Bushrangers

By Nathan Bun

In what era were bushrangers active?

The year that bushrangers were active is 1850s-1880s in the late 19th century.

How did bushrangers avoid being captured?

Bushrangers, or bush rangers, originally referred to runaway convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who had the survival skills necessary to use the Australian bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities.

Early Australian bushrangers

Bushranging - living off the land and being supported by or stealing from free settlers - was either chosen as a preferred way of life by escaped convicts2 or was a result of the lack of supplies in the early settlements. Australia's bushranging period spanned nearly 100 years, from the first convict bushrangers active from 1790 to the 1860s, through the outlawed bushrangers3 of the 1860s and 1870s who were able to be shot on sight, to the shooting of the Kelly Gang4 in 1880.

While many bushrangers had populist reputations for being 'Robin Hood' figures; some bushrangers were brutal and others harassed the gold escorts5 and diggers returning from the goldfields. The popularity of bushrangers and their ethos of 'fight before surrender' was commemorated in bush songs6 and folklore.

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