Source: Sydney Living Museums
With the influx of people and wealth to the Australian colonies due to the gold rush also came the rise of bushrangers, outlaws who robbed travellers and towns in the Australian bush. Ned Kelly and his Kelly Gang are the best known of the bushrangers, but there were many others that you may not have heard of. Read through the resources below to learn more about bushrangers and the impact they had on Australia's national identity.
This website looks at some of the more famous bushrangers in Australian history, with a focus on the infamous Kelly Gang.
In the Victorian bush, one type of criminal reigned supreme: the tough and ruthless bushranger. Despite all their crimes against police and the general population, Victoria's outlaws have always ignited public fascination and sometimes sympathy. From Dan ‘Mad Dog' Morgan to Ned Kelly, the bushranger is an icon of 19th century life in the bush. Learn who these men (and occasionally women) were, what they did, and why they had such a huge impact on Victoria's criminal history with this website.
Read through this website to find brief summaries of some of Australia's more famous bushrangers.
This website contains a wealth of information about Ned Kelly, including links to pop culture and links to primary sources.
This article tells the story of "gentleman bushranger" Captain Thunderbolt, who was active in NSW in the mid 1800s.
Bushrangers were criminals who operated in rural areas and used the bush to hide and escape after committing a crime. They were often violent and sometimes killed members of the public and police officers. Because bushrangers broke rules and challenged the police, some people admired them. They might have even assisted them by giving them food and shelter. However, others saw them only as criminals. But what was the truth? Read through this website to decide for yourself.
On 28 June 1880 Victorian police captured bushranger Ned Kelly after a siege at the Glenrowan Inn. The other members of the Kelly Gang – Dan Kelly, Joseph Byrne and Steve Hart – were killed in the siege. The gang had been outlawed for the murders of three police officers at Stringybark Creek in 1878. Ned Kelly was tried and executed in Melbourne in November 1880. The Kelly Gang’s last stand has become an Australian folk legend, however views are divided about how it should be remembered. Read through this website to learn more about the Kelly Gang and their infamous history.
An explanation of the weapons used during the three principal phases of the war against bushrangers on the Australian frontier.
In January 1788, the first group of British and Irish convicts arrived in Botany Bay, Australia, marking the establishment of New South Wales as a penal colony of the British Empire. Over the next 80 years, around 162,000 convicts were transported there. Not all remained imprisoned, however. Over the years, many inmates fled their incarceration and lived as outlaws in the wild bushland around Sydney. These escaped convicts, many of whom indulged in crime and called the bush home, were known as ‘bushrangers’. In later years, the term ‘bushranger’ came to encompass anyone, not just escaped convicts, who adopted a roaming life of crime similar to the highwaymen of Britain or the outlaws of the American Old West. The Australian gold rush era of the mid 19th century, in particular, saw the notoriety of bushrangers skyrocket. This website discusses 5 of Australia’s most infamous bushrangers.