First known date: 1882 Issue Details: First known date: 1882 1882
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Dick Marston narrates the events of his and his brother Jim's association with notorious bushranger Captain Starlight.

Adaptations

y Robbery Under Arms Alfred Dampier , Garnet Walch , Paddington St Lucia : Currency Press Australasian Drama Studies , 1985 Z549990 1890 single work drama (taught in 3 units)
Robbery Over Arms Robbery Under Arms W. Horace Bent , J. Billin , John Lawler , 1891 single work musical theatre burlesque humour

Another of Horace Bent's popular burlesques, Robbery Over Arms sends up the famous Australian novel by Rolf Boldrewood and the dramatic version recently staged by Alfred Dampier. The 1891 production was advertised as being produced 'by arrangement with Rough Bolder(Colling)Wood' (Age 21 February 1891, p.12).

form y Robbery Under Arms Charles MacMahon , Australia : MacMahon's Exquisite Pictures , 1907 Z820517 1907 single work film/TV

Set in the 1850s, Robbery Under Arms is the story of two brothers who follow their father's footsteps into a life of bushranging under the influence of the charismatic Captain Starlight. Told from the perspective of Dick Marston, the narrative sees him and his brother Jim set out on a series of escapades that include theft and robbery under arms. The story also explores the conflicting emotions that Jim experiences as his life leads him further away from his mother and sister and from the life and love that he might have otherwise have experienced.

form y Robbery Under Arms Kenneth Brampton , Australia : Pacific Photo Plays , 1920 Z820533 1920 single work film/TV

In adapting Robbery Under Arms into a feature film, Kenneth Brampton incorporates the major threads of the original story into approximately 60 minutes of storytelling time. The narrative follows the two Marsden brothers through their adventures with the gentlemanly bushranger Captain Starlight, their romance with local girls, their life on the goldfields, and their eventual capture by the police after Starlight is shot. The story differs in the end, however, by having both brothers emerge from years in prison to start new lives with their patiently waiting sweethearts, whereas Boldrewood's novel sees Jim killed by the police.

y Robbery Under Arms Peter Creswell , United Kingdom (UK) : British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) , 1941 8189685 1941 series - publisher radio play historical fiction

An adaptation of Rolf Boldrewood's novel for radio, by British script-writer Peter Creswell.

y Robbery Under Arms Rex Rienits , England : British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) , 1950 6105349 1950 series - publisher radio play crime historical fiction

A BBC radio production of Rolf Boldrewood's 1882 novel, Robbery Under Arms was the first work completed for the BBC by Australian radio writer Rex Rienits after his move to the UK in 1949.

form y Robbery Under Arms Alexander Baron , W. P. Lipscomb , Richard Mason , London : Rank Organisation , 1957 Z820540 1957 single work film/TV Set in the 1850s, Robbery Under Arms is the story of two brothers, Dick and Jim Marston, who follow their father's footsteps into a life of bushranging through the influence of the charismatic Captain Starlight. The narrative sees the brothers set out on a series of escapades that include theft and robbery under arms. The story also explores the conflicting emotions that Jim experiences as his life leads him further away both from his mother and sister and from the life and love that he might have otherwise have experienced.
y Captain Starlight : A Musical Play in Two Acts Paul Sherman , Ian McKinley (composer), 1965 Z860012 1965 single work musical theatre
form y Robbery Under Arms Michael Jenkins , Graeme Koetsveld , Tony Morphett , Adelaide : South Australian Film Corporation , 1985 8091989 1985 series - publisher film/TV

An adaptation of Robbery Under Arms, released as both a feature film and a mini-series: this is the latter version.

form y Robbery Under Arms Tony Morphett , Graeme Koetsveld , Michael Jenkins , Adelaide : South Australian Film Corporation , 1985 Z820546 1985 single work film/TV

Set in the late 1800s, Robbery Under Arms is the story of bushranger Captain Starlight, told from the perspective of young Dick Marsden. Dick and his brother Jim follow their father's footsteps, on the wrong side of the law. After they succumb to the impetuosity of a tossed coin and participate in the theft and subsequent sale of fifteen hundred head of cattle, the pair team up with the mysterious Starlight (the renegade son of a British noble family), and evolve from petty criminals to outlawed bushrangers, terrorising the countryside, often in partnership with their father Ben and Starlight's Aboriginal offsider Warrigal. Throughout this story, the brothers find themselves at odds with both their mother and sister and with the lives they could have otherwise led.

Notes

  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording, e-book.

