Rolf Boldrewood (T. A. Browne) was one of the best-known novelists of nineteenth-century Australia. Robbery Under Arms brought him a national and an international audience. It became a household name, and has remained in print since 1889.
Boldrewood was the first novelist to create specifically Australian characters. He was one of the chief spokesmen for 'old' (pre-goldrush) Australia; for pastoral Australia; and above all, for conservative Australia.
Browne had three careers: as a pioneer squatter; civil servant and writer and epitomised the pioneer colonist who experiences sudden reversals of fortune. Research, shows that he was not merely the sunny, hopeful and genial man portrayed in earlier studies, but rather an impulsive, extravagant, at times thoughtless optimist, whose Micawber-like temperament enabled him to escape being crushed by his ill-judged decisions.
Browne used his own life and experiences as raw material for his novels, but his career was in many ways far grimmer than most of his fiction.