Australian Steampunk: Bushrangers

Steampunk often features tales of high adventure – which the Australian late 1800s have in abundance.

Here are two tales of the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt (yep, that’s really what he called himself), taken (without alteration to punctuation or spelling) from “Australian Bushrangers” by George Boxall (which is definitely not recommended for younger readers):

[Captain Thunderbolt] walked into the bar of the inn and asked if he could have something to eat. Mrs Byrne, the landlady, replied “Certainly” and went out to cut him some bread and meat. He sat down and waited, and on her return ate the bread and meat as if he was very hungry. When he had finished he asked “How much?” “Oh nothing,” replied Mrs Byrne, “we never charge for a little thing like that.” “Well,” said the robber, “I came here to stick you up, but as you’re so damned hospitable I won’t.” He then asked for a bottle of rum, paid for it, and went away.

 . . .  He stopped a number of other people during the afternoon, robbing some and letting others go, and in the evening went back. . . for tea. He chatted for some time with Mrs Byrne, telling her of his exploits.

Did you enjoy that? Here’s another:

One of the stories told about [Captain Thunderbolt] was that he stuck up a German band at Goonoo Goonoo Gap, and made the musicians play for him, besides giving him their money. The Germans pleaded hard. They said they were only poor men, and that their wives and children would suffer if they were robbed. Thunderbolt told them that he must have money. He was waiting for the principal winner at the Tamworth Races, he added, and he promised that if he caught him he would return the Germans their money. Ho took down their names and addresses. The Germans departed very sorrowful, never expecting to see their money again. Nevertheless, on their arrival at their home in Warwick, Queensland, they found a Post Office Order for 20 pounds awaiting them. They guessed, therefore, that Thunderbolt had captured the winner.

NB: Not pictured: the winning horse.

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

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