Contents

* Contents derived from the St Lucia, Indooroopilly - St Lucia area, Brisbane - North West, Brisbane, Queensland,: University of Queensland Press , 2006 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Robbery Under Arms : Introduction (2006), Elizabeth Webby , Paul Eggert , 1882-2006 single work criticism (p. xxiii-lxxxix)
Robbery Under Arms in Montreal, Paul Eggert , Elizabeth Webby , 1882-2006 single work criticism (p. 632-672)
Places in Robbery Under Arms, Julieanne Lamond , 1882-1983 single work prose (p. 693-705)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1882
Serialised by: The Sydney Mail 1860-1938 newspaper (1427 issues)
      1882-1883 .
      Note/s:
      • The novel was first serialised in The Sydney Mail from 1 July 1882 - 11 August 1883.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Remington , 1888 .
      Extent: 3v.p.
      Edition info: 1st ed.

Works about this Work

The Godfather : Peter Corris on Robbery Under Arms Peter Corris , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , April 2016;
Literary Heroes Forgotten Michael Heywood , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 22 January 2012; (p. 9)
Britishness and Australian Popular Fiction : From the Mid-Nineteenth to the Mid-Twentieth Centuries Hsu-Ming Teo , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sold by the Millions : Australia's Bestsellers 2012; (p. 46-66)
'The analysis offered here is [...], a panoptic perspective of the tangled skeins of literary imagination and imitation, gender and genre requirements, editorial control, market considerations and the sheer economics of the international book trade that knotted Australian popular literature into the cultural and economic fabric of the British empire.' (47)
Dick the Poet : 'Allegorical Tendencies' in Robbery under Arms James Dahlstrom , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 26 no. 1 2012; (p. 41-45)
'Rolf Boldrewood's novel Robbery Under Arms is known for its action, adventure and frank depiction of life in Australia during the gold rush. It is also known for its didacticism, which critics tend to find disagreeable (Green 257; Rosenberg 488; Dowsley 75; Turner 240). Despite this recognition, the scholarship that explores the novel's didactic nature is limited to religious scholars like Veronica Brady, who suggests that Dick's narrative represents a surrender to cultural norms rather than an allegory symbolizing a genuine spiritual transformation (41). This paper, however, seeks to create a new discussion that will draw out the Christian-centered 'allegorical tendencies' in Robbery Under Arms.' (Author's introduction)
Caroline and Cyril Keightley : Australian Actors from Bushrangers to Broadway Veronica Kelly , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 34 no. 2 2012; (p. 200-208)
'Multi-media careers in the wider global entertainment market of the United States, Europe and Britain were commonly sustained by Australian-born performers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Such performers indicate something of the international reach of mobile actorly careers in the modern period (Kelly; Dixon & Kelly). Validation through overseas success is also a persistent model of the Australian performer. What then is an ‘Australian’ performer, in an enterprise in which ethnicities and regional identifications are mobile and frequently claimed for interested professional or social purposes? Opportunities and talent, birth, beauty, gender, regional or class identifications, whether assumed, avowed or disavowed — these are the categories which actors must manage as part of their careers and manipulate as elements of their stage personae.' (Publication abstract)
America, the Forbidden Fruit : Anti-American Sentiment in Robbery under Arms James Dahlstrom , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 25 no. 2 2011; (p. 145-150)
James Dahlstrom looks for anti-American sentiment in Rolf Bolderwood's novel, Robbery under Arm. This is achieved by examining the novel 'in its historical context and by placing the author in this historical context and by treating the novel as colonial narrative.' (p. 145)
Dinky-Di : Aussie Dink Bruce Moore , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: Ozwords , October vol. 20 no. 2 2011; (p. 6)
Transpacific or Transatlantic Traffic? Australian Books and American Publishers David Carter , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Reading Across the Pacific : Australia-United States Intellectual Histories 2010; (p. 339-359)
'This paper will attempt to describe the determining factors and structural patterns of relations between Australian books and American publishers from the 19th century to the present. Its central question will be: how did 'Australian books' find their way to American publishers? Can we discern any distinctive patterns over time or for particular genres, or simply an accumulation of one-off cases? To what extent, if at all, did the traffic in Australian books depend on cultural symmetries? Did Australian books travel as Australian or British books? In what ways were they dependent upon relations between Australian (or British) publishers or literary agents and their American counterparts? What role did international copyright regimes or trade agreements play? And how might the American connection change our understanding of 'Australian literature'?' (Author's abstract)
