Much as The American West was “Wild” by virtue of it’s perceived lifestyle – it’s true legendary status stems from it’s lawlessness. Names like Jesse James, Cole Younger and Billy The Kid, still resonate. Another Country often overlooked with a very similar criminal element was Australia. Originally founded as a Penal Colony of Great Britain, it was from these Prisoners that The Bushrangers were born. The term “Bushranger” is believed to have originated in Australia around 1805. Although not all Colonists were Convicts, a large percentage were. With the large and spacious lands of Australia, coupled with the lower amount of Guards and Military, many Prisoners escaped and made their way to the “safety” of The “Outback” (the nickname for the Australian wilderness). These harsh men became adept at survival skills. They also created a means by which to make money. That was robbery.
Much like their American Outlaw counterparts, Bushrangers formed Gangs. Of named after their Leaders. They struck Transportation methods, such as Train and Coach – as well as individual persons foolish enough to travel the backlands, unprepared. Names like Captain “Moonlite”, Jack Donahue and of course the infamous Ned Kelly – became very well known throughout The Country. Their fame increased especially during The Australian Gold Rush of the 1850s.
But The Bushrangers “fame” would finally end in the 1890s. Fed up with lack of local Government control, Great Britain would declare “War” on these criminals. Military Forces were increased along with Law Enforcement, specifically tasked to hunt down The Bushrangers. Most were jailed or executed by the turn of the 19th/20th Century.