In this entertaining and original work, wilderness walker, inveterate traveller and award-winning writer Peter Macinnis uncovers our earliest and little-known practitioners of the art of bushranging – and finds that most were murderous thugs with few saving graces.
Along the way he finds a few endearing ones, such as Moondyne Joe and Diver Fitzgerald, who were scallywags rather than villains. Plus there were a few who affected a gentlemanly front, a sort of false gallantry that did not sit well with their thieving ways.
Curiously, the word ‘bushranger’ did not originally mean an Australian highwayman, rather somebody capable of living in the bush. But were the early bushrangers even capable of surviving in the bush, and what were their motivations for taking part in this deadly game?
Take a journey with one of Australia’s most accessible history and science writers into an early Australia that extends beyond the Wild Colonial Boy, Ben Hall and his friends, Thunderbolt, Moonlite and the Kelly Gang.