Australian Classics and the Price of Books : The Puzzle of the 1890s Paul Eggert , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , Special Issue 2008; (p. 130-157)
'Feminist accounts of literary canon formation in which male authors typically predominated tend to stress the ideological pressures that marginalised female aspirants for critical attention, both at first publication and then again in ongoing critical debates within influential literary coteries. So it was in the 1980s as feminists sought to account for the overlooking of Australian women novelists (Ada Cambridge, Catherine Martin, Rosa Praed and Tasma), who achieved publication in London in the 1890s but who failed to gain a foothold as 'classics' when a proto-canon of the colonial literary achievement began to be formulated in and after the 1890s. Textual and book-historical research carried out for various scholarly editing projects since the 1980s, once brought together, has opened up the possibility of an empirical, book-historical approach that is very different. The first candidates put forward for elevated status - Henry Kingsley's The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn (1859), Marcus Clarke's His Natural Life (1874) and Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms (1888) - share a remarkable condition. In the year after the 1888 centenary the three novels were available, cheaply, in the bookshops and therefore in the libraries and mechanics institutes, and all at the same time, despite their varying, original dates of publication. The essay explores the implications of this fact, together with the shift in international tastes towards realism, as reflected and adapted in the Australian colonies.' (Author's abstract)
Legendary Australians The Legend and the Legacy Tom Sigley , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Writing Across the Continent 2008;
Thomas Browne/Rolf Boldrewood in Armidale in 1884 J. S. Ryan , 2008 single work biography
— Appears in: Tales from New England 2008; (p. 1-30)
A Desire for Decency Joan H. Macdonald , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Folklore , November no. 23 2008; (p. 84-93)
Robbery Under Arms: A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Australian Goldfields : Rolf Boldrewood (1826-1915) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 8-12)
Textual Criticism and Folklore : The Ned Kelly Story and Robbery Under Arms Paul Eggert , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Script and Print , vol. 31 no. 2 2007; (p. 69-80)
Romance of a Magistrate Michael Kirby , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Quadrant , March vol. 51 no. 3 2007; (p. 92)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Half a Million Not Out Rick Hosking , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 290 2007; (p. 33-34)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled Damien Barlow , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 7 no. 2007; (p. 135-138)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled Peter L. Shillingsburg , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Script and Print , vol. 31 no. 2 2007; (p. 118-122)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
The Reception of Robbery Under Arms in Albury in 1888/89 Dirk H.R. Spennemann , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Margin , April no. 65 2005; (p. 32-35)
Despite Boldrewood living in Albury at the time of Robbery Under Arms' release, the reception of the novel in the town was low key.
A Speculative Venture: Contemporary Art, History and Hill End Amanda Lawson , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 27 no. 1 2005; (p. 140-156)
Lawson's article on the Hill End Group of artists includes reference to the work of Donald Friend and to the portrayal of the goldfields of the area in Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms.
Guns in the Bush 1950 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Week-End Review , 6 April vol. 1 no. 2 1950; (p. 3)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Romance of a Magistrate Michael Kirby , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Quadrant , March vol. 51 no. 3 2007; (p. 92)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Half a Million Not Out Rick Hosking , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , April no. 290 2007; (p. 33-34)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled Damien Barlow , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 7 no. 2007; (p. 135-138)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Robbery Under Arms 1947 single work review
— Appears in: The Cairns Post , 8 November 1947; (p. 4)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled 1948 single work review
— Appears in: The North Queensland Register , 10 January 1948; (p. 4)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled Peter L. Shillingsburg , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Script and Print , vol. 31 no. 2 2007; (p. 118-122)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled O. Thomson , 1970 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 13 June 1970; (p. 19)

