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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Hon. Sir Patrick Alphonsus Buckley

The Hon. Sir Patrick Alphonsus Buckley, K.C.M.G., M.L.C., Colonial Secretary and Attorney-General, has had a much more varied experience than colonials generally think. To most he is known only as Colonial Secretary; but before coming to New Zealand he had been in many lands, and though he may not have suffered “most disastrous chances by flood and field,” yet the story of his life will be of interest to the reader. Born in County Cork, Ireland, he received his early education at the well-known Mansion House of that county. He was afterwards sent to Paris, where he remained until he entered the University of Louvaine, in Belgium. While studying at this institution, he was commissioned by Count Carlo MacDonald, private chaplain to the Pope, to conduct recruits from Ostend to Vienna for the Irish Papal Brigade. Joining the army of General Lamoricieye, who was attempting to crush the Piedmontese in their attack on the states of the Church, Mr. Buckley experienced the vicissitudes of camp life. At the storming of Ancona he was taken prisoner. His captivity, however, was short and soon after his release he returned to Lonvaine to complete his studies, and then went home to Ireland. But the conditions of life in Cork did not satisfy him, and he accordingly determined to seek his fortune in a new land. Queensland was chosen as the scene of action, and not long after his return from Louvaine he sailed for that colony. On landing he was confronted with the wilderness of Australia, and for a time shared the common lot of settlers. Finding, however, that their conditions were too severe, he turned his attention to the profession of the law. This he found a more congenial life, and soon attained distinction in the “dusty purlieus of the Court.” For some years he was associated in his profession with Mr. Lilley, who afterwards became Chief Justice of Queensland. But it was not in Queensland that Mr. Buckley attained the highest honours. Relinquishing practice in Brisbane, he sailed for New Zealand, and soon after his arrival entered into partnership with the late Hon. Robert Hart, in Wellington. He was not long in New Zealand before he entered the Provincial Council, in which he rose to the rank of Provincial Solicitor. This office he held until the abolition of the provinces. In 1878 he was called to the Legislative Council, and six years later became Colonial Secretary in the Stout-Vogel Government, and leader of the Upper House. This position he held until the retirement
The Hon. Sir Patrick Alphonsus Buckley

Photo by Kinsey.

of his party in 1887. On the return of the Liberals to power in 1891 he took office as Colonial Secretary and Attorney-General in the Ballance Government, which office he still holds. At the distribution of birthday honours in 1892 he received the title of K.C.M.G. Sir Patrick Buckley has always taken great interest in volunteer matters, and for six years was captain of the D Battery of Wellington. He is at present senior partner in the firm of Buckley, Stafford and Treadwell, full particulars of which are given elsewhere in the Cyclopedia.