had amassed a small fortune by the time of his death in 1872. He was a generous benefactor to the Catholic Church and numerous charities in Gippsland. His obituary in the Gippsland Times said that'. .. he was in habit and conversation as tolerant and unsectarian as a truly generous mind could be'. The obituary also described him as 'a man of almost gigantic stature', but he was by no means a gentle giant.8 He is noted for the mistreatment of his Chinese servant and his encounters with the local Aborigines.9 James Hogan said of Buckley in 1888:
He chose the wildest part of Gipps Land for his home . . . and, by his bull-dog bravery and determination, soon struck such terror into the marauding blacks of the neighbourhood, that they wisely gave his homestead a wide berth in the future . . . '.10
Buckley did not marry and he died without any immediate family. There were many claimants to his fortune from across the world. One man claiming to be the sole beneficiary came forward with a will that was judged to be a forgery. He was charged with fraud but died before his trial. After lengthy legal battles, the Victorian government distributed the estate amongst Buckley's distant family. By then, legal expenses had consumed two-thirds of the £60,000 estate.11
It is not the purpose here to judge Buckley or his actions, as some writers have done,12 but instead, to use his journal as a source of historical information on a virtually unknown aspect of Gippsland's early history. In reading extracts from the journal, it should be remembered that it was Buckley's own personal record, written without any literary pretensions. His journal is a record of the minutiae of his daily life and he did not seek to place his experiences in any wider context. The aim of this article is to place Buckley's record in that wider context. When read within the historical background of the Van Diemen's Land livestock trade, the journal is a vivid and important record of the first phase of European settlement in Gippsland.


