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Samuel Buller (1802–1871)

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This entry is from People Australia

Samuel Buller (1802-1871) convict, sawyer, trade unionist and anti-transportation activist 

Birth: 1802 at Hinksey, Oxford, England, son of John Buller (1763-1832) and Dinah, née Faulkner (1779-1851). Marriage: 30 July 1832 in Hobart, Tasmania, to Lydia Foxley (1801-1871), a convict and house servant, who signed with a mark. They had three daughters and one son. Death: 26 March 1871 at Collingwood, Victoria. 

  • Convicted at the Oxford assizes on 7 March 1821 and sentenced to 14 years transportation, he arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) aboard the Phoenix, on its first voyage, on 20 May 1821.
  • Mary came to VDL aboard the America in 1831.
  • Samuel had a ticket of leave at the time of his marriage.
  • In 1839 he was founding secretary of Hobart Town Sawyers' Benefit Society; held the post 1843, 1852 and possibly longer.
  • 1839 he signed sawyers' petition to governor against the employment of convict assignees in sawyers' trade.
  • In 1840s he was involved in general working-class protest against 'probation' labour and transportation with William Jeffrey, Alexander M. Nichol, John Williams and others.
  • April 1847, with Jeffrey, Nichol and others, he organised meetings of operatives to petition against transportation. Appointed, with Jeffrey, Nichol and others, to provisional committee/Free Working Class Committee to further cause.
  • Moved to Victoria about 1851.
  • Cause of death: congestion of liver.

Michael Quinlan, Hope amidst hard times: working class organisation in Tasmania 1830-1850. (University of New South Wales, Kensington, 1986); Quinlan, M. & Gardner, M. (1990), ‘Researching Australian Industrial Relations in the Nineteenth Century’, in Patmore, G. (ed.), History and Industrial Relations, Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Teaching. Monograph No.1, pp.60-98; Quinlan, M. (2018), The Origins of Worker Mobilisation. Australia 1788-1850, Routledge, NY and London, esp pp.270-75.

Citation details

'Buller, Samuel (1802–1871)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Hinksey, Oxfordshire, England


26 March, 1871 (aged ~ 69)
Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

liver dysfunction

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Key Organisations
Political Activism
Convict Record

Crime: unknown
Commuted To: 14 years
Court: Oxfordshire
Trial Date: 7 March 1821


Children: Yes (4)