A new book by the University of Newcastle's Dr Susan West reveals the most notorious bushrangers in NSW were not simply violent criminals, but bandits protesting against the state of society.
Dr West said the bushranging movement represented a protest against poor economic and social conditions in rural communities that were made worse by the arrival of gold-seekers.
"Many of the bushrangers were the children of convicts and belonged to the rural working classes, a group largely neglected by government in areas such as access to affordable land and schooling," said Dr West, a lecturer in Australian history.
Bushranging and the Policing of Rural Banditry in New South Wales, 1860 - 1880 will be launched at 3.30pm on Wednesday 9 December 2009 at the United Campus Bookshop, Callaghan campus. The book is published by Australian Scholarly Publishing.