The livestock trade with Van Diemen's Land is a little known aspect of Victoria's early history. Prior to Separation in 1851, Victoria was known as the Port Phillip District and it was a part of New South Wales and thus part of the New South Wales penal system. The livestock trade developed at a time when much of the labour on the Port Phillip squatting runs was provided by assigned, ticket-of-leave and freed convicts. In Melbourne, convict chain gangs were employed on public works such as roads and drainage; convicts and the penal system were pervasive aspects of life in the Port Phillip District.13
The Port Phillip District was also an integral part of the convict-based economy of the Australian colonies. There was a large, intercolonial, private sector economy based around the supply of provisions to the penal system. An important part of this was the supply of livestock. This created many opportunities for enterprising squatters such as
The financial opportunity created by the growing Van Diemen's Land livestock market was, arguably, the economic reason for the settlement of Gippsland. The search for grazing land and a port were the main reasons for the exploration of Gippsland undertaken by Angus McMillan and James Macarthur between 1839 and 1841. Although the topic of exploration is outside the scope of this article, one writer on the subject, John King, explained why the squatters battled their way into the terra incognita of Gippsland – particularly those from the Monaro, such as Buckley and McMillan.
King was one of the many Gippsland squatters who prospered from the livestock trade. He was the grandson of Phillip Gidley King, the third Governor of New South Wales, and arrived in Gippsland in 1842 as John Reeve's overseer at the Snake's Ridge squatting run. King soon established his own runs and in his later years became a respected citizen in the Rosedale area. In 1882 he wrote a book about Gippsland in which he gave an account of McMillan's expeditions. He stated that Captain Lachlan Macalister, a squatter of the Maneroo district in southern New South Wales, instructed his overseer, Angus McMillan,
to push out to the southward with a view to find good country, of which there had been rumours, and a harbour that would enable him to ship cattle to Tasmania, where the British Government were expending large sums of money on their penal settlements.15
McMillan made two unsuccessful attempts to reach Corner Inlet, a large open shallow bay on the eastern side of Wilson's Promontory in southern Victoria, before finally reaching there in February 1841. King added that McMillan's men
were a devoted band, for they toiled on, following McMillan like a Highland chief who had only a few inspiriting kind words in Gaelic to give in lieu of wages, that came tardily in those days, for there was much to be done before cattle could be shipped to Tasmania, and net proceeds returned.16
King was a contemporary of Buckley, Macalister and McMillan, and wrote with first hand knowledge of the livestock trade.17 His statements explain the financial motivation that induced the squatters to overcome the physical and geographical difficulties to reach the Gippsland plains.
The expansion of the Van Diemen's Land penal system came about when the transportation of convicts to New South Wales ceased in 1840; convicts that would otherwise have been sent to Sydney were now sent instead to Hobart. In 1840, there were 17,703 convicts in Van Diemen's Land, which represented 35 percent of the island's population. By 1847, there were 24,188 convicts.
The growing convict population created two distinct problems for the administration of Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Franklin and his successor, Sir John Eardley-Wilmot. Firstly, the additional convicts had to be accommodated and fed, which required greater government expenditure; secondly, there was an economic depression in Van Diemen's Land in the early 1840s. Normally, convicts were assigned to free settlers
as cheap labour in exchange for providing food, clothing and lodgings. The depression was severe and the settlers had little need for convict labour, causing widespread unemployment. The government in turn had to provide for the unemployed convicts and the new arrivals by issuing food rations and creating employment through public works.18
The simple economic fact was that the Van Diemen's Land convict population was growing and it needed to be fed. For the New South Wales squatters, there was money to be made in the supply of livestock, but Bass Strait created a barrier to this market.
A port in the vicinity of Corner Inlet was essential for the New South Wales squatters to be competitive in the Van Diemen's Land livestock market. The first export of Gippsland cattle to Hobart was made in the schooner Water Witch in June 1842 by James Macfarlane, less than eighteen months after the arrival of the first settlers. The second shipment was made by Angus McMillan in August 1842, also in the Water Witch.19
The Port Phillip Patriot explained the strategic importance of Port Albert for this purpose:
[B]eing much the nearest shipping place to Hobart Town on the coast of New Holland. The cattle and sheep shipped there will arrive in much more wholesome state for slaughtering than those that have undergone the long confinement in a crowded vessel, by which the flavour of Port Phillip meat is so much injured. The Water Witch was only three days from weighing anchor in Port Albert until she dropped it off Macquarie Point; of course, the flesh of the animals is not likely to be in that feverish state consequent on long voyages.20
The penal system was far from self-supporting and its administrators needed to purchase vast quantities of goods from the private sector. Throughout the convict period, the Van Diemen's Land newspapers carried advertisements for tenders to supply goods to the Commissariat, which was the government store responsible for purchasing and distributing supplies to the penal system, the military, and the civil administration.
Each year, the Commissariat let tenders for the supply of food to the many penal institutions, which included the supply of meat. The successful ones were awarded contracts for the supply of fresh meat at a fixed price in pence per pound weight. The contractors needed livestock at a competitive price, but the prices in Van Diemen's Land were much higher than on the mainland. This in turn created an opportunity for producers in the Port Phillip District. Livestock was exported from Portland, Geelong, Melbourne and from Twofold Bay in southern New South Wales – but as the Port Phillip Patriot had argued, Port Albert was the most strategic location.21
As mentioned previously, Van Diemen's Land was in the midst of an economic depression in the early 1840s, as were the other Australian colonies. Money was in short supply and the importation of livestock 'brought the present monetary ailment to a head'. The Hobart Town Courier pointed out that the trade was 'creating an incurable
canker within' by the export of currency from Van Diemen's Land 'which it could ill afford to part with'. It claimed that the mainland livestock producers did not require a return cargo to make their voyages profitable as, such was the monetary return from the sale of their animals, they did not need Van Diemen's Land produce. The paper called on the government to take action to stem the trade, but feared that the imposition of a tariff would result in a reciprocal tariff being placed on Van Diemen's Land produce exported to New South Wales.22
By October of 1842, there was discontent amongst the Van Diemen's Land producers who could not compete against the low prices of the imported livestock. This led the Van Diemen's Land Legislative Council to introduce the Sheep and Cattle Importation Prevention Act in February 1844. When the Bill for the legislation was being discussed by the Council, some speakers claimed that livestock from New South Wales was 'diseased' and 'feverish' when it arrived. The meat from the animals was 'unsound and unwholesome' but it was used to feed the convicts. Governor Eardley-Wilmot stated that:
If any class of the community required protection, in this regard, more than another, it was the prisoners, who must subsist on such rations as are provided for them and could have no choice on a matter so vitally important to their health ...,'23.
When the legislation was introduced it had unintended consequences. The Melbourne Weekly Courier of 24 February 1844 stated that 'Exportation of sheep and cattle to Van Diemen's Land as a speculation is completely put a stop to'. This statement, however, was referring to the sea trade from Melbourne and Portland and not that from Gippsland as Buckley's journal clearly shows. The paper noted a change in the livestock trade that benefited the Port Phillip producers where
[I]nstead of our settlers having to run the risk of the loss by the sea voyage, the uncertainty of the market and not infrequently the combination of the buyers we have now the Van Diemen's Land merchants as purchasers in our market, and the masters of the regular traders now make their appearance with the money clinking in their pockets.
The legislation evidently did not stop the Vandemonians from importing livestock on their own behalf. The Weekly Courier concluded that this was better than the old regime where sometimes the sale of the livestock was insufficient to cover the expenses of the charter of the vessel.24
The Van Diemen's Land legislation had the desired effect in driving the Port Phillip producers from the Hobart market, but it created problems for the butchers with Commissariat contracts. They were dependent on livestock from the Port Phillip District to fulfil their contracts, but local stock owners found boiling down sheep and cattle for tallow to be more profitable than exporting the animals to Van Diemen's Land. This in turn led to a shortage of animals for meat. In March 1844, the main contractors notified the Van Diemen's Land government that they would be forced to give up their
contracts for beef and mutton by the end of the month as they were having great difficulty obtaining enough sheep and cattle at any price or in sufficient numbers to fulfil their contracts.25
It was into this fray that Patrick Coady Buckley made his first shipment of cattle to Hobart in May 1844.


