Bolts and Bars single work   novella  
Issue Details: First known date: 1906 1906
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The protagonist is an educated man and expert horse-breaker, who through an inner compulsion, lives a Jeckyll and Hyde existence, stealing horses in Western Queensland. He is soon caught by the police, and ends up in Boggo Road gaol, and then St. Helena prison, in Moreton Bay. On release, he returns to Western Queensland, and then Northern New South Wales, where he falls in with a hardened outlaw and horse thief.


  • Steele Rudd was obviously impressed with 'Bolts and Bars' (or at least initially). In the lengthy note which accompanied the first instalment, he wrote: 'In presenting the first chapter of this short serial to the readers of Steele Rudd's Magazine, the editor does not hesitate to say that as a realistic contribution to Australian literature it outrivals Robbery Under Arms, and takes a high place beside the best work of Marcus Clarke. The MSS., a bundle of ill-arranged scraps of soiled paper, covered with indistinct pencil notes, reached this office with the following note appended : "I can imagine the astonishment, if not the mortification, the sight of these illegibly written lines will provoke if ever they reach you. Please read them ; they may repay the labour of perusal. They are original in every particular, true in every detail. I have written them for no other purpose that to earn whatever they are worth, to invest the proceeds in books which willl enable me to revive the impress of a former education...They are written purposely for Steele Rudd's Magazine. If you accept I shall be delighted ; if they be damned I shall not be disappointed." '
  • 'Bolts and Bars' ran in Steele Rudd's Magazine between March and October 1906. The October instalment was noted 'To be Continued', however it appears that the author ceased writing at this point, leaving the work unfinished. An item in the 'Correspondents' Column' in the June 1907 issue (p. 364) advised readers : ' "Bolts and Bars" unfortunately remains in abeyance, because the writer of that excellent serial, last heard of on the Barcoo, Western Queensland, is at present non est inventus.'

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1906
Serialised by: Steele Rudd's Magazine 1903 periodical (42 issues)
Serialised in eight monthly instalments in Steele Rudd's Magazine between March 1906 and October 1906.
Last amended 29 Oct 2008
  • Western Queensland, Queensland,
  • Toowoomba, Toowoomba area, Darling Downs, Queensland,
  • Brisbane, Queensland,
  • Moreton Bay, Brisbane - South East, Brisbane, Queensland,
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