Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/22

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were given to re-embark, and the two vessels sailed across the straits to Van Diemen's Land. In this lovely little island, on the site of its present capital—Hobart—Collins succeeded in planting his penal colony. Here he reigned as lieutenant-governor for a period of six years, until his sudden death on March 24th, 1810. Twenty-eight years afterwards. Sir John Franklin, the then governor, who afterwards perished in the frozen wastes of the Arctic, had a monument erected to his memory in the city whose foundation he laid.

For nearly thirty years after this unsuccessful attempt to colonize Port Phillip, no further effort was made to plant a colony on the southern shores of Australia. The blacks were left in undisputed possession of the province, though one effect of Colonel Collins's brief sojourn was the addition of a new chief to their ranks. During the three months that the colonel remained encamped on the shore, several prisoners succeeded in escaping into the bush, but, with the exception of one, the fugitives either perished miserably in the unknown land, or returned in an agony of starvation to the camp and begged for forgiveness. One, however, was determined to obtain his freedom at all hazards, and this man, who had been a soldier, and was transported for assaulting his superior officer, concealed himself in a cave, and managed to subsist for some time on berries and shellfish. Having observed from his hiding-place the preparations of Colonel Collins for leaving the settlement, he came forth, when the vessels were disappearing in the distance, and found himself a free man. In a weak and exhausted condition William Buckley, for such was his name, walked at random into the interior and soon came upon an encampment of aborigines, by whom he was kindly treated and