Buckley commenced his journal on 1 January 1844 and maintained it until the year of his death. In his later years, he rewrote the journal and this version has been available to the public for many years. The State Library of Victoria has recently obtained the original,26 unedited version from one of his descendants. It is recorded in a single volume with paper watermarked for 1838.
There are significant differences in detail between the original and rewritten versions. Detail in the original version, such as particulars on shipping and Buckley's fellow squatters, can be verified from other sources. In contrast, he deleted material and added new text in the rewritten version. For example, he added that he visited the schooner Sylvanus at Port Albert on 1 May 1844, but the vessel was actually in Hobart on that day. The original version is the more reliable historical record. The extracts below are transcribed from this version. No attempt has been made to alter the spelling or wording, or to add punctuation. For clarity, the correct spelling for names has been placed in square brackets; text in curved brackets is commentary Buckley added between the lines. He began the journal with:
Munday Jany 1 1844 I commence my Journal from A place caled the Tambo River in the 28 years of my Age on my way from Munnaroo Plains to Gipps Land in company with Mr Tingcome & two of my men named John Neal and Wm Scott we started from the Tambo River where we camped the Night before and came to Sappling Yard at A place caled Munky Creek with Enough to do as the cattle drove very tuff met Jack Hennessey & two of Sparkses men on our way the day very foggy & showry
During 1844, Buckley described the work in setting up the Tarra Creek run, with tasks such as cutting and splitting timber for fence posts and rails, mortising posts, the construction of fences and selecting the site for a hut. He also described visiting Port Albert and Tarraville, assisting neighbours with their stock and his 'discoveries' to explore the surrounding area as far afield as Wilson's Promontory. Buckley made many references to guns; Gippsland was then a lawless province terrorised by escaped convicts. He also recorded hunting Aboriginals with the Border Police.
One of the many aspects that Buckley recorded was the shipment of his cattle to Van Diemen's Land from Port Albert. This is very significant historical information because there is otherwise little documentary evidence that this trade ever existed. The journal provides specific information on the workings of the trade that is not recorded
anywhere else. His first references to shipping livestock were in March 1844. On the sixteenth he wrote:
I went to the Port by way of the Victoria Township caled at Wades Cole hole27 I herd there that Mr Pierson [William Pearson] and McMillan was looking for me they overtook me at the port as they were as far as the Camp, I Chartered the Brig Amity true Mr Pierson, only the hold of hir for £100 I then returned to the Camp the day fine
From references elsewhere, 'the Camp' was where Buckley and his men were camping while working to set up the Tarra Creek run.
In April he wrote:
Frid 12 Spent the day at home Mr Pearson came here to let me know when to bring my cattle down for shipment he stoped and had some diner & then went away the day fine
Wed 24 got in the cattle for Hobartown and nearly finished drafting them the day fine
Thurs 25 finished drafting the cattle & started away with 41 head of mine and 1 of Rowleys to send by the brig Amity brough John Neal with me to assist driving and shipping the cattle & to attend to them during the Passage over Marshall and Curtis helped us as far as the crosing Place we stoped for the night at Masons .. .28
The next day the horses ran away while the men were eating and they were not caught until the 27th, when Buckley commented, I was very glat when I saw the horses coming as the Ship was waiting for them went to Joe Davises'.29
