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…


  • Ned Kelly Beechworth Weekend 2006

    Brad Webb August 4th, 5th and 6th, 2006On Friday night, to kick start the Inaugural Ned Kelly Beechworth Weekend, Paul O’Keefe organised a meet and greet dinner at the Hibernian Hotel. This favourite haunt of Joe Byrne was a great place to catch up with about thirty of our closest friends. With a few donations […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2008

    1st, 2nd, and 3rd August Friday It was 3.45 am Friday when my alarm clock had me springing like a gazelle from my warm bed. Under normal circumstances such a ridiculous hour on a winter’s morning would have had me curling deeper into my blanket, but I knew this was the start of the Ned […]

  • Thursday, November 21st 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The Chief Secretary repeated yesterday the statement that Captain Standish is arming the police as rapidly as possible. Mr. Berry on Tuesday passed an account of £500 for firearms furnished recently to the force.The Chief Secretary, at the instance of Mr. Graves, has promised that the families of the police officers who […]

  • My Visit To The Asylum

    Ghosts! Lucky to get out alive! Since my relocation to Kelly Country I have made several excursions to the historical town of Beechworth seeking out yarns of Kelly from loosened tongues of inebriated patrons in the various public houses. It was on such an excursion and after several ales that I found, for some unknown […]

  • Friday, December 27th 1878

    THE ATROCIOUS MURDERS OF POLICE Outrage At EuroaIt is now over two months since the police camp in the Wombat Ranges was attacked by the Kelly gang of bushrangers, and the three policeman murdered. Not only have the four murderers successfully evaded a large number of police who were sent immediately in pursuit, but they […]

  • Clive Turnbull’s View On The Kelly Outbreak

    Ned Kelly: Being His Own Story of His Life and Crimes 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 […]

  • Monday, November 8th 1880

    THE CONDEMNED BUSHRANGER In accordance with the understanding arrived at on Friday night at the Hippodrome, about 200 persons assembled at half-past 10 o’clock on Saturday morning at the Town-hall, for the purpose of accompanying the brothers Gaunson to Government-house to appeal for a reprieve on behalf of Edward Kelly. The crowd was, however, of […]

  • Thrice

    Michele Eve This little story is a mixture of truths and real events all joined together and mixed up with what I imagine could have been some of the emotion. Historically of course Aaron Sherritt has been cast as the bad guy, or at best the fool- the one who betrayed Joe, and was shot […]

  • Something For The Weekend?

    Michele Eve An overview of the 2010 Ned Kelly Beechworth WeekendEvidently I like Australia and, it might be argued, I also have scant regard for my carbon footprint. Flying around the world again is going to mean a LOT of trips to the recycling centre. On a push bike.Will I go and see the four […]

  • Monday, December 23rd 1878

    THE MANSFIELD MURDERS There is for the present no intelligence whatever respecting the Mansfield murders. As showing the feeling of insecurity which prevails, we give the following communication from our correspondent at Wood’s Point, dated December 20:―”The banks to-day send away all gold and money. They have stopped all issue, and closed for two or […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • How A Finnish Girl Ended Up As A Kelly Tour Guide

    Airi Repetti Growing up in Finland, I used to watch quite a few Australian TV shows; Skippy was one of the very first I remember, later I just loved Against The Wind and All The Rivers Run. I have vague recollections of watching something Ned Kelly-related and think it may have been The Last Outlaw […]

  • Saturday, October 30th 1880

    THE TRIAL OF EDWARD KELLY The end of the Mansfield tragedy, which occurred exactly two years ago, has now been nearly reached, inasmuch as the leader and the sole survivor of the gang by whom the police were slaughtered, was yesterday found guilty of murder, and was sentenced to death. There is always a fear […]

  • Tuesday, December 31st 1878

    THE MANSFIELD MURDERS The feeling of dissatisfaction with regard to the organisation of the police force is shared in by the Government, and the subject has been under discussion in the Cabinet of late. Action is to be taken at the earliest opportunity, but so far no definite scheme of reform has been sketched out.It […]

  • Saturday, December 21st 1878

    THE MANSFIELD MURDERS (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 […]

  • Thursday, July 8th 1880

    DESPERATE FIGHT WITH BUSHRANGERS 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 […]

  • Friday, August 6th 1880

    THE KELLY GANG (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)Beechworth, Thursday.The preliminary examination of the charges against Edward Kelly will be commenced to-morrow, at the Beechworth Police Court. Two charges will be preferred against the prisoner―first, that he murdered Constable Lonigan; and, second, that he murdered Constable Scanlan, and it is the intention of the prosecution […]

  • Glenrowan Dinner Sieged Once More

    Friday 26th June 2009 Commemorating Ned’s Last Stand I was again beside myself when I read that the Siege Dinner in commemoration of Ned’s last stand at Glenrowan had finally returned. I was even more beside myself when I saw that the price of admittance was just a paltry $35, a far, far cry from […]

  • Friday, November 8th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (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 […]

  • Monday, September 20th 1880

    THE TRIAL OF EDWARD KELLY An application was made to Mr. Justice Barry in chambers on Saturday by Mr. C. A. Smyth, Crown prosecutor, for an order to transfer the trial of Edward Kelly from the Beechworth Circuit Court to the Central Criminal Court. The application was made under section 33 of the Judicature Act. […]

  • Saturday, November 9th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The police have not yet succeeded in obtaining any definite information as to where the Kelly gang of bushrangers are at present. A party under Inspector Brooke Smith have been searching for the past few days in the direction of Yarrawonga, but have found no trace of the miscreants in that district. […]

  • It’s A Long Way From Tipperary

    Michele Eve In 1803 we sailed out to seaOut from the sweet town of DerryFor Australia bound if we didn’t all drownAnd the marks of our fetters we carried.In the rusty iron chains we sighed for our wainsAs our good wives we left in sorrow.As the mainsails unfurled our curses we hurledOn the English and […]

  • Thursday, November 7th 1878

    THE PURSUIT OF THE KELLYS (FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Wangaratta, Tuesday, 4.30 P.M.The telegram of last night had to be prepared somewhat hurriedly, but very little remains to be added to the details it contained. The place where Margery saw the supposed Kellys was, as far as can be ascertained, from eight to ten miles from […]

  • Better Read Than Dead

    What a Load of Crap! 12th September 2007Would Ned Kelly have turned out like he did if he had attended the ‘working man’s college’ set up seven years after he was hanged? I’m not as smart as the eight academics sitting on the panel, but at a guess I’d ask … Are you serious?I could […]

  • A Product Of Their Time?

    Or a product of the police? Were Ned and the boys social misfits, or just simply a product of their time? … Buggered if I know, but I’d take a good guess and say more a product of the ‘police’.Now don’t get concerned that Crichton’s gone all academic like, ‘cause I ain’t. All I’m saying […]

  • Monday, November 4th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The report that the Kelly gang of bushrangers have been at the Murray near Barnawartha is now pretty generally credited, and whether they have since crossed the river, are concealed in the ranges about Chiltern, or have returned to their old haunts, seems to be the present problem. The hunting parties appear […]

  • A Letter To Thomas

    What really happened to Lonigan? 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • Monday, August 2nd 1880

    REMOVAL OF KELLY TO BEECHWORTH The question of bringing the criminal Edward Kelly before the City Police Court has during the past few days been under the consideration of the Crown Law officers, and it was ultimately decided that it would be necessary, in order to comply with the law, to remand the criminal to […]


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…


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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.