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Drawing back the veil of the Australian bushranger myth

The Australian bushranger myth is the topic of the National Book Council Tasmania's October event. Jeanette M. Thompson, author of Bone and Beauty: The Ribbon Boys Rebellion (UQP: 2020) will illuminate the research that led to her writing the story of a forgotten convict rebellion. During her residency* at Patterdale, she discovered a familiar story of punishment and rebellion among the government servants. Using case studies of early Tasmanian and mainland bushrangers, Jeanette draws back the veil of the Australian Bushranger myth. Come along to the National Book Council event to hear Jeanette share on Wednesday October 20 at 1:15pm, at the Launceston Library. RSVP is essential due to Covid-19 regulations. Email

Jeanette M. Thompson Jeanette graduated as Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney. Bone and Beauty grew out of Jeanette’s research into Australian colonial history and creative nonfiction writing. She has been a lecturer in Children’s Literature, Charles Sturt University, and a tutor for the Family History Unit, University of Tasmania. Her research and community writing have explored ways of making history accessible and engaging for a wide variety of audiences.

Bone and Beauty: The Ribbon Boys Rebellion 1830. Rebelling from years of maltreatment and starvation, a band of Ribbon Boys liberate eighty convicts from Bathurst farms and lead them inland towards freedom. Governor Darling, fearing that others will also rise up, sends the 39th Regiment in pursuit. Three bloody battles follow, but to whom will justice be served? Rich with detail, Bone and Beauty fuses archival evidence and narrative technique to tell the gripping story of the Ribbon Boys and their reputed leader Ralph Entwistle. For the first time, the influence of Irish secret societies, the scale of oppression and corruption, and the complex web of criminal and family relationships behind these events are revealed.

"The convict uprising at Bathurst in 1830 has been almost completely forgotten. Jeanette M. Thompson has brought the story back from obscurity in a most lively and readable way. She has combined serious research with imaginative fair."HENRY REYNOLDS


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