Sunday, June 10, 2007

The first white man

The remarkable story of William Buckley has inspired many different tellings since  his re-appearance in 1835. At the legendary Carlton theatre La Mama, Jan Wositzky has compiled a one-man show that gathers many of these threads together. It's quite a casual performance, conducted on beach sand with sticks as props. He is particularly good at drawing together connections between William Buckley and contemporary Melbourne, such as the reactions of those who now live in sites which Buckley inhabited. While it was a one-man white show, Wositzky focused particularly on the Woirorong language and song, often intoning words such as adamante to give the performance a distinctive linguistic landscape. It felt particularly refreshing to return to the story of Melbourne, particularly before it was transformed into just another 'world class' city.

1 comment:

David J said...

I can't get enough of this story! It's funny the phrase "Buckley's and none" was very common growing up in Melbourne but I never learned a thing about William Buckley until long after I left school!
What an awesome story! I often wonder how my learning might have been more inspired if I'd known about this man when I was younger.
I have since read stories of other Early settlers/ex-convicts who had escaped and been accepted into indigenous tribes. One was of a fight between two groups and the combatants were both white men!
It would be great to hear more of these stories but it would be great to hear them told from a more neutral cultural perspective. We don't need another tale about a white fella surviving amongst the savages.