Ned Kelly: Australian Iron Outlaw

Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly was expert with a ‘running-iron’ on stolen, unbranded stock, and was a deadly accurate shot with revolver or rifle. Surprisingly articulate for a self-educated man, he was clannish, loyal to his friends and supporters, and had a sardonic sense of humour. He became an outlaw, hunted for almost two years before he was shot down and hanged…


Countless books, novels, periodicals, journals, magazines, screen plays, and the like have been written on Ned Kelly, Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly, and Steve Hart. Why, who, when, where, whatever. As long as it made a dollar for the author, which nearly all invariably have thanks to Australia and the rest of the world’s thirst for Kelly trivia…


While I’m sure everyone is aware the State Library of Victoria holds Ned Kelly’s armour, and the Jerilderie Letter, you may not be aware of other significant Kelly Gang events, relics and resources waiting to be rediscovered in country towns, museums, art galleries, theatres, and halls across this big brown land of ours…


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The Gang

Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were part of the Kelly Gang because they happened to be around on the day of the Stringybark killings. On another day the gang could have been made up from an entirely different cast including Tom Lloyd, Ned’s cousin, or Wild Wright, Ned’s mischievous Mansfield mate, or even Aaron Sherritt


Sidney Nolan began his best known series of works based on Ned Kelly and the bushranger legend in 1945, which were exhibited in Paris in 1948. For the next thirty years Nolan travelled and exhibited extensively. He donated many works throughout his later years, including the Kelly paintings to the National Gallery of Australia…


  • Thursday, July 8th 1880

    Destruction Of the Kelly GangNo event that has occurred in the colony for some time past has excited a greater degree of interest in Victoria and the neighbouring colonies than the annihilation, under circumstances of an extraordinarily tragic nature, of the gang of outlawed bushrangers and murderers known as the Kelly gang. It will be […]

  • Clive Turnbull’s View On The Kelly Outbreak

    source: C. Turnbull, ‘Introduction’Hawthorn PressMelbourne, 1942, pp. 3-5, 8-19.Ned Kelly is the best known Australian, our only folk hero. The explorers, the administrators, the colonial politicans, are little more than names on the map. What sort of people they were the average citizen neither knows nor cares. Men of eminence nearer to our own day, […]

  • Thursday, July 1st 1880

    The excitement created by the latest news with respect to the Kelly gang had not abated to any great extent yesterday, when exaggerated reports were circulated with regard to the proceedings of some of the relatives and friends of the Kellys. The full reports published elsewhere show that there were signs of disorder at Greta, […]

  • Interview With Author Noelene Allen

    Alan CrichtonTanswells Commercial Hotel, Beechworth8th February 2010Noelene, when did you first get interested in the life of Ellen Kelly? I was asked by Richard Skinner then Beechworth Historic Precinct Manager around 2002 to research a woman who had links to the courthouse to organise story boards, displays, tours etc and after a lot of research one […]

  • Wednesday, July 21st 1880

    The chief commissioner of police has received the following report from Mr. Curnow, late schoolmaster at Glenrowan, of his proceedings in connexion with the Kelly gang:―“On Sunday morning, 27th June, at about 11 o’clock, Mrs. Curnow, my sister, brother-in-law, and myself were out for a drive, when, in passing through Stanistreet’s railway gates, we were […]

  • Thursday, August 12th 1880

    Whoever else may have been guilty of a neglect of duty with regard to the Kelly gang, the fault cannot certainly be imputed to the ex-Chief Secretary, Mr. RAMSAY. And one of the wisest of the acts of that gentleman was the order that the prisoner, EDWARD KELLY, shall not be indiscriminately visited. No doubt […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2009

    Well folks, the Ned Kelly weekend has come and gone for yet another year, and again I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I suppose, like many other like minded Kelly enthusiasts, we were all a little sceptical of how the event would turn out this year with the introduction of the new organising […]

