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Robbery under Arms

Rolf Boldrewood

Book Overview: 

A tale of cattle duffing, horse stealing and bushranging in the New South Wales outback with Captain Starlight. To quote the author "though presented in the guise of fiction, this chronicle of the Marston family must not be set down by the reader as wholly fanciful or exaggerated. Much of the narrative is literally true, as can be verified by official records. A lifelong residence in Australia may be accepted as a guarantee for fidelity as to local color and descriptive detail.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Murray low down, and work their way up by degrees. Which way are you boys going?'

'Jim and I to Melbourne by next steamer,' I said. 'May as well see a bit of life now we're in it. We'll come back overland when we're tired of strange faces.'

'All right,' says father, 'they won't know where I'm lyin' by for a bit, I'll go bail, and the sooner you clear out of Adelaide the better. News like ours don't take long to travel, and you might be nabbed very simple. One of ye write a line to your mother and tell her where you're off to, or she'll be frettin' herself and the gal too—frettin' over what can't be helped. But I suppose it's the natur' o' some women.'

We done our settling-up next day. All the sale money was paid over to Starlight. He cashed the cheques and drew the lot in notes and gold—such a bundle of 'em there was. He brought them out to us at the camp, and then we 'whacked' the lot. There were eight of us that had to shar. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I have been travelling solo the last few days and took along this CD audio abridged edition for the long 7 hour drive to Albury NSW. What a treat this turned out to be and for a bit of serendipity the story is set around the very area that I travelled and then stayed. The Snowy Mountains provides...more

This is a deceptively small volume, hardy and ideal to take travelling, very much in keeping with its subject matter. The style may seem long-winded to the modern reader, and it is definitely a product of its time. Thomas Wood's introduction picks up on some of its shortcomings, chiefly the autho...more

This is a deceptively small volume, hardy and ideal to take travelling, very much in keeping with its subject matter. The style may seem long-winded to the modern reader, and it is definitely a product of its time. Thomas Wood's introduction picks up on some of its shortcomings, chiefly the autho...more

This book was long - slow going, not boring though. The text was modern, clever and complete - which is impressive for where this book has originated. Characters were rich, interesting,full of quirks and consistent. The narration was flawless and appropriate. The story was exciting and the enviro...more

To enjoy this book, read a chapter a week. That's about a pleasant pace. Put it down often and really try to imagine the society sights, the sounds, and even the smells.

Don't rush it, don't obsess, I've cost myself some sweet dreams by slogging it out. Not that that was my original intention, my...more

Like many young countries, the first 100 years of Australia's (colonised) history don't yield much in the way of great fiction. You could do a Top 10 list comfortably without missing anything important. Robbery Under Arms must be on that list.

Is it slow-going? Yes. Is it rambling? Certainly, alt...more

Like other books of its age, this moves at a more sedate pace than the modern novel, but still quickly enough to remain enjoyable. There are many aspects which seem to reflect timeless Australian attitudes - the irreverence for the authorities, respect for hard working miners and farmers, etc. It...more

Previous rating 4 stars

Going through my bookshelves doing the annual clean up, as you do, I came across my well worn copy of Robbery Under Arms (one of the few novels I will never 'clean out'). I got to thinking, what rating did I give this and did I ever review it. So on here I come, to see a 4...more

This book was moderately interesting. It's about a man in the bush in Australia in the 1880's. His father had been a convict in England, came to Australia, married a good woman, had two sons, but continued his life of crime. It's an autobiography by one of the sons, written from jail, 30 days bef...more

My impression of Robbery Under Arms is one of appreciation that such a book exists. Boldrewood (or Browne, as that was his actual name) captures the setting and spirit of colonial Australia during the middle of the 19th Century, as it happened. The book captures the feeling of that remote colony...more

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