Sun 28th Brought the cattle over the Bridge with the assistance of Collins30 working Bullocks where I left them with jack minding them while I went on to the Port to see the captain of the Amity ... met Mr Turnbull just as I got on the Road he went with me on Board of the Amity I Erranged with Capt Marr when I was to bring the Cattle down I went back to wades helped to put the Cattle in the yard where we stoped for the night
Mun 29 we started from Wades just as day was breaking gave the cattle about ½ an hours feed then drove on to the shipping yard went on board had something to Eat we then commenced Shipping (Brig Amity Marr Master) we Shiped 34 head that is 17 Cows & 17 Bullocks one of which was Rowleys One got drowned hawling him on board which I sold to Capt Bowden of the Scotia for £2 I sent the remaining 7 back to E Buckleys Station31 by Ricketts and Byrne, I went on Board the Scotia Davy [Fermaner]the Pilot and young J Tom32 where I had tea came back and stoped on Board the Amity the day cold & windy
Tues 30th lay near the yard all day windy & cold
Wed 1st Ditto Borrowed 2 truses of hay from Mr Turnbull Enclosed my license and assesment sent them to the Commisioner [Charles Tyers] by Mr Turnbull went board of the Agenora [Agenoria33] and Palmira [Palmyra] with Capt Marr the day dark & cold
Buckley did not explain why he remained at Port Albert after the cattle were loaded, but it appears from his comments on the weather that the Amity and the other
vessels were lying wind-bound and unable to proceed to sea. The following is Buckley's narrative of the voyage to Hobart.
Thurs 2 got down the harbour a little way by warping
Frid 3 Davy the Pilot came on Board about 2 Oclock in the Morning we got A favourable Breese got over the Barr about 11 Oclock in company with the Scotia Palmyra and the Aginnora the Alfra [Alpha] cutter we left Stuck untill the next tide she was bound for Launceston all those vessels were laden with cattle as soon as I got over the Bar I began to feel the Effects of sea Sickness we had a very smooth Passage over we done in six days we landed in Hobartown on the 8th wed with all the Cattle safe droped anchor about 4 Clock in the Evining the Aginnora got in about 4 hours before us the Palmyra in company with us likewise the Commit[Comet] from twofold Bay with cattle the Scotia went to Launceston I went shore Along with Capt Marr saw Mr Gilbert the Owner he Advised me not to be in A hurry as to selling the Cattle untill Morning I returned back to the brig which lay at Government Paddock & slept there
One of the requirements of the Van Diemen's Land legislation to restrict the importation of livestock was that the animals had to be quarantined for five days, and they were held at the government paddock for this purpose.
The Colonial Times recorded that the Amity, a brig of 149 tons built in St John's, New Brunswick in 1831,34 arrived in Hobart with 174 sheep and 34 cattle, with Mr Buckley and John Neil as passengers. Buckley's comment that he chartered 'the hold of hir' meant that he had chartered the hold only, and his cattle were shipped below deck. The sheep would have been carried in pens on the deck as a separate charter or as cargo for the vessel's owners, one of whom was a butcher.
The day after arriving in Hobart, Buckley sold his cattle:
Thurs 9 sold the Cattle to Mr Bainting with Enough to do for £5.5 per head with Enough to do as there was A glut in the Market I slept on board the brig
The glut was probably caused by the arrival of several livestock vessels on the same day.
Frid 10th landed the cattle before 9 O clock went to Mr Bainting got A check on the Union Bank for the Amount went Round by the owners Mr Gilbert he went with me to the Bank I paid him his charter which was £100 I stoped for the night at Shadrocks opposite the ship Inn sent A draft to Melbourn for the sum of £52.4 in favour of Messrs Turnbull Orr and Comp
Buckley's 'Mr Bainting' remains a mystery as there appears to be no record of this name in Van Diemen's Land at the time. It could be a misspelling. The Melbourne firm of Turnbull, Orr and Company held a monopoly over shipping from Port Albert. Squatters such as Buckley generally obtained their provisions on credit through the firm and paid for them from the proceeds of the sale of their livestock. The firm's letter books are held in the State Library of Victoria and detail the business transactions with the squatters and the buyers in Hobart.
