Osprey Publishing Men at Arms: Australian Bushrangers 1788-1880

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The first 'bushrangers' or frontier outlaws were escaped or time-expired convicts, who took to the wilderness - 'the bush' - in New South Wales and on the island of Tasmania. Initially, the only Crown forces available were redcoats from the small, scattered garrisons, but by 1825 the problem of outlawry led to the formation of the first Mounted Police from these soldiers.

The gold strikes of the 1860s attracted a new group of men who preferred to get rich by the gun rather than the shovel. The roads, and later railways, that linked the mines with the cities offered many tempting targets and were preyed upon by the bushrangers.

This 1860s generation boasted many famous outlaws who passed into legend for their boldness. The last outbreak came in Victoria in 1880, when the notorious Kelly Gang staged several hold-ups and deliberately ambushed the pursuing police. Their last stand at Glenrowan has become a legendary episode in Australian history. Fully illustrated with some rare period photographs, this is the fascinating story of Australia's most infamous outlaws and the men tasked with tracking them down.
  • Soft Cover
  • 48 Pages


  • Origins of British penal settlement in Australia, and how its character-shaped governance and policing. [In each following chronological chapter, emphasis will be given not just to events, personalities, and organized groups, but also to appearance and weapons.] 
  • The first 'bushrangers': escaped prisoners in the 1810s-20s - e.g., Matthew Brady, Martin Cash ('The Robin Hood of Van Diemen's Land'), and 'Bold Jack' Donohoe (the original 'Wild Colonial Boy' immortalized in song)
  • The government response: British regular troops, and creation of first Mounted Police from military personnel
  • The 1860s Gold Rush: a new breed of robber gang leaders - e.g., Frank Lowry, 'Captain Moonlight', 'Mad Dog' Dan Morgan, Frank Gardiner, and Ben Hall - formation of new Mounted Police in Victoria and Queensland
  • The 1870s: robberies, raids and gunfights - hunting down of bushranger gangs
  • Final outbreak in 1880: the Kelly Gang - Springbark Creek ambush of police - last shoot-out at Glenrowan
  • Summary and conclusion
  • Plate Commentaries.