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

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Kelly’s Defence By A Lady

    unravelling fact from fiction During the Ned Kelly Weekend in Beechworth in 2007, I attended, with many others, a presentation by Brian McDonald ‘Ned Kelly- unravelling fact from fiction’. After Brian had finished his presentation, he generously handed out to all in attendance, a booklet containing a letter that was printed in a brochure in […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, July 2nd 1880

    THE KELLY GANG AND THE POLICE 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, November 12th 1880

    THE EXECUTION OF EDWARD KELLY Edward Kelly was executed yesterday morning, in the Melbourne Gaol. The execution took place at 10 o’clock, in the presence of about 30 persons, and as the doomed man had a fall of 8ft. death was instantaneous. The customary forms were duly observed, and the usual inquest was held on […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, November 5th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY’S STATEMENT The condemned man Kelly submitted a rambling statement of his case to the Executive on Wednesday. It was a reiteration of what he said in court―that matters would have borne a different aspect had he cross-examined the witnesses; that he did not go out to shoot the constables, but they went out […]

  • 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 Rediscovery Of Ned’s Bones Is Only Part Of The Story

    Brad Webb This week the media whipped itself into a frenzy over the announcement that bones exhumed from Pentridge Prison in 2009 were indeed those of Ned Kelly. TV, radio, newsprint and the internet all scrambled to go one up on the previous report. The DNA donor, Leigh Olver, went from being Ned’s great grand […]

  • Wednesday, August 11th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY BEFORE THE POLICE COURT When the last train arrived to-night the blinds of a second-class compartment were found to be down over the windows. The guard on opening the door expected to find some passenger asleep inside. But a surprise awaited him; the door on the opposite side of the compartment was standing […]

  • Home On The Range

    Everyone loves a parade The Golden Horseshoe Festival, Beechworth 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 […]

  • Monday, August 9th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY BEFORE THE POLICE COURT (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 […]

  • Hard As Stone

    Michele Eve In the end I can’t leave his place, can’t leave his body. It is done and I want it not to be- or to do it again I am not rightly sure to tell the truth. After all that time of thinking and now it is done.You bastards…bloody cowards. Come out!A crash as […]

  • Thursday, August 12th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY BEFORE THE POLICE COURT 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Saturday, November 2nd 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The police murders are still at large, and there does not seem to be any certainty yet as to where they are. Our special reporter telegraphs from Benalla to the effect that the report of the miscreants having stuck up a man named Christian in the Chiltern district has been found to […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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; […]

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

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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.