|'Down on his luck'' by Frederick McCubbin. 1889*|
The Australian bush is a wooded area, between a shrubland and a forest, generally of dry soil, almost without grass, with woody shrubs and bushes, under eucalyptus trees.
The bush is uniquely Australian and very different to the green landscapes known by many of the first Europeans to arrive in Australia. Between 1788 and 1868 around 150, 000 convicts arrived in Australia from the United Kingdom.
The Australian climate and geography was generally seen as harsh by those arriving who were not accustomed to the harsh climate. There was low levels of rainfall, poor soils, mountainous land forms and vegetation that were hard to travel.
Human survival in the bush is legendary with stories of Aboriginal trackers and bushrangers, such as Ben Hall and Ned Kelly, who were seen as rebellious outlaws who could live well in the bush.
* The painting shows a swagman, sitting by his campfire, thinking of his misfortune.