  • Tuesday, April 27th 1880

    Mr. Ramsay, the Chief Secretary, visited Mansfield on the 21st inst. to be present at the unveiling of the monument erected by public subscription to the memory of Police-sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan and Scanlan, who were murdered by the Kelly gang in the Wombat Ranges on the 26th October, 1878. The hon. gentleman was […]

  • Friday, April 23rd 1880

    Mansfield, Thursday.The heavy rain which set in yesterday morning still continue.At the Police Court this morning before Messrs. Kitchen, Tomkins, and Shaw, J.P.’s, Edward Monk, late of the Wombat, who, it will be remembered, caused much sensation by declaring that he had been shot at by some of the Kelly gang, and whose saddle was […]

  • Hard As Stone

    In the end I can’t leave his place, can’t leave his body. It is done and I want it not to be- or to do it again I am not rightly sure to tell the truth. After all that time of thinking and now it is done.You bastards…bloody cowards. Come out!A crash as the crockery […]

  • Saturday, December 21st 1878

    (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Friday, 9 P.M.Another quiet day has passed, without a single sensational rumour relative to the whereabouts of the Kelly gang having been received. Another party of troopers left the township towards evening, but their destination was kept secret. The number of detectives at Wangaratta was also strengthened during the […]

  • Saturday, July 3rd 1880

    It has transpired since … to the Kelly gang. At … night Edward Kelly was … Castieau, the governor of the Melbourne Gaol, to be progressing favourably. In the afternoon he was interviewed by Mr. Ramsay, the Chief Secretary, who was accompanied by Mr. Odgers, the Under-secretary. Nothing of importance transpired, neither the outlaw nor […]

  • Ned and Dan Kelly’s Remains

    My name is Neil Hamilton and I think I have something which may be of interest to you and your readers. Here in South Africa we have, in our family museum, a lock of hair that was supposedly cut from Ned Kelly’s head an hour after his execution by a Dr B. C. Hutchinson.We also have […]

  • A Letter To Thomas

    My dear, dear McIntyre, I have just finished reading your memoirs, and my good fellow, what a read it is. I must admit, I have not sighted any material such as this since reading your colleague’s, Mounted Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick, Police report on the attempted murder of himself by those dastardly Kellys on the 15th […]

  • Friday, November 8th 1878

    (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Thursday, 8 P.M.The police have had information respecting the Kelly gang in their possession during the past day or two, but it was not considered desirable to make use of it, owing to its doubtful character, until yesterday, when corroborative reports were received, and it was then felt that […]

  • Saturday, November 13th 1880

    The Fortified Hut Of The GangThe following description of the fortified retreat of the Kelly gang is supplied by a trustworthy correspondent:―Leaving Melbourne one day last week, I took a train to Longwood, and from thence coached it to Mansfield, the township which derived so much notoriety through the outbreak of the Kelly gang. Procuring […]

  • Friday, October 29th 1880

    The trial of Edward Kelly for the murder of Constable Lonigan on the 28th October, 1878, at Stringybark-Creek, was commenced yesterday before his honour Mr. Justice Redmond Barry, at the Central Criminal Court. The court was filled with jurors and others before the opening hour. Mr. C. A. Smyth and Mr. Chomley appeared for the […]

  • The McCormick Incident

    He also had an argument with another bloke and because of this he knew that the man and his wife were trying to have children, unsuccessfully. So what he did was send a pair of calf testicles to the wife, with a note saying ‘These will be more use to you’. This shows what a […]

  • Like A Moth To The Flame

    How does a 21st century American woman fall in love with a couple of 19th century Australian outlaws? Quite easily actually! But why? Perhaps there is something special or different and exotic or romantic about someone the further away they are from you in either space or time… And the Kelly Gang fits the bill […]

  • A Desperado’s Capture

    Told by HimselfA Sensational AutobiographyThe Brisbane Courier20 December 1890Harry Power had a long career as a bushranger, defying capture in a daring manner, robbing freely and shedding no blood, except on one occasion, when he wounded a trooper. While no name is more prominent than his in the list of Australian freebooters, he never took […]


