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…

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…

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…

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

  • Monday, June 28th 1880

    ANOTHER KELLY OUTRAGE After the lapse of several months the Kelly gang have re-appeared, and as will be seen by the particulars given elsewhere, have added another murder to those they committed at Mansfield. It appears that during the past few months an old associate of the band, more particularly of Joseph Byrne, a selector […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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: […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, December 31st 1878

    THE MANSFIELD MURDERS The feeling of dissatisfaction with regard to the organisation of the police force is shared in by the Government, and the subject has been under discussion in the Cabinet of late. Action is to be taken at the earliest opportunity, but so far no definite scheme of reform has been sketched out.It […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, November 15th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Thursday, 1o P.M.There has been absolutely nothing doing here to-day. None of the search parties that are out have sent in any information as to their movements. There is no doubt that the weather that prevailed during the past week has been very favourable to the […]

  • Saturday, November 13th 1880

    THE KELLY HAUNTS 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 […]

  • 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, 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 […]

  • Better Read Than Dead

    What a Load of Crap! 12th September 2007Would Ned Kelly have turned out like he did if he had attended the ‘working man’s college’ set up seven years after he was hanged? I’m not as smart as the eight academics sitting on the panel, but at a guess I’d ask … Are you serious?I could […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Kelly Saga Beats Like A Drum For Musician

    Ashley Davies opens up about his instrumental album ‘Ned Kelly’ Ned Kelly and the inner-Melbourne suburb of St Kilda have very little in common, apart from speculation that Kelly Gang member Steve Hart visited a doctor there for treatment for syphilis. But here we are, musician Ashley Davies and I, sitting in a St Kilda […]

  • 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 is […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 27th 1880

    KELLY REWARD BOARD NoticeAll persons claiming to participate in the REWARD offered by the Governments of Victoria and New South Wales, and certain banks trading in the latter colony, are hereby requested to SEND full PARTICULARS (in writing) of such CLAIM, addressed to “Secretary Kelly Reward Board, Post-office, Melbourne, Victoria,” on or before the 31st […]

  • Phelps Has A Firm Grip On The Kelly Saga

    The Legend of Ned Kelly exhibition One of the most cringe-worthy episodes of the Kelly story, particularly for the male population, was when Mounted Constable Thomas Lonigan tried to restrain Ned Kelly by squeezing his testicles. Lonigan resorted to this appalling tactic, known at the time as ‘blackballing’, despite being assisted by three other police, […]

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…

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…

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…

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.