Friday, July 2, 2010


In the early days of the "Limestone Plains" (present day Canberra) and the plains just to the south, the "Darling Downs" (Monaro Plains), the land was virtually lawless. Bushranging began in the early years of settlement when disgruntled or over-flogged convicts would take to the bush to escape the tyranny of their labour and punishments. Some remained there eking out an existence by stealing from settlers and travelers alike. Their numbers grew as more convicts escaped, and until the 1850s there were many bushrangers roaming the southern districts. From all accounts it was a subsistence form of bushranging with the "spoils" often being only necessities such as food and clothing.

William Westwood, also known as Jackey Jackey (1820-1846)(bio here) and the 'Terror of Argyle" John Tennant (post here) were the best known bushrangers of the Limestone Plains and Monaro district, however many more were terrorising the fledgling settlements of the plains.

The Courier -  3 August 1841
Clipping National Library of Australia (here)

An encounter with a bushranger in the neighborhood of Paddy's River (southern ACT) where the Goulburn Mail coach was held up in 1841. The bushranger got more than he bargained for however. (below)

The Courier -  3 August 1841
Clipping National Library of Australia (here)

Mr J. laments that the interior is "infested" with bushrangers (below).

The Sydney Herald - 20 June 1836
Clipping national Library of Australia (here)

The selling of illicit (illegal) spirits (alcohol) is ever present.

The Sydney Herald - 6 July 1837
Clipping National Library of Australia (here)

Mr S., a squatter on the Menaroo (Monaro Plains) after reporting the agricultural situation of the New South Wales Government crown land "beyond the limits of location". He makes a plea for measures to ensure the settlers safety as "Englishmen" and describes the Menaroo as a "nest of villains".

The Sydney Herald - 28 November 1838 
Clipping National Library of Australia (here)

The Maneroo Map (pan out)

View Larger Map


  1. Good post, very interesting. I have often wondered why the name Bushranger came into being instead of keeping with Highwayman. The Ranger then and now was law enforcement.

  2. When you put it like that "bushranger" is an oxymoron. Captain Thunderbolt was known as the Gentleman Bushranger, the last of the professional highwaymen. Perhaps they should just have been called outlaws Le Loup.


History lost through lack of funding

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