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…

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…

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…

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 and the official trial records of Nelson Mandela…

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…

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

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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Fitzpatrick Conspiracy

    Royal Commission 1881 Yet Steele and Whelen, men of such proved efficiency and of educational attainments above the average of their rank, were barred by a stupid system of advancement, and dunces were sent to take command over them.John Sadlier, Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer p. 282.The incident, however, which seems to have more immediately […]

  • 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: […]

  • 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 ironoutlaw.com 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 […]

  • Kelly Country

    Chester Eagle For the ideas and impressions stitched together in this libretto I am indebted to all those who have written about the Kelly outbreak, including J.J. Keneally’s The Inner History of the Kelly Gang, Police Superintendents Sadleir and Hare, and the Royal Commissioners of 1881, but above all to the late Max Brown, whose […]

  • 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 26th 1880

    Sir Redmond Barry The funeral of the late Sir Redmond Barry, K.C.M.G., takes place this afternoon, and although it is to be of a semi-private character, and will be conducted with as little pomp as possible, the cortège will be representative of the whole colony and unusually large. It will start from the residence of […]

  • Tuesday, October 29th 1878

    Bushranging In Victoria The bushranging outrage at Springybark Creek was one of the chief topics of conversation in town yesterday. From the full and lucid account telegraphed from Mansfield by our special reporter, it will be seen that the murder of the troopers was deliberately planned by Kelly and his gang, who stole secretly upon […]

  • Bones, Boots And Bulldust

    D.N.A. From Ned Kelly’s Boots? I was having a scroll through that site Wikerpe..Wiperkedi… Wirepidi…You know the site I mean; the one that has all that stuff about everything. I always thought the information they put up was fair dinkum. I was reading something about Ned’s bones, as one does, and came across this rubbish; […]

  • Rock N’ Roll Tribute For Ned

    Some of Australia’s best-known rock stars agree to sing the Kelly story “Any album featuring the voices of Dave Gleeson, Tex Perkins, Doc Neeson, Michael Spiby and Mark Gable – five of Australia’s leading frontmen – and Kasey Chambers deserves more than just a passing listen”When I asked Melbourne musician Ashley Davies if he was […]

  • Joseph Byrne’s Armour At The Sub-Treasury

    Alan Crichton A letter to Rupert Hammond, ‘owner’ of Joe Byrne’s armour9 February 2010Hello Mr. Hammond,I would like to first thank you for allowing Joe’s Armour to be displayed along with the other three suits of Gang Armour at the Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend this coming August. To see the four suits together for the […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, November 11th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Wangaratta, Sunday, 9 P.M.The early train from here yesterday took down to Benalla the seven troopers and the black tracker who were sent up to Beechworth by special train on Thursday morning. These men returned here on Friday morning, and with their horses were allowed a day’s […]

  • Wednesday, June 30th 1880

    DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG That Mr. RAMSAY deserves great praise for the energy which he has thrown into the administration of the police in connexion with the Kelly search is evident from the narrative which we published yesterday. And one of his acts most to be commended is the despatch of Superintendent CHOMLEY to […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, November 1st 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The Ministry propose to bring the Outlawry Bill into operation without an hour’s unnecessary delay. A meeting of the Executive Council will be held this morning, at which the bill will receive the Governor’s assent. The Chief Secretary had several interviews with the Chief Commissioner of Police yesterday with a view of […]

  • Thursday, November 14th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Wednesday, 11 P.M.This has been a very quiet day, the authorities have decided to give the men and horses who are in a days rest. There are still two or three parties out on different directions, but nothing has been heard from them. It is evident […]

  • 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 […]

  • Christmas From The Dungeon

    a second hand mattress Well dear friends, that time of year is upon us once again and I am well and truly beside myself. Mr Webb has most generously passed more writing paper through the bars of my cell, and fresh newspaper to line the floor’s damp concrete. What I am really excited about is […]

  • Sixty Minutes – Kelly On Trial

    Introduction On 28 May 2000, Channel Nine’s Sixty Minutes aired a segment titled ‘Kelly On Trial’ which was produced by Stephen Taylor and featured reporter Ellen Fanning. The report examined the flawed Supreme Court murder trial and subsequent sentencing presided over by Judge Redmond Barry. Viewers were asked to go online and submit questions to […]

  • Saturday, July 3rd 1880

    THE KELLY GANG 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 […]

  • Tuesday, November 5th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The report of Superintendent Nicolson that the gang of bushrangers were believed to be lurking in the ranges of “Rats’ Castle,” near Indigo Creek, was acted on promptly, and if the ruffians are really concealed in that quarter, the probability is that by this time they are surrounded by a cordon of […]

  • Saturday, August 7th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY BEFORE THE POLICE COURT The notorious leader of the Kelly gang of bushrangers was brought before the Beechworth Police Court yesterday, charged with having on the 26th October, 1878, murdered Constables Lonigan and Scanlan, at Stringybark Creek. The prisoner was brought from the gaol in a cab at 8 o’clock, unknown to anyone, […]

  • Tuesday, October 19th 1880

    THE TRIAL OF EDWARD KELLY The trial of Edward Kelly was to have taken place yesterday, in the Central Criminal Court, before his honour Mr. Justice Barry. A large concourse of people assembled in front of the court for some time before the court was opened, expecting they would be allowed admittance. An additional jury […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

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…

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…

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…

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)…

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…

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

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 announcements, newspaper reports, 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, 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.