After concluding his business in Hobart, Buckley prepared for the return passage to Port Albert:
Sat 11th purchased some things which I Required and went on Board about 4 O Clock when we got under way for Port Albert spent part of the day Along with Mr Tom
Sun 12 About 7 OClock we are in sight of the Iron pot were I begin to feel A little sea sick from to day I kept no account un till the 19th when we Anchored in the bay of fires in company with the Palmyra Brig & the Shamrock cutter about 3 O Clock in the Evining as the wind was against us we stoped here all night on the 20th ... all got under way About 4 OClock we went to the leward of Cape Parrin [Barren] did not cross the straits we had A foul wind the whole of the Pasage untill About 3 OClock in the The Morning of the day we arrived in Port Albert which was on friday About 11 O Clock we crosed the Bar on the 24th May got as far as the Oister Bank where they cast Anchor the Aginnora was in just before us or rather in Company with us I stoped on Board untill Evining when I got Capt Marr to put some hands in the Boat and put Neal and I on Shore I stoped at Mr Turnbulls for the night
Sat 25th got up Early neal and I started on our way to the Tarah as I left my two horses at E Buckleys Station we stoped at wades and had some breakfast I had A pair of new hip Wellington Boots on which Blistered my feet very much and put me in great pain we reached E Buckleys about 11 O Clock
Sun 26th I sent Neal to the Port on horse back for the Articles I left in Mr Turnbuls Store the Eve we Landed
Mun 27th I went to the Port went board of the Amity had diner with Capt Marr setled my Account with Howden the Innkeeper which was £2 went on Board of the Agenora to get my Pistol that Mr Tom brought from Hobartown but did not get it as Mr Tom was not there Showed my horse Archy to the Commisioner but did not agree as to price as he only offered me £25 & I wanted £30 Engaged J Neal for An other year the day treatening for rain
In the coming months, Buckley was to have further business dealings with the owner of the Amity, Napoleon Gilbert, through its master, Captain Marr. Gilbert is an important figure in understanding the historical context of Buckley's journal; he was the main supplier of fresh meat to the Commissariat. In March 1842 he won contracts to supply fresh meat to the
Female House of Correction and Nursery, including the Branch Female Factory at the Brickfields, 2½ d per pound; Convict Hospital, 2½ d per do; Gaol, 2½ d per do; Commissariat Stores, which includes Ships of War, Transports, Government Vessels, Prisoners and others out of Barracks, and all other casualties, 2½ d.35
Gilbert also won contracts to supply the Out Stations at New Town Bay and New Town Farm. Gilbert was not mentioned in the newspapers in the next two years, but in March 1845 he was awarded contracts at significantly lower prices 'to supply fresh meat to the Commissariat Store and Gaol at 1d 7-16ths [per pound], Female House of Corrections, Nursery, Dynnyrne House and Hiring House at Brickfields 1d 6-16ths'. He was also awarded the contract to supply fresh meat to HMS Anson at 1d 11-16ths per pound.36 The Anson was an 80-gun Ship of the Line, one of the great battleships built
during the Napoleonic Wars. It was sent to Hobart in 1844 where it was reduced to a convict hulk: 'Ships do not die of shame but they deteriorate faster under its shadow'.37
In June 1845, Gilbert left for Port Albert in the Amity but he met with disaster. The Hobart Town Courier reported:
The Amity on her way from Hobart Town to Port Albert, on the 18th June, before daylight, got aground about the south-east end of Flinder's Island, bumped her rudder off on striking, and became a total wreck. No lives were lost, and no property beyond the vessel, which was insured for £600 in the Derwent and Tamar insurance Company. Mr Gilbert, butcher, of this city, and owner of the vessel, was on board at the time .. . .38
The Amity was the first of many livestock vessels to be wrecked en route between Hobart and Port Albert.


