The Bush

The Bush

The bush is a term used for rural, possibly lawlessclarify, undeveloped land or country areas in many places, such as Australia, New Zealand, Sub-Saharan Africa, Canada, and Alaska.


In Australia the term has a number of distinct meanings, usually clear in context. In reference to the landscape, the term describes any wooded area, generally where eucalypts are present.

From a social and/or political perspective "the Bush" refers to any populated region outside of the major metropolitan areas, including mining and agricultural areas. Consequently it is not unusual to have a mining town in the desert such as Port Hedland (Pop. 14,000) referred to as "The bush" within the media . [ [ GroceryChoice useless for those in the bush] ]

The term bush is also affixed to any number of other entities or activities to describe their rural, country or folk nature, eg "Bush Cricket", "Bush Music", etc.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the term has a more specific connotation — that of isolated, heavily forested countryside, as opposed to the open coastal plains and tussock-covered high country. "Bush" always refers to areas of native trees rather than exotic forests.

Areas with this type of land cover are found predominantly in the South Island, especially in the West Coast region stretching from Fiordland to Nelson, with the east coast having been deforested except for parts of Kaikoura and the Catlins. Much of Stewart Island/Rakiura is bush-covered. In the North Island, the largest areas of bush cover the main ranges stretching north-northeast from Wellington towards East Cape, notably including the Urewera Ranges, and the catchment of the Whanganui River. Significant stands remain in Northland and the ranges running south from the Coromandel Peninsula towards Ruapehu, and isolated remnants cap various volcanoes in Taranaki, the Waikato, the Bay of Plenty and the Hauraki Gulf.

outh Africa

In South Africa, the term has specific connotations of rural areas which are not open veld. Generally it refers to areas in the north of the country that would be called savanna. "Going to The Bush" often refers to going to a game park or game reserve. Areas most commonly referred to as The Bush are the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Lowveld, The Limpopo River Valley, northern Kwa-Zulu Natal or any other similar area of wilderness.

Alaska and Canada

The Bush in Alaska is generally described as any community not "on the road system", making it accessible only by more elaborate transportation. Usage is similar in Canada; it is called "la brousse," or colloquially "le bois," in Canadian French.

Related terms

The term "to go bush" has several similar meanings all connected with the supposed wildness of the bush. It can mean to revert to a feral nature (or to "go native"), and it can also mean to deliberately leave normal surroundings and live rough, with connotations of cutting off communication with the outside world — often as a means of evading capture or questioning by the police. The term "bushwhacker" is used in Australia to mean someone who spends his or her time in the bush.

Another related term used in Australia is "Sydney or the bush", which equates with such terms as "Hollywood or bust" to mean staking total success or failure on one high-risk event."Oxford Companion to Australian Literature", quoted in [] ] "Macquarie Dictionary Book of Australian Slang", quoted in [] ]

In addition, many Vietnam War Veterans refer to the wilderness, jungle or border areas of the theatre of operations as "the bush", as opposed to towns, cities and military bases.

In Australia, in particular within late nineteenth and early twentieth century literature such as by Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, mulga can be an alternate term for the Bush or wilderness regions. For example as in ‘up the mulga’ or as used in the poem "Mulga Bill's Bicycle". [cite book|title = Faces in the Street: Louisa and Henry Lawson and the Castlereagh Street Push|url =|last = Wilson|first = Pip|format = pdf (585 pages)| page = page 523| publisher = Pip Wilson / |date = 2007|id = ISBN 978-0-9803487-0-5]

In New Zealand, "The Bush" is a nickname for the Wairarapa Bush provincial rugby team.

To "bushwhack" has two meanings, one is to cut through heavy brush and other vegetation in order to pass through tangled country: "We had to do quite a bit of bushwhacking today to clear the new trail." The other meaning is to hide in such areas and then attack unsuspecting passers-by: "We were bushwacked by the bandits as we passed through their territory and they took all of our money and supplies."

ee also

*Bush flying
*Bush tucker
*Bush mechanic


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