— Review of His Natural Life Marcus Clarke 1870-1872 single work novel ; Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
An Australian Classic Thomas William Heney , 1889 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Quarterly Magazine , September 1889; (p. 282-284)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Robbery Under Arms Robert Kaleski , 1935 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 27 November vol. 56 no. 2911 1935; (p. 2,4)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled R. G. Howarth , 1945 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 6 no. 2 1945; (p. 21)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Reviewed Briefly 1949 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 5 October vol. 70 no. 3634 1949; (p. 2)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
My Mother Reared Me Tenderly R. G. Howarth , 1950 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 11 no. 4 1950; (p. 210-211)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Untitled T. Morrison , 1970 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 20 June 1970; (p. 15)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
Rolf Boldrewood's New Novel 1888 single work review
— Appears in: The Centennial Magazine , November vol. 1 no. 4 1888; (p. 272)

— Review of Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia Rolf Boldrewood 1882 single work novel
'A pleasant freshness of incident and treatment runs through the three volumes, and renders them very attractive.'
Killing the Narrator : National Differences in Adaptations of Robbery Under Arms Elizabeth Webby , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 1 no. 2002; (p. 44-50)
This article focuses on the 1957 cinematic adaptation of Boldrewood's novel. Observing that 'an adaptation to another medium of a previously existing text can be seen as a materialised reading, one determined not only by particular technologies, legal regulations and generic conventions prevailing at the time the adaptation is made, each of which places constraints on what can be represented, but by assumptions about audience expectations and values', Webby examines the extent to which these factors also reflect national differences.
Colonialism, Nationalism, Modernism Stephen Cowden , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 25 no. 2 2003; (p. 144-158)
Instead of seeing Such is Life in the traditional terms of a celebratory nationalist narrative, Stephen Cowden seeks to locate it within the historical social conflicts of its time. As these issues are still very much alive today, he believes that a re-reading of the novel in this sense assist a greater understanding of the social contours through which Australian identity has been developed.
Currency Lasses and a Police Villain in the 'Lawless Kelly' Bushranger Myth J. S. Ryan , 1986 single work criticism
— Appears in: Margin , no. 16 1986; (p. 15-29)
Robbery Under Arms : The Colonial Market, Imperial Publishers, and the Demise of the Three-Decker Novel Paul Eggert , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Book History , vol. 6 no. 2003; (p. 127-146)
Robbery Under Arms : Our Most Famous Bushranger Deserved His Fate - Hanging - But His Exploits Made a Great Story A. C. Fraser , 1942 single work biography
— Appears in: Salt , 20 July vol. 4 no. 3 1942; (p. 2-6)
Untitled Dusty Bob , 1946 single work column
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 1 May vol. 67 no. 3455 1946;
'Dusty Bob' takes issue with Rolf Boldrewood's portrayal of cattle duffers in Robbery Under Arms.
Information Supplied C. H. R. (fl. 1910-1958) , 1958 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 26 February vol. 79 no. 4072 1958;
What's That You Say? : Kelly C. H. Regelsen , 1942 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Salt , 17 August vol. 4 no. 7 1942; (p. 36)
The characters of the Marston brothers, who feature largely in Boldrewood's novel, were drawn from two young men who lived in the district. Starlight was drawn from an Englishman on a nearby gold field.
The Reception of Robbery Under Arms in Albury in 1888/89 Dirk H.R. Spennemann , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Margin , April no. 65 2005; (p. 32-35)
Despite Boldrewood living in Albury at the time of Robbery Under Arms' release, the reception of the novel in the town was low key.
Round the World 1947 single work column
— Appears in: The Australasian Book News and Literary Journal , September vol. 2 no. 3 1947; (p. 168)
Untitled Dusty Bob , 1946 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 15 May vol. 67 no. 3457 1946;
Some Early Australian Novels Valuable 1936 single work column
— Appears in: All About Books , 13 January vol. 8 no. 1 1936; (p. 9)
Robbery Under Arms : Introduction (2006) Elizabeth Webby , Paul Eggert , 1882-2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia 2006; (p. xxiii-lxxxix)
Robbery Under Arms in Montreal Paul Eggert , Elizabeth Webby , 1882-2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Robbery Under Arms : A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia 2006; (p. 632-672)
A Speculative Venture: Contemporary Art, History and Hill End Amanda Lawson , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 27 no. 1 2005; (p. 140-156)
Lawson's article on the Hill End Group of artists includes reference to the work of Donald Friend and to the portrayal of the goldfields of the area in Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms.
The Bibliographic Life of an Australian Classic : Robbery Under Arms Paul Eggert , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Script and Print , vol. 29 no. 1-4 2005; (p. 73-92)
Robbery Under Arms: A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Australian Goldfields : Rolf Boldrewood (1826-1915) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 8-12)
Australian Classics and the Price of Books : The Puzzle of the 1890s Paul Eggert , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , Special Issue 2008; (p. 130-157)
'Feminist accounts of literary canon formation in which male authors typically predominated tend to stress the ideological pressures that marginalised female aspirants for critical attention, both at first publication and then again in ongoing critical debates within influential literary coteries. So it was in the 1980s as feminists sought to account for the overlooking of Australian women novelists (Ada Cambridge, Catherine Martin, Rosa Praed and Tasma), who achieved publication in London in the 1890s but who failed to gain a foothold as 'classics' when a proto-canon of the colonial literary achievement began to be formulated in and after the 1890s. Textual and book-historical research carried out for various scholarly editing projects since the 1980s, once brought together, has opened up the possibility of an empirical, book-historical approach that is very different. The first candidates put forward for elevated status - Henry Kingsley's The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn (1859), Marcus Clarke's His Natural Life (1874) and Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms (1888) - share a remarkable condition. In the year after the 1888 centenary the three novels were available, cheaply, in the bookshops and therefore in the libraries and mechanics institutes, and all at the same time, despite their varying, original dates of publication. The essay explores the implications of this fact, together with the shift in international tastes towards realism, as reflected and adapted in the Australian colonies.' (Author's abstract)
Rolf Boldrewood 1926 single work essay biography
— Appears in: The Brisbane Courier , 7 August 1926; (p. 6)
Robbery under Arms and 'The Appearance of Being Built up from a Factual Article' J. S. Ryan , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: Biblionews and Australian Notes & Queries , December vol. 17 no. 4 1992; (p. 101-110)
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