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…


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…


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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…


  • Ettie In Eldorado

    8th August 2014 The Girl Who Loved Ned Kelly There was movement at Eldorado, for the word had passed around, that Paul O’Keefe was coming to their town. What he was bringing was worth more than a thousand pounds; he was bringing with him a story of a love, a love between his Great, Great, […]

  • Tuesday, November 16th 1880

    MR D. GAUNSON AND THE CONVICT KELLY The following is the petition which has been prepared at Ballarat with a view to directing the attention of the assembly to Mr. Gaunson’s conduct in connexion with the Kelly reprieve agitation. The Ballarat Star states that the petition has been largely signed by persons of all shades […]

  • A Heritage Disgrace

    Australian heritage? I don’t know what the hell is happening to this country. It seems like any building that is more than a hundred years old the Government wants to either tear it down or flog it off. Why the blazes we give money to these so called Heritage departments is beyond me. To me […]

  • Glenrowan Siege 2003 Commemorative Dinner

    I Wore Joe Byrne’s Helmet Some Aussie kids dream of becoming AFL footballers, Olympic athletes, rock stars, world-renowned scientists, or this country’s first republican President. (Ned would love that!) I must admit that I had similar dreams as a kid too. But I also dreamt of wearing one of the Kelly Gang’s iron helmets. It […]

  • Saturday, November 6th 1880

    THE CONDEMNED BUSHRANGER A meeting was held last evening at the Hippodrome for the purpose of taking into consideration the case of the convict KELLY, now lying in the Melbourne Gaol under sentence of death. For the credit of Melbourne, we regret to say that many thousands were present to express sympathy with one of […]

  • Wednesday, October 30th 1878

    Bushranging In Victoria Further particulars of interest of interest regarding the murders of police troopers at Stringybark Creek are telegraphed from Mansfield by our special reporter, and will be found elsewhere. One of the expeditions returned yesterday with the report that a prolonged search had been made in the ranges for Sergeant Kennedy, with no […]

  • Dark Brew

    Michele Eve I knew he had to die. Him or me. Fuck it. Both. I am sure of that now. But I knew even before I let meself think it, weeks more it was before I said as much to Ned. Time when I would sit and wonder how that would be, what I would […]

  • Tuesday, July 6th 1880

    A KELLY INCIDENT Our Wangaratta correspondent writes:― “In order to show the manner and extent of the terrorism which has so long prevailed in this district, I may mention an occurrence which took place in the immediate neighbourhood of Wangaratta some months ago. Even now the facts have not been disclosed by the police, but […]

  • Chit Chat About The Kellys

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) There are many forgotten stories hidden in the newspapers from the days of the notorious and bold Kelly Gang. Tall tales and true, to thrill and delight; this is the first of an occasional series of lost words from the pages of history.The following article was published in newspapers across Australia; […]

  • A Desperado’s Capture

    Harry Power 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 […]

  • ‘Insidious’ The Kelly Doco Debacle

    Outlawed: The Real Ned Kelly Less than 40 hours after the screening of Outlawed: The Real Ned Kelly on Wednesday August 6, I received a phone call from Kelly aficionado Ian Jones. Ian said that he had been overrun with calls from people whom he said had been “confused or irritated, if not angered” by […]

  • John Kelly Real Estate

    Properties Bought and Sold When we read the story of Ned Kelly and his family, which I believe to be a rather tragic one, we really don’t get the opportunity to learn all that much about the patriarch, John (Red) Kelly. All we know is; he was born in 1820, came out to the colony […]

  • Man And Myth

    Michael Fitzgerald More than a century after his execution, bushranger Ned Kelly continues to inspire a distinctly Australian iconography.For the thousands of visitors now streaming into the State Library of Victoria’s newly opened Ned Kelly exhibit in Melbourne, little if any attention is given to the bronze statue standing in the forecourt outside. It is […]

  • Bushrangers

    Julian Burnside In the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, Rolf Boldrewood is quoted 184 times in illustration of about 160 words. Appropriately so. Boldrewood (Thomas Alexander Browne, 1826 – 1915) was the first Australian author to capture faithfully the emerging Australian variant of the English language. Although born in London, he came to […]

  • Ned’s Head Read

    The Art of ‘Bumpology’ Ever since the good ol’ pioneer days, many of us seem to have inherited this morbid fascination for bushrangers and murderers … No? Okay, maybe it’s just me. But to be honest; how many of you have stared for ages at the death masks of criminals past and photographs of bodies […]

