The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.
Charles Buckmaster spent his first 17 years on an orchard in the rural district of Gruyere. He moved to Melbourne in 1968 and, except for a year wandering about Australia, spent the remaining years of his life in Melbourne.
For a time, he became involved in the poetry workshops of La Mama. A strong supporter of the 'New Australian Poetry' movement, he was closely associated with the drug culture of the 1960s, the exploration of drug-induced experiences, and with the hostility of his generation towards the perceived materialism and sterility of Australian life which led to the repudiation of 'bourgeois' values.
Two volumes of Buckmaster's poetry were published during his lifetime, and many of his poems were anthologised. Buckmaster also edited the small magazine The Great Auk which helped to disseminate the new poetry. Before his suicide in 1972 he allegedly burnt many of his unpublished manuscripts. A collected edition, gathered from his surviving papers, was edited by Simon Macdonald in 1989. A small press, the Wildgrass Press, inaugurated the "Charles Buckmaster Poetry Prize" in 1985.