Following his return to Port Albert in late May 1844 after nearly a month's absence, Buckley attended to the business of squatting and began to make arrangements for his next shipment to Hobart.
Tues 28th [May] caled at the Commisioners to Apply for A new station but on being Informed that I would have to pay an extra £10 for it I declined Making Application I started from there on my way to Tarah Ville to see Mr [James] Taylor as I wished for commision him to Engage A vessel for me to bring cattle to Hobartown which he Promised to .. .
Buckley made several more shipments of cattle to Hobart during 1844 but he did not accompany them. He evidently did not travel well by sea. From June onwards, his journal entries show a discernable change in the way the livestock trade was being conducted: from then onwards, the Vandemonians came to him for cattle. In the words of the Melbourne Weekly Courier, the ships' captains came 'with the money clinking in their pockets'. Taylor arranged the charter of the schooner Sylvanus but this was the last time Buckley had to pay for a charter. In mid-June, he began to muster cattle for shipment to Hobart. He wrote:
Tues 18 [June] ... I commenced gathering cattle to send to Hobartown by the Sylvanis [Sylvanus39] Schooner got in what I could and drafted them Harry hill came here with A note from Capt Bowden of the Scotia to let me know that he could bring my Cattle over for £2 per head
A week later, Captain Bowden visited Buckley to ask again if he could give him a cargo, but without any success. The glut that Buckley spoke of in May was long past. He continued:
Wed 26 sent James Byrne to the port for some tea whe Returned he brought word that the Sylvanis had Just Arrived spent A few hours at Collinses had diner there Thurs 27 I told George and Byrne to drive cattle as far as wades I went into the Port to when the Cattle should be down then returned to wades where we stoped for the Night
Frid 28 got up at day light got our horses had breakfast fed the cattle A couple of hours then drove them on to the yard and commenced Shipping them (Sylvanus Schooner Taylor Master) the yard was very dirty I shiped 30 of my own and 4 of Rowleys sent James Byrne & George out to wades I stoped at the Inn all night
Sat 29 They Commenced early in the Morning to the Syvanus down the harbour they got down as far as the Clonmell [wreck of the paddle steamer Clonmel] when they cast their Anchor and beleeve got out the next Morning ....
The Sylvanus returned to Port Albert in July and Captain Taylor went in search of another cargo. Buckley wrote:
Sat 20th George & [I] up to scotts for A load of Posts met Mr Sheriden and Capt Taylor on the big Flat the Capt was coming to see if I could give him A charter I told him that I could not but that Mr Tingcombe was at my place & that he might Mr Tingcombe and Capt Taylor Agreid for two Pounds per head £4 to the crew for looking after the Cattle during the Pasage like wise beef
The change in the livestock market was evident in that Captain Bowden and Captain Taylor now approached Buckley for cattle. He no longer had to charter vessels to take his cattle to Hobart.40 The freight price of £2 per head was considerably less than to charter the Amity, which cost nearly £3 per head. This was no doubt due to the livestock shortage faced by the Commissariat contractors.
Buckley drove Tingecombe's cattle to Port Albert for shipment where he met Captain Marr of the Amity:
Sat 27 [July] went to the port saw Capt Marr there he told me that he wanted to purchase A Cargo of Cattle he & Mr Baylis came out with me as far as Wades I left them there and Appointed to meet them next Morning at Joseph Davises & went up to E B Station where I Stoped for the night
Sun 28 Joined Capt Marr at Davises came to Buntins had diner from there to Masons
Wed 31st got the Cattle in that was Runing the other side of the Creek sold 34 head of them to Capt Marr Made him a Present of A heifer for his own use Capt Marr then Started on his way to the port. ..
Mun 5 [August] lost my horse and George Wade and Jim Byrne took the Cattle down Wade Roped George and I walked to the yard Shiped 27 of mine 4 of Tingcombes & 2 of Rowleys 1 got the Rope of her head and got Away I stoped at the Inn during the night
At this time there was no wharf at Port Albert for loading the livestock vessels. The cattle were roped around the head, dragged through the water out to the vessel and hauled aboard. Buckley continued:
Tues 6th Setled with Capt Marr
I Also seted my bill with Mr Howden which was £4-16=5 I then borrowed A pistol from Mr Parks and came out as far as wades paid him his bill which was £1=16=0 and £1 which the Capt paid him for Roping Byrne brought me A horse George found the other 2 on his way to E B Station
The transaction with Captain Marr was the last shipment that Buckley recorded
in any detail. He made no further mention of cattle shipments until October 1844 when he was approached for stock by Captain Bentley of the schooner Agenoria. His last shipment for the year was in November and was made in the Sylvanus, with only one short entry to record the event.
The entries from the latter part of 1844 contain far less detail than those from earlier in the year. This probably reflected the decreasing amount of work and risk involved in getting the cattle to market. From the middle of the year onwards, Buckley did not have to leave home to sell his cattle – the buyers came to him. This was a marked contrast to the time and cost involved in the charter of the Amity and the voyage to Hobart. When Captain Bowden approached Buckley twice within a week for cattle, this was a clear indication that the livestock trade had changed in favour of the Gippsland squatters – although Buckley made no mention of it. Nonetheless, his journal from 1844 illustrates the evolution of the livestock trade from a speculative buyers' market to a sellers' market. The demand for Gippsland livestock continued throughout the convict period and into the early 1860s. Many of the fine homesteads in Gippsland, such as John King's 'Nambrok', bear witness to the wealth generated by the Van Diemen's Land livestock trade.


