This is a series of posts Women’s History Month in 2011, about bushrangers. That is the ladies in the stories of bushrangers. Sometimes they played the major supporting role, sometimes they were pivotal to the story, sometimes they are a side note and the subject of much speculation. All of them have interesting stories of their own.
- Only those whose stories are popularly known
- In chronological order
- Keeping it short & simple
Ellen, Bridget & Kate
The Maids of the Mountains
Finally some observations on “Female Bolters” from The bushrangers: illustrating the early days of Van Diemen’s Land by James Bonwick (who was writing in the 1850s)
Though without historical records of a petticoated bushranger, cases of runaways are not unknown. Dislike of the restraint of service, fear of impending punishment, and a love of daring and debauchery, have led women to flee to the bush though usually in company with those of the other sex. Bushrangers have not been indifferent to such society, and persons of more respectable social position have shown the same taste.
The home life of women exposed them less to the curses of convictism; in the opinion of most men, “when the judge passes sentence of transportation he opens an ulcer in the heart that neither time nor penitence itself can wholly heal.” Before Sorell’s time female prisoners were left to do as they pleased; then an order came out for “all women at large to give an account of the grounds on which they pretended to pardon.” After this the law took more cognizance of them. Incorrigibles are to be found among the females as among the men.