This means -- no chance at all; a snowball’s chance in hell: “You’ve got two chances, mate – yours and Buckley’s!” (meaning: “Give up – you haven’t got a chance”) There are various suggestions as to the source of the expression Buckley’s chance – including the notion that it came from one William Buckley (1780-1856) who lived for 32 years with Aborigines in southern Victoria. However, here is the true story behind the phrase: In 1851, a certain Mr Mars Buckley, in partnership with one Crumpton Nunn, set up a store in a small shack in Melbourne. The business of Buckley and Nunn flourished. Then in 1893 a depression hit Melbourne and there was a run on the banks. Wily old Mars Buckley accompanied by four assistants carrying four leather suitcases, pushed through the crowds around the bank (who were demanding their money) and withdrew 10,000 gold sovereigns which he then locked away in a safe in his shop – leaving no chance that the bank might fritter away his fortune among other anxious depositors. Three years later, in 1895, the expression Buckley’s chance first appeared in print, leading to the expression that you have two chances: Buckley’s or none – both a play on the name of the shop, and a reference to Mars Buckley being the only winner on the day he withdrew all the cash from the bank. When first coined the expression must have meant that to have Buckley’s chance was to have a good chance. But the meaning appears to have rapidly reversed to the bleak moan we know we know it to be today.
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