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

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

    MICHAEL FARRELL 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Interview With Author Noelene Allen

    Ellen: a woman of spirit Alan CrichtonTanswells Commercial Hotel, Beechworth8th February 2010Noelene, when did you first get interested in the life of Ellen Kelly? I was asked by Richard Skinner then Beechworth Historic Precinct Manager around 2002 to research a woman who had links to the courthouse to organise story boards, displays, tours etc and after […]

  • Glenrowan Siege 2003 Commemorative Dinner

    I Wore Joe Byrne’s Helmet Some Aussie kids dream of becoming AFL footballers, Olympic athletes, rock stars, world-renowned scientists, or this country’s first republican President. (Ned would love that!) I must admit that I had similar dreams as a kid too. But I also dreamt of wearing one of the Kelly Gang’s iron helmets. It […]

  • Friday, October 29th 1880

    THE TRIAL OF EDWARD KELLY The trial of Edward Kelly for the murder of Constable Lonigan on the 28th October, 1878, at Stringybark-Creek, was commenced yesterday before his honour Mr. Justice Redmond Barry, at the Central Criminal Court. The court was filled with jurors and others before the opening hour. Mr. C. A. Smyth and […]

  • 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, 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 […]

  • Ettie In Eldorado

    8th August 2014 The Girl Who Loved Ned Kelly 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, […]

  • Tony Jones, Ian Jones, And Alex McDermott

    ABC Lateline – 9 April 2001 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 […]

  • John Kelly Real Estate

    Properties Bought and Sold When we read the story of Ned Kelly and his family, which I believe to be a rather tragic one, we really don’t get the opportunity to learn all that much about the patriarch, John (Red) Kelly. All we know is; he was born in 1820, came out to the colony […]

  • Ned Kelly And The Emergence Of Technology

    Brad Webb Beechworth Courthouse2pm August 2nd, 2008Good afternoon everyone, my name is Brad Webb and I run the ironoutlaw.com web site. I’d like to welcome you all to the famous Beechworth Courthouse and thank you for attending what I hope will be an informative event. And if not then look on the bright side, I’ve […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Tuesday, November 16th 1880

    MR D. GAUNSON AND THE CONVICT KELLY The following is the petition which has been prepared at Ballarat with a view to directing the attention of the assembly to Mr. Gaunson’s conduct in connexion with the Kelly reprieve agitation. The Ballarat Star states that the petition has been largely signed by persons of all shades […]

  • Friday, December 27th 1878

    THE ATROCIOUS MURDERS OF POLICE Outrage At EuroaIt 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 they […]

  • Saturday, November 9th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The police have not yet succeeded in obtaining any definite information as to where the Kelly gang of bushrangers are at present. A party under Inspector Brooke Smith have been searching for the past few days in the direction of Yarrawonga, but have found no trace of the miscreants in that district. […]

  • Ned Kelly’s Lost Birthday

    June 1855 After reading just about anything I could get my grubby little hands on about Ned Kelly, there are three things I would dearly love to know:Ned’s birthday.What really went on in that hut when Fitzy got hurt?Did Ned really marry, and who was the mysterious bride?And last but not least; was Ned planning a […]

  • 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 […]

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

    The Hon. John Harber Phillips, A.C., Chief Justice of Victoria 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 […]

  • Wednesday, November 6th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The latest intelligence respecting the bushrangers does not agree very well with previous reports. According to a telegram from our special reporter, despatched from Wangaratta at a quarter past 11 o’clock last night, the police believe that the gang are still in the neighbourhood of the Murray. Fresh traces of them were […]

  • Sell-More Development

    The Beechworth Gaol What a bloody disgrace! How in God’s name this Sam Lawson character (Salmore Developments) got his grubby little hands on one of Australia’s best known Heritage icons is beyond me. But that’s not all folks; he picks it up for a best mate’s rate of just $1.7 mill. Now anyone who checks […]

  • 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. […]

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.