No one is ever likely to know just what considerations influenced the Kelly Gang in the months preceding the battle of Glenrowan. If the shroud that surrounded so much of their lives was dark, then the reticence that enveloped relatives and friends following the climax of their story was darker still…

Jerilderie Letter

Originally penned in 1879 by Joe Byrne as dictated to him by Ned Kelly, this letter was first published in the 1948 edition of Max Brown’s Australian Son. Introducing it, Brown said, ‘Following is an 8,300 word statement I have called The Jerilderie Letter. This is the document Kelly handed to Living. The text is from a copy of the original letter…


If you are serious about touring Kelly Country you’ll want to explore the region for more than one day. While Ned’s place in Australian history is assured, few plaques or icons mark the significant sites involved in the making of the legend. But that is not to say they do not exist…


While attempting to list every web related document published in the name of Ned Kelly would result in a long stint inside a padded cell, we have tried to highlight online stories which can be accessed by a tap of the finger. Here you’ll find announcements, newspaper reports, etc., all eager to add – good or bad – to the ever expanding Kelly story…


Featured in this section are a number of ‘interesting’ Ned Kelly related videos including live action and animation referenced from a number of online resources including YouTube and Vimeo which have now been made available all in one location for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure)…


When Constable Fitzpatrick fired his police issued Webley revolver inside the Kelly homestead during the botched attempt to arrest Dan Kelly for horse stealing, it signalled the start of the Kelly outbreak. For the next twenty months, rifles and revolvers would be used on both sides of the law to devastating effect…


Ever since inception in the mid 90s this web site has received a steady stream of viewer feedback – nearly five thousand emails at last count. So feel free to offer suggestions, compliments, questions or criticisms. And if you’re keen to read what has been said before then check out our feedback archives

Real Villains

Prior to the Kelly Outbreak and well into the 1881 Royal Commission, the police force, in particular the senior management, were constantly called into question. Little wonder when you discover the Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police Captain Standish, emigrated to Australia from England under a false name in a bid to escape massive gambling debts…


Ned Kelly was the subject for the world’s first feature film made in Australia in 1906. The Story of the Kelly Gang has been added to a United Nations heritage register, joining a list of fewer than 200 items on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register, including the family archives of Swedish philanthropist Alfred Nobel and the official trial records of Nelson Mandela…


Ned Kelly, Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly, and Steve Hart have all seen their fair share of paperwork relating to that infamous outbreak. Our archives section is an ever expanding selection of the more fascinating and freely available pieces of information (reports, telegrams, letters, warrants, notices, etc.) which we’re sure you will find interesting…


Here in Australia, Irish music and the Kelly legend go hand in hand, and so they should. Even as Ned’s Gang roamed North East Victoria, ballads were being sung in pubs all around the bush. Today, songs like Poor Ned by Redgum, Kate Kelly by The Whitlams, and If Ned Kelly Were King by Midnight Oil have all contributed to keeping the story alive…

Kelly Country

Ned Kelly was born in June 1855 to a proud Irish Catholic family whose resentment of the British set the precedent for his life. Washed deep with the convict stain, Ned’s destiny was cast in a defiant mold. The story of his short life was one that saw Ned and his gang take on corrupt police, greedy land barons and an ignorant government in a quest to change their world for the better. Wrongly accused, they survived a deadly shoot out with police in 1878 that resulted in Ned, his brother Dan, and their mates Joe Byrne and Steve Hart, being declared outlaws with the largest reward ever offered in the British Empire for their capture – dead or alive. Over the next eighteen months the Kelly Gang held up two country towns and robbed their banks, without firing a single shot; wrote numerous essays, including the famed Jerilderie Letter, explaining their actions; and became folk heroes to an emerging nation. Their grand plan to derail a special police train and declare a republic of North East Victoria came to a fiery end in Glenrowan when they donned their famous but cumbersome armour against an overwhelming police presence. By 11 November, 1880 the era of the Kelly Gang drew to a close when Ned, after a brief trial, was hanged. Yet the legacy of his life and the chord he struck within a young country, unwilling to bend to injustice, saw Ned Kelly become Australia’s most enduring legend.