HE HAD seven aliases, three children and was behind a 70-year mystery that ended at Moree cemetery.
Arthur Johnson was a plumber who lived in Anne Street and what was once known as the Top Camp Mission in Moree.
But Johnson was also Donald Gordon Buckley, a father who walked out on his wife and three young children in 1953, never to be heard of again.
Now his granddaughter, Donna Truscott, has found what is almost certainly the grave of her enigmatic relative, who died in 1980 aged either 49 or 50.
Her grandfather's death is now before the NSW coroner.
But Ms Truscott wants to fill in the missing pieces of her grandfather's complicated life, from when he abandoned his family shortly after the birth of his daughter Kay, to when he died, of acute renal failure and bronchial pneuomonia, in Moree District Hospital on January 16, 1980.
"Just before my father died, in 2018, he made it clear to me he wanted to know what happened to his own father," Ms Truscott said.
"So I am appealing to anyone in Moree, who may remember my grandfather, or know of him, to come forward and give my family some closure about this mystery."
Donald Gordon Buckley was born in Glenfield on April 1, 1929.
"Through the state archives I found out my grandfather was raised by an abusive alcoholic, George Harold Buckley, after his mother died in 1936," Ms Truscott said.
"My grandfather and his siblings had to sleep on dirt floors with no blankets."
Despite this bleak start to life, Donald remained close to at least one of his siblings, older brother Lewis, throughout his life.
Donald worked as a plumber in and around the Liverpool area, where he met his wife, Derris, a year younger than him.
They settled in a small home in Warwick Farm and soon had three children to raise.
Ms Truscott's father Paul was the oldest. He was born in 1949. His brother Peter was born two years later and Donald's youngest, daughter Kay, was born in 1953.
Just like his father, Paul remained close to his brother Peter throughout his life, living close in Tumbaumbra in southern NSW.
According to Ms Truscott, Donald was incapable of parenting.
"My grandfather had a really hard upbringing and then had his own three children to raise, all of whom were under the age of four," Ms Truscott said.
"I don't think he knew how to be a father or husband and I think alcohol was a poison for him.
"My grandmother said her husband was abusive, an alcoholic and kept company with other women."
When Kay was a baby Donald abandoned his young family, although he did return on occasion over the next few years.
But he totally disappeared by 1956. Derris sought a divorce and was unable to proceed, because no one knew of her husband's whereabouts.
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Even Donald's brother Lewis, his closest relative, signed an affidavit saying he did not know the whereabouts of his wayward brother.
Ms Truscott said her father, Paul, had no memory of his father.
So later in his life he placed an advertisement in a Sydney newspaper, asking anyone who might know of his father to contact him.
"A man phoned Dad and claimed to have been best mates with my grandfather," Ms Truscott said.
"He said my grandfather had been found dead on a river bank in Moree and buried under a fake name."
But that was not strictly true.
A death certificate, uncovered by the NSW Police, said Donald Gordon Buckley died in Moree Hospital.
His death certificate listed seven aliases and was altered to include the names of Buckley's three children, as well as correcting his age at time of death.
And there the life and errant times of Donald Gordon Buckley may have ended.
But Ms Truscott wanted to conclusively solve the mystery of her grandfather's disappearance.
Last year, she filed her grandfather as a missing person with NSW Police.
"At first they didn't want to know, since the case was 70 years old," Ms Truscott said.
But sleuth work found her grandfather's death certificate and the case was considered solved.
The NSW Coroner has been tasked with authenticating Buckley's true identity.
"I am hoping someone from Moree can tell me more about my grandfather," Ms Truscott said.
"No one knows how, or why, he ended up in Moree.
"His last known address was last known address was 16 Anne Street, Moree but it appears he also lived among the Aboriginals for many years at Top Camp Mission."
Donald Gordon Buckley is believed to be buried at Moree cemetery under a plaque dedicated by his son Paul. The plaque also gives Buckley's alias as Arthur Johnson.
Ms Truscott, 44, is a mother of two sons and wants the riddle solved of her grandfather's life.
"I'm a mother now and I know how important it is to understand and know your family," she said.
If anyone can help Ms Truscott with more details about her grandfather's life, contact email@example.com
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