Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how rural outlaws, known in the Australian context as bushrangers, impacted on the introduction of itinerant teaching in sparsely settled areas under the Council of Education in the colony of New South Wales. In July 1867 the evolving process for establishing half-time schools was suddenly disrupted when itinerant teaching diverged down an unexpected and uncharted path. As a result the first two itinerant teachers were appointed and taught in an irregular manner that differed significantly from regulation and convention. The catalyst was a series of events arising from bushranging that was prevalent in the Braidwood area in the mid-1860s.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on archival sources, particularly sources within State Archives and Records NSW, further contemporary sources such as reports and newspapers; and on secondary sources.
Findings: The paper reveals the circumstances which led to the implementation of an unanticipated form of itinerant teaching in the “Jingeras”; the impact of rural banditry or bushranging, on the nature and conduct of these early half-time schools; and the processes of policy formation involved.
Originality/value: This study is the first to explore the causes behind the marked deviation from the intended form and conduct of half-time schools that occurred in the Braidwood area of 1860s New South Wales. It provides a detailed account of how schooling was employed to counter rural banditry, or bushranging, in the Jingeras and provided significant insight into the education policy formation processes of the time.