The invention of Jack the Devil – Bushranger

Before Jack became the infamous bushranger he is in “The Bushranger’s Wife”, he started out as Jack the Devil – boy bushranger.

I originally wrote Jack as a secondary character in my first Australian historical “The Girl from Eureka”. But Jack’s larger than life personality made me fall in love with him and he just had to have his own story.

In “The Bushranger’s Wife”, Jack has been terrorising the highways of Victoria for more than six years. While he still enjoys the freedom of roaming the Central Highlands, he’s starting to feel there might just be more to life when he comes across Pru and her acidic and formidable grandmother. Read the blurb for “The Bushranger’s Wife” . . .

But back in 1854, Jack had yet to turn twenty and was just graduating from petty thievery to bushranging. His close friendship with the heroine of the story Indy, meant he looked out for her and her mother. When Indy falls for British soldier Will, Jack has to push aside his own crush on her to help her and her soldier boy find their happy ending. A complete rascal Jack adds some light-hearted moments to the story as evidenced here in this scene from “The Girl from Eureka” where we meet Jack for the first time at a ball in the mining town of Ballarat.

‘Jack Fairweather! What in the name of Victoria and Albert do you do here?’
‘What?’’ he asked, holding on to the lapels of his coat and raising his nose high in the air to give off the appropriate amount of snoot. ‘A man of the highway cannot attend a ball?’
‘A man of the highway by any other name would spell bushranger.’ Indy kept her voice low, so as not to be heard by the crowd. 
‘And being so, I have money to burn,’ he said as they wandered back into the main tent. ‘Granted most of the money was theirs once,’ he said, waving a hand at the crowd. ‘But let’s not quibble over a small technicality such as that.’
‘And where did you get that suit?’ she asked, chuckling again as she looked him over. Jack was a handsome fellow, a year younger than herself. Pale brown eyes were topped with long lashes, his russet hair hung longer than current fashions dictated, but Jack Fairweather would care little for that. His inability to grow a decent beard meant his baby face gave him an edge on the highway. Who would believe such a fresh-faced young man could be a dangerous bushranger?
‘I liberated this fine article of clothing from an American gentleman coming in from Melbourne for the ball.’ Indy struggled to contain her laughter as she saw that the suit pants didn’t quite reach his ankles.
‘So it’s a little small.’ He shrugged against the tightness of the jacket. ‘I couldn’t exactly measure the man while I was robbing him, could I?

‘No, because that would be rude.’

“The Bushranger’s Wife” is available now in ebook and will be released in print in early January 2021 at all the usual bricks and mortar bookstores and you can pre-purchase now online.

You can also buy “The Girl from Eureka” in print as a bind up with Darry Fraser’s “Daughter of the Murray” called “Rebel Daughters”.