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

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Ned Kelly’s Success In Cyberspace – Proving Australian History Does Not Have To Be Boring

    Karen Carter As online content continues to rapidly expand, Australian history web sites are to some extent, absent in cyberspace. However one Australian history web site is winning accolades and awards for its entertainment, educational and design value. This case study examines the Iron Outlaw web site and investigates what has contributed to the web […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, April 16th 1880

    THE POLICE FORCE AND RED TAPE (FROM THE RIVERINA HERALD, APRIL 13)Redtapeism was ever a prominent feature of the business of all departments of the Government service, and was more especially noticeable in matters immediately connected with the police force. This curse of redtape officialism has been spoken and written against times innumerably, but the […]

  • 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; […]

  • 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: […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Apocalyptic Chant Of Alex McDermott

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) I want to write history that ordinary people will find interesting … (to) give Australians a better understanding of themselves, through differentiating truth from legend in the critical events of history.Alex McDermottIn Alex McDermott’s introduction to his book The Jerilderie Letter he names it ‘The Apocalyptic Chant of Edward Kelly’ Mr. […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Further Trials Of Ned Kelly

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) ‘The Kelly hunters: dispatch challenges bushranger myth’ Sydney Morning Herald July 17, 2009. The headline in Melbourne’s Age July 17, 2009 was grander: ‘Crime scene dispatch challenges Kelly Mythos’. Carolyn Webb reports on the discovery of lost police files and letters and that Dr Robert Haldane ‘will give a talk titled […]

  • Kellyana

    Brian McDonald Ask any Australian child, of primary school aged, to tell you the role these people played in our history; Lachlan Macquarie, Edmund Barton, William Cox, Matthew Flinders, Francis Greenway and Ned Kelly. As you will no doubt imagine, the first five notable figures would have a small percentage of recognition compared with the […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Graveyards, Guinness And G strings (Or A Pom On The Kelly Trail)

    Michele Eve What’s a Pom doing on the Kelly trail you may ask? Well, in short I was on a personal quest to see the Jerilderie Letter, a task unfulfilled in Dublin last year when I travelled with my father to an exhibition called Ned at the Dead. Which rather than a bad joke was […]

  • Monday, October 28th 1878

    Two Constables Shot And A Sergeant Missing A terrible encounter, almost without parallel in Victoria, has taken place near Mansfield, between the police and four bushrangers. The particulars to hand are but meagre, owing to the intelligence having only been received at Mansfield yesterday evening, but they are of such a character as to show […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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’. […]

  • Like A Moth To The Flame

    Sharon Hollingsworth How does a 21st century American woman fall in love with a couple of 19th century Australian outlaws? Quite easily actually! But why? Perhaps there is something special or different and exotic or romantic about someone the further away they are from you in either space or time… And the Kelly Gang fits […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

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

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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 hope you may find of interest…

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

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.