  • Thursday, July 1st 1880

    DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG 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 […]

  • Ned Would Have Been A Top Cop

    Kelly expert Ian Jones reveals all Here’s a special treat for all Kelly buffs, but especially those of the hard-core variety. Here we have, in full, an exclusive, in-depth interview with the man who knows more about the Kelly Gang than any other living soul. His name is Ian Jones. During the hour-long interview, Jones […]

  • Thursday, November 25th 1880

    THE POLICE AND THE KELLY GANG The following letter has been addressed by Mr. Graves, M. L. A., as representative of Delatite, to the Chief Secretary:―“November 20, 1880.“The Hon. Graham Berry, Premier of Victoria.“Dear Sir.―As the representative of the people of the county of Delatite, I have repeatedly, during the last two years, pointed out […]

  • Friday, November 12th 1880

    THE EXECUTION OF EDWARD KELLY Edward Kelly was executed yesterday morning, in the Melbourne Gaol. The execution took place at 10 o’clock, in the presence of about 30 persons, and as the doomed man had a fall of 8ft. death was instantaneous. The customary forms were duly observed, and the usual inquest was held on […]

  • Siege Site Sieged Once Again

    Famous little block of dirt Well folks, it’s all happening once again in the small town of Glenrowan. The famous little block of dirt where the Ann Jones Inn once stood and where people lost their lives is to be trampled over once more. This time it’s for the sake of film. When I visited […]

  • Kelly Homestead, Beveridge

    Statement of Significance – Why is this place important? The Kelly homestead at Beveridge, Victoria, comprises a timber cottage built by Ned’s father John ‘Red’ Kelly in January 1859 when his son was approximately four years old. It was a typical Irish style of cottage with an earthen floor and drainage running between rooms. Internally there […]

  • Ned Kelly – Scum Or Hero?

    Greta Baumgartel How do we define a hero? Is it the things he achieves that makes a man a hero, or the fact that he tries to do what he thought was right? Can you still be a hero if you make mistakes trying to right wrongs?Ned Kelly’s family were Irish, and historically the Catholic […]

  • Ned Kelly And The Emergence Of Technology

    Brad Webb Beechworth Courthouse2pm August 2nd, 2008Good afternoon everyone, my name is Brad Webb and I run the web site. I’d like to welcome you all to the famous Beechworth Courthouse and thank you for attending what I hope will be an informative event. And if not then look on the bright side, I’ve […]

  • Friday, November 15th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Thursday, 1o P.M.There has been absolutely nothing doing here to-day. None of the search parties that are out have sent in any information as to their movements. There is no doubt that the weather that prevailed during the past week has been very favourable to the […]

  • Wednesday, July 21st 1880

    MR CURNOW’S STATEMENT 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 […]

  • Will The Real Joe Byrne Please Step Forward?

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) Yuletide Felicitations to all Kellyites!! And congratulations and thank you to Paul O’Keefe for his courageous raising of the “is it or isn’t it Joe Byrne?” debate. I too have puzzled over this perplexing issue, sometimes agreeing, other times wondering how it could be the same man as the verifiable image […]

  • Letter by T.H. Cameron

    Letter to his brother concerning his capture by the Kelly Gang Original held by The Mitchell Library, SydneyDonated by grandson in 1947Note: T. H. Cameron was 16 years old at the time of writing this letterGlenrowan 8 July 1880My Dear Brother,You requested me in your last letter to give you the full details of how […]

  • The Fake Ned Photo: The Other Side Of The Story

    Ian Jones’ reaction to the Gentleman Ned photo controversy Ian Jones – in his own wordsMuch has been written and debated about the fake Gentleman Ned photograph, which was believed to have shown Ned Kelly in his honest, hard-working years and was sold at auction by Christie’s for $19,080 on March 26, only to be […]

  • Friday, April 23rd 1880

    THE POLICE MEMORIAL AT MANSFIELD 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 […]

  • Why Dig Up The Past?

    Digging Up Glenrowan I don’t know about you guys, but I still can’t seem to get my head around all this digging going on at Glenrowan. First it was the archaeological excavation of the battle ground that ran from the railway station to the Glenrowan Inn, and now it’s poor old Mrs. Jones Inn. We […]


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 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…


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, 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…


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…


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.