The original version of Patrick Coady Buckley's journal is an important historical document that provides a personal insight into the life of a squatter in the earliest period of European settlement in Gippsland. Buckley took up a squatting run in South Gippsland to take advantage of the livestock market in Van Diemen's Land, a market created by the island's growing convict population. Some of the material in his journal is confronting, but Buckley appears to have described events in an immediate and uncritical manner. His description of the livestock trade is rare and important historical information. It is one of the few accounts of an industry that was integral to the economic development of the Port Phillip District and the exploration and settlement of Gippsland.


Melbourne Weekly Courier, 3 February 1844.


Hobart Town Courier, 27 February 1844; Port Phillip Patriot, 27 January 1845. Livestock was also shipped to Launceston, but to a much lesser extent.


Alan E. J. Andrews, Earliest Monaro and Burragorang: 1790 to 1840, Palmerston, ACT: Tabletop Press, 1998; John S. Trengrove, Maneroo Backtrack, Reservoir, Vic.: The Author, 2007.


R. V. Billis and A. S. Kenyon, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, Melbourne: Stockland Press, 1974 (first published 1932), p. 35.


Paul Strzelecki, 'Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons', 26 February 1841, 'Copy of a Despatch from Sir G. Gipps, Governor of New South Wales, to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, transmitting a report of the progressive discovery and occupation of that colony during the period of his administration of the government', [London]: House of Commons, 1841. Strzelecki's return refers to the northern part of Gippsland.


Gippsland Times (Sale), 18 June 1872.


Billis and Kenyon, pp. 191, 287.


Gippsland Times, 18 June 1872.


John Adams, From These Beginnings: history of the Shire of Alberton, Yarram, Vic.: Alberton Shire Council, 1990.


James Francis Hogan, The Irish in Australia, Melbourne: George Robertson, 1888, p. 127.


Hogan, p. 129.


For example, Don Watson in Caledonia Australis: Scottish Highlanders on the Australian Frontier, Sydney: Collins, 1984, refers to Buckley as 'vicious' and 'a humbug' (p. 227).


For details on the role of convicts in the Port Phillip District see A. G. L. Shaw, A History of the Port Phillip District: Victoria before separation, Carlton, Vic: MUP at the Miegunyah Press, 1996, pp. 85, 204 and passim.


J. W. McCarty, 'The Staple Approach in Australian Economic History', Business Archives and History, vol. 4, no. 1, 1964, pp. 1-22.


'Tanjil' (John King),'Early Reminiscences of the Discovery of Gippsland', in Our Trip to Gippsland Lakes and Rivers, Melbourne: M. L. Hutchinson, 1882, p. 5.


Ibid, p. 7.


See Day Book 1844-49, King Family Papers, MS 11396, Australian Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.


R. M. Hartwell, The Economic Development of Van Diemen's Land: 1820-1850, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1954.


Marten Syme, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Victorian Ports. Volume 1 1798-1845, Melbourne: Roebuck Books, Melbourne, 1984.


Port Phillip Patriot, 29 August 1842.


Ibid. And see the Hobart Town Courier of 15 March 1845 for details of contracts awarded.


Hobart Town Courier, 21 October 1842.


Melbourne Weekly Courier, 27 January 1844.


Hobart Town Courier, 21 October 1842; Melbourne Weekly Courier, 24 February 1844.


Melbourne Weekly Courier, 3 February 1844; Maitland Mercury (Newcastle, NSW), 30 March 1844.


Patrick Coady Buckley, Diary, 1844, January 1-1861, December 31, PA 02/121, Australian Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.


William Wade's Coal Hole Station, next to Buckley's Tarra Creek run, see Billis and Kenyon, p. 191.


Mashfield Mason, holder of the Woodside run, see Billis and Kenyon, p. 112.


Joseph Davis, Emu Flat run, see Billis and Kenyon, p. 56


John Collins, Snugborough run, see Billis and Kenyon, p. 49.


Edmund Buckley, Gammon Creek run; stepfather of Patrick Coady Buckley, see Billis and Kenyon, p. 35.


Presumably the son of William George Thom, Gippsland squatter 1844-45, see Billis and Kenyon, p. 148.


Wrecked on the Port Albert bar March 1852.


Graeme Broxam, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Tasmania. Volume 3 1843-1850, Woden, ACT: Navarine Publishing, 1998.


Hobart Town Courier, 4 March 1842.


Hobart Town Courier, 15 March 1845.


Lew Lind, Fair Winds to Australia: 200 hundred years of sail on the Australian Station, Frenchs Forest, NSW: Reed Books, 1988, p. 71.


Hobart Town Courier, 2 July 1845.


Wrecked on the Port Albert bar, July 1850.


Buckley's use of the term 'charter' is a little ambiguous, as he used the same word when he had organised the charter himself or if the captains approached him for a cargo.