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Boundary Crossers

The hidden history of Australia's other bushrangers

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Bushrangers are Australian legends. Ned Kelly, Ben Hall, Captain Thunderbolt and their bushranging brothers are famous. They’re remembered as folk heroes and celebrated for their bravery and their ridicule of inept and corrupt authorities. But not all Australian bushrangers were seen in this glowing light in their own time. And not all were white men.

In Boundary Crossers, historian Meg Foster reveals the stories of bushrangers who didn’t fit the mould. African American man Black Douglas, who was seen as the terror of the Victorian goldfields, Sam Poo, known as Australia’s only Chinese bushranger, Aboriginal man Jimmy Governor, who was renowned as a mass murderer, and Captain Thunderbolt’s partner, Aboriginal woman Mary Ann Bugg, whose extraordinary exploits extended well beyond her time as ‘the Captain’s Lady’.

These bushrangers’ remarkable lives have been forgotten, obscured, misrepresented or erased from the national story for over a century, and this is no accident. All is not as it appears. There is far more to these bushrangers, and their histories, than immediately meets the eye.

‘A spellbinding journey into Australia’s iconic bushranging history as you have never imagined it.’ — Grace Karskens

‘A refreshing riposte to familiar bushranging folklore.’ — Billy Griffiths

‘Thrilling detective work…a true history of Australia’s troubles with race, sex and gender, troubles that haven’t gone away.’ — David Marr

‘Full of intriguing detail, colourful stories and challenging ideas, Boundary Crossers offers new context for some of Australia’s great central legends.’ — Alan Atkinson

‘An unknown and riveting side of bushranging…stories of people who should never have been forgotten.’ — Jason Phu

Boundary Crossers is excellent Australian history, thought-provoking and illuminating.’ — Julia Taylor, Books + Publishing

‘With considerable investigative skill, Foster rescues now forgotten figures, such as Chinese bushranger Sam Poo and Aboriginal man Jimmy Governor, from obscurity and places them in a vivid historical context. Fascinating.’ — Canberra Weekly