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…

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…

Theatre

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…

Shop

We offer a range of quality books, clothing, and merchandise for Australian delivery only (international customers can purchase from our eBay store). All credit card transactions are handled securely by PayPal. All our items include free postage and handling. Your goods will be shipped once payment is confirmed. Please allow up to seven working days for your items to be delivered…

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

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…

Writings

  • The North-Eastern Victoria Republic Movement – Myth Or Reality?

    G.B. Kerferd OrationSunday 27 July 2003For Beechworth SesquicentenaryAT THE END OF THE SITTINGS OF THE SUPREME COURT -HELD HERE AT BEECHWORTH IN THE SPRING OF 1878, THEPRESIDING JUDGE, MR JUSTICE REDMOND BARRY PRONOUNCED SENTENCE ON TWO MEN AND A WOMAN. THEY HAD EARLIER BEEN CONVICTED BY A JURY OF BEING ACCOMPLICES IN THE ATTEMPTED MURDER […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2008

    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 Kelly Weekend in Beechworth and nothing […]

  • Siege Site Sieged Once Again

    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 the site in August it […]

  • Joseph Byrne’s Armour At The Sub-Treasury

    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 first time […]

  • Friday, July 2nd 1880

    To The Editor Of The ArgusSir,—May I offer a few remarks bearing on the capture of the Kelly gang. There is, I think, little doubt that they, through foolhardiness and want of foresight, gave themselves into the hands of the police. They had plenty of opportunities to escape both before and during the fight, and […]

  • Tony Jones, Ian Jones, And Alex McDermott

    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 book Ned Kelly: A Short Life, […]

  • Monday, November 8th 1880

    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 such an idle […]

  • My Visit To The Asylum

    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 reason, the need to visit the […]

  • Ned’s AFL Connection

    I wrote the following story in the round three edition, 11-13 April 2003, of the AFL Record. Due to space restrictions, the original story had to be cut in half. But for your benefit, I have included the extended version here:Although Gregor Jordan’s movie Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger, premiered on the eve of the […]

  • Monday, August 9th 1880

    (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)Beechworth, Saturday.The preliminary examination of the case of Edward Kelly was resumed this morning by Mr. Foster, P.M., in the Beechworth Police Court. The prisoner was brought from the gaol, as before, in a cab about 8 o’clock in the morning, and was lodged in the courthouse cell. Long before […]

  • Ettie In Eldorado

    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, Grandmother Esther Hart, and a man we all should […]

  • The Black or Unfair Image: Reading Ned Kelly’s Babington Letter As A Sonnet

    Despite having authored the renowned The Jerilderie Letter, Ned Kelly, perhaps Australia’s best-known colonial figure, is not regarded as a writer. There is, however, another remarkable Ned Kelly text—another letter— known as the Babington Letter. It is my contention that the Babington Letter can and should read as a poem—as a sonnet—and that doing so […]

  • 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 […]

  • Why Dig Up The Past?

    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 all know the […]

  • 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 […]

  • It’s A Long Way From Tipperary

    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 thoughts of […]

  • Rock N’ Roll Tribute For Ned

    “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 tempted to write lyrics to his brilliant, 15-track, instrumental album on Ned […]

  • Ned Would Have Been A Top Cop

    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 reveals, among other things:Ned Kelly would […]

  • 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 […]

  • Home On The Range

    I must apologise for my uncharacteristic silence over the last few weeks for which I have been subtly reminded of by a one Mr. P. O’Keefe, but since my recent arrival in the beautiful state of Victoria, and to my modest country retreat in Tallangatta, I have been busy preparing mind and body to slip […]

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…

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…

NedTube

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)…

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…

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…

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…

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 mould. 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.