Ned Kelly’s metal helmet looms large over Australia’s bushranging past, but what about all the unsung outlaws of the Australian bush? In Mad Dogs and Thunderbolts Australia’s most irreverent historian, Ben Pobjie, celebrates the colourful and captivating tales of our convict’s nation’s other bushrangers.
How could we overlook Black Caesar, who escaped his tyrannous British overlords four times and indeed invented the great Australian tradition of bushranging? What about Mad Dog Morgan, who set out to write his name in blood on history’s ledger? And then there was Matthew Brady, the gentleman bushranger, who showed us all the civilised side of armed robbery?
Bushrangers not only sought out gold and riches: they went the extra mile for love too. There was the dynamic Captain Thunderbolt and his loyal wife Mary Ann Bugg, bushranging’s greatest queen, and the masked Captain Moonlite, who chased excitement his entire life but whose thoughts at the end were for the man he loved.
Pobjie introduces us to these provocative characters and many more in this celebration of the derring-do and revolutionary passion of all the wild colonial boys and girls who raided our towns and stole our hearts, all while wearing sensible headgear.
Ben Pobjie studied history at the University of Western Sydney before his lust for glamour led him to comedy writing. He is known for his TV columns in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and political satire for New Matilda, Crikey and the ABC, among others. He has written for the TV shows Reality Check and The Unbelievable Truth.
Mad Dogs and Thunderbolts is the fourth book in Ben’s uproarious appraisal of Australian history, following on from Error Australis (2016), Aussie Aussie Aussie (2017) and Australia: What Happened? (2018).
Image: Mad Dogs and Thunderbolts – courtesy of Affirm Press