Bushrangers were part of the Australian scene during the second part of the nineteenth century and into the early years of the twentieth century. Some of them were escaped convicts who had 'gone bush' to escape recapture; some saw bushranging as a way of getting back at colonial authorities, while others felt that the excitement of such a life had the edge on more mundane pursuits such as farming or gold mining.
Although they were lawless and often violent, many of them had a definite respect for the working classes and moved among such people without fear of disclosure. I remember my grandmother telling me that when she was a child living in country NSW beyond Orange, there were often occasions when bushrangers would stop by the family farm with absolutely no thought of doing any harm.
The most famous (or notorious, depending on one's
viewpoint) bushrangers were the Kelly Gang, Ben Hall, Captain
Thunderbolt, Dan Morgan, Frank Gardiner...
Bushrangers have been depicted in art and film (for example: 'Ned Kelly', 'Captain Thunderbolt', 'Mad Dog Morgan', 'Robbery Under Arms'...)
The paintings shown here are 'Bailed Up' by Tom Roberts and 'Ned Kelly' by Sidney Nolan