E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Escaped convicts who have taken refuge in the Australian bush, and subsist by plunder.
The bushrangers at first were absentees [i.e. escaped convicts] who were soon allured or driven to theft and violence. So early as 1808 they had, by systematic robbery, excited feelings of alarm.West: Tasmania.