Ned Kelly: Australian Iron Outlaw | Hero | Legend

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…

Events

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…

Writings

  • 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 […]

  • A Nightmare On Siege Street

    A Short Story of Fiction? Monday morning of this week was not a morning I will forget for a very long time. It started off as just the beginning of another day. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, slipped into my red suede slippers and wearily made my way to the kitchen for my […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2011

    5th, 6th, and 7th August Friday It was nigh on 7pm Friday night when I finally swaggered through the front doors of the Hibernian Hotel in Beechworth, along with my good wife Roslyn. I was running late for the annual Ironoutlaw Dinner once again. Dressed in my Crimea shirt and ever so tight moleskins that […]

  • Saturday, April 24th 1880

    THE KELLY GANG To The Editor Of The ArgusSir,―Before the practical abandonment of the search for the Kelly gang, I beg to offer a suggestion through your valuable columns anent their capture.Those who have read Roman history will call to mind a period during the consulship of Pompey and Crassus, when the waters of the […]

  • Tony Jones, Ian Jones, And Alex McDermott

    ABC Lateline – 9 April 2001 Tony Jones speaks with Alex McDermott and Ian Jones. He is editing a new book on Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie Letter, due out in August. He is a masters student at La Trobe University who did his honour thesis on Ned Kelly’s writings. Ian Jones is the author of the […]

  • Saturday, November 16th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS An application was made yesterday afternoon to the Chief Justice by Mr. Gurner, the Crown Solicitor, for an order adjudging the Kellys and the two unknown men to be outlaws for not having surrendered at Mansfield on the 12th inst. as required by a former order. The application was supported by an […]

  • Thursday, June 3rd 1880

    THE KELLY GANG Whether these outlaws are still in the colony or not is a question that is regarded by many people as problematical. The police and the residents in what is known as the Kelly district, however, positively assert that the outlaws are still in the country, and there is little doubt that this […]

  • 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 […]

  • Don’t Fret — Heath’s Ned Is Ahead Of The Rest

    Iron Helmets, Smoking Guns For those of us fretting about how Heath Ledger will portray Ned Kelly to the world in the upcoming blockbuster film, the recent bushranger film festival with the particularly cumbersome name, Iron Helmets, Smoking Guns: The making of the Australian bushranger myth, helped to put our minds to rest… somewhat.A seemingly […]

  • Monday, June 28th 1880

    ANOTHER KELLY OUTRAGE After the lapse of several months the Kelly gang have re-appeared, and as will be seen by the particulars given elsewhere, have added another murder to those they committed at Mansfield. It appears that during the past few months an old associate of the band, more particularly of Joseph Byrne, a selector […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Tuesday, April 27th 1880

    THE KELLY GANG 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 […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • Quinn Tea

    Max Brown Buttered Toast: Stories and SketchesPublished in 1999 by Turton & Armstrong Pty LtdPage: 22The occasion was the centenary of Ned Kelly’s hanging. I sent father Brosnan, of North Coburg, the following steal from an Irish poet and set out with my wife for the Quinns in Nowra:The world did gaze with deep amazeAt […]

  • ‘Ned Kelly’ 2003 Movie

    Regent Theatre Melbourne World Premiere On Saturday 22nd March, 2003, amidst hundreds of adoring fans and too many try hard celebrities I walked the red carpet at the Regent Theatre to watch the world premiere of Ned Kelly. Granted the fans were screaming for Heath and Orlando and not at an overweight Andre Agassi look-a-like, […]

  • Regina v Edward (Ned) Kelly

    Julian Burnside The recent re-enactment of the trial of Ned Kelly revived my interest in that troubled case. Many fascinating books have been written about Kelly and his trial; Sidney Nolan’s famous series of paintings created the visual iconography which is now attached to the Kelly legend.About the trial itself, a few things are clear: […]

  • The McCormick Incident

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) 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’. […]

  • Ned and Dan Kelly’s Remains

    Cut Hair and Bone Fragments 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Wednesday, November 6th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The latest intelligence respecting the bushrangers does not agree very well with previous reports. According to a telegram from our special reporter, despatched from Wangaratta at a quarter past 11 o’clock last night, the police believe that the gang are still in the neighbourhood of the Murray. Fresh traces of them were […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • How Does A Common Criminal Come To Symbolize A Nation?

    Blu Astbury My friends and I whiled away many childhood hours in the outback of Australia, role-playing national heroes and icons such as the bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly. Outfitted with upturned buckets on our heads with slits cut out for eyes, we imagined ourselves as Ned Kelly in his infamous iron helmet and armor, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2009

    7th, 8th, and 9th August Building a better Weekend 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 […]

Books

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…

Art

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…

Movies

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…

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

NedTube

Featured in this section are a number of ‘interesting’ Ned Kelly related videos 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)…

Shop

We offer a range of quality books, clothing, and merchandise for Australian delivery only. All credit card transactions are handled securely by PayPal. All our prices include GST, postage, and handling. Your goods will be shipped once payment is confirmed. Please allow up to seven business days for delivery…

Tourism

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…

Feedback

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

Armour

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…

Weapons

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…

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…

Archives

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…

Online

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 newspaper reports, announcements, etc., all eager to add – good or bad – to the ever expanding Kelly story…

Music

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 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 November 11, 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.