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…

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


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…


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…


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…


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  • 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. […]

  • Saturday, April 24th 1880

    THE KELLY GANG To The Editor Of The Argus Sir,―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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Ned At The Dead

    Michele Eve Dublin, IrelandMay 7 – July 30 2006 I am a Brit, for my sins, and the first I ever heard of Ned Kelly was when I saw Gregor Jordan’s film, coincidentally my Dad bought me Peter Carey’s book at the same time, and I devoured them both, eyes wide open at another man […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, November 4th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The report that the Kelly gang of bushrangers have been at the Murray near Barnawartha is now pretty generally credited, and whether they have since crossed the river, are concealed in the ranges about Chiltern, or have returned to their old haunts, seems to be the present problem. The hunting parties appear […]

  • Friday, December 27th 1878

    THE ATROCIOUS MURDERS OF POLICE Outrage At Euroa It is now over two months since the police camp in the Wombat Ranges was attacked by the Kelly gang of bushrangers, and the three policeman murdered. Not only have the four murderers successfully evaded a large number of police who were sent immediately in pursuit, but […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Thrice

    Michele Eve This little story is a mixture of truths and real events all joined together and mixed up with what I imagine could have been some of the emotion. Historically of course Aaron Sherritt has been cast as the bad guy, or at best the fool- the one who betrayed Joe, and was shot […]

  • 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 […]

  • Saturday, October 16th 1880

    THE TRIAL OF EDWARD KELLY An application was made to his Honour Mr. Justice Barry, who was presiding in the Central Criminal Court yesterday, that the trial of Edward Kelly, who was committed on a charge of murdering Constable Thomas Lonigan, should be postponed till next sittings. Mr. Molesworth, who appeared on behalf of the […]

  • Ned Would Have Been A Top Cop

    Kelly expert Ian Jones reveals all 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 […]

  • Monday, July 5th 1880

    SOUTH AUSTRALIA (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT) Adelaide, Sunday. It is stated that the Kelly family formerly resided at Penwortham, a village near Watervale, in this colony. The Wrights were also living there. Both families went to Victoria when the diggings broke out. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG Ned Kelly’s Condition At a late hour […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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; […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2012

    3rd, 4th, and 5th August The Event That Wasn’t I was looking forward to this year’s Ned Kelly Weekend and made an early start for Beechworth. Arriving in the town around 9.00am, I made my way to the Town Hall to collect my tickets to some of the many events on offer. There was one […]


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…


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…


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…


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)…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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.