‘Bush’: A Possible English Dialect Origin for an Australian Term


According to Sidney J. Baker, the term 'bush' arrived in Australia about 1800 'and by 1820 bad more or less completely ousted the English "woods" and "forest" '. R. Dawson in 1830 introduced his English readers to 'the woods, or bush, as it is called here' and ten years earlier Charles Jeffreys had referred to "the Bush Rangers, a species of wandering brigands' in Van Diemen's Land. E. E. Morris adds an example of 'bushranger' from an untraced Sydney newspaper dated as early as 1806. Yet, despite the early arrival of the term 'bush' in Australia, and the subsequent mystique which has surrounded bush themes in Australian literature, there has been little consideration of the origin of the term.

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Published 1 October 1974 in Volume 6 No. 4. Subjects: Australian English, Bush.

Cite as: Martin, Ged. ‘‘Bush’: A Possible English Dialect Origin for an Australian Term.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 6, no. 4, 1974, doi: 10.20314/als.8b173ceb76.