Discuss the concept of ‘mateship’ with reference to the writers you have read.

After the penal colony came to exist as a reality, with more and more shipments of convicts from British shores, Australia witnessed the emerging phenomenon of bushmen and bushrangers — in the early phase, mostly escaped convicts ranging in the bush. After lonely travels in the daytime through the dry land, the bushrangers settled for the evening and met the fellow – travellers, camped in the bush, and gradually developed a sense of mateship among themselves.

The mateship gradually became a cult phenomenon in the nineteenth century Australia. It acquired the mark of national identity of Australians. Particularly the ballads of Australia celebrated this mateship among bushrangers and horsemen. The sense of mateship permeates the Australian poetry of the nineteenth century : and perhaps this accounts for sympathy and admiration for the escaped convicts who later were idolized as cult figures. One example is the ballad ‘ The Wild Colonial Boy ‘ which will be discussed in detail in the next unit. me ‘ Chorus ‘ stanza of the ballad indicated the first hint of mateship :

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