Bushrangers were originally escaped convicts in the early years of British settlement of Australia who used the bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities. By the 1820s the term had evolved to refer to those who took up "robbery under arms" as a way of life, using the bush as their base, equivalents of the British highwayman, or the outlaws of America's Wild West. Their crimes tyically included robbing small-town banks and coach services, and some of the more notorious cases, including those related to Australia's best-known bushranger, Ned Kelly, involved the murder of numerous policemen. The author of this history made extensive use of newspaper reports of the time to tell the story of the various gangs. First published in 1899 and reprinted from the third edition of 1908.