Q2627286

List of Bushranger : Vote for your favorites.

List of Bushranger    : Vote for your favorites.

Bushrangers were originally escaped 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. By the 1820s, the term "bushranger" had evolved to refer to those who abandoned social rights and privileges to take up "robbery under arms" as a way of life, using the bush as their base.

Bushranging thrived during the gold rush years of the 1850s and 1860s when the likes of Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner and John Gilbert led notorious gangs in the country districts of New South Wales. These "Wild Colonial Boys", mostly Australian-born sons of convicts, were roughly analogous to British "highwaymen" and outlaws of the American Old West, and their crimes typically included robbing small-town banks and coach services. In other infamous cases, such as that of Dan Morgan, the Clarke brothers, and Australia's best-known bushranger, Ned Kelly, numerous policemen were murdered. The number of bushrangers declined due to better policing and improvements in rail transport and communication technology, such as telegraphy. Kelly's capture and execution in 1880 effectively represented the end of the bushranging era.

Bushranging exerted a powerful influence in Australia, lasting for almost a century and covering much of the continent. Its origins in a convict system bred a unique kind of desperado, most frequently with an Irish political background. Native-born bushrangers also expressed nascent Australian nationalist views and are recognised as "the first distinctively Australian characters to gain general recognition." As such, many bushrangers became folk heroes and symbols of rebellion against the authorities, admired for their bravery, rough chivalry and colourful personalities. However, in stark contrast to romantic portrayals in the arts and popular culture, bushrangers tended to lead lives that were "nasty, brutish and short", while some were notorious for their cruelty and ruthlessness. For these and other reasons, attitudes to bushrangers in Australia are at times complex and ambivalent.

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