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…


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…


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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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


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…


  • Friday, November 1st 1878

    The Ministry propose to bring the Outlawry Bill into operation without an hour’s unnecessary delay. A meeting of the Executive Council will be held this morning, at which the bill will receive the Governor’s assent. The Chief Secretary had several interviews with the Chief Commissioner of Police yesterday with a view of satisfying himself that […]

  • Chit Chat About The Kellys

    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; only nineteen days after […]

  • Tuesday, October 29th 1878

    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 the camp when […]

  • Saturday, November 9th 1878

    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. The authorities in […]

  • Friday, November 26th 1880

    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 the late judge, […]

  • Friday, November 15th 1878

    (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 Kelly gang. There […]

  • Ettie In Eldorado

    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, Grandmother Esther Hart, and a man we all should […]

  • How Does A Common Criminal Come To Symbolize A Nation?

    My friends and I whiled away many childhood hours in the outback of Australia, role-playing national heroes and icons such as the bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly. Outfitted with upturned buckets on our heads with slits cut out for eyes, we imagined ourselves as Ned Kelly in his infamous iron helmet and armor, fighting against […]

  • Something For The Weekend?

    An overview of the 2010 Ned Kelly Beechworth WeekendEvidently I like Australia and, it might be argued, I also have scant regard for my carbon footprint. Flying around the world again is going to mean a LOT of trips to the recycling centre. On a push bike.Will I go and see the four suits of […]

  • Friday, April 23rd 1880

    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 the Kelly gang, and whose saddle was […]

  • Tuesday, April 27th 1880

    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 hon. gentleman was […]

  • The McCormick Incident

    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’. This shows what a […]

  • The Apocalyptic Chant Of Alex McDermott

    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. McDermott claims the letter […]

  • Don’t Fret — Heath’s Ned Is Ahead Of The Rest

    For those of us fretting about how Heath Ledger will portray Ned Kelly to the world in the upcoming blockbuster film, the recent bushranger film festival with the particularly cumbersome name, Iron Helmets, Smoking Guns: The making of the Australian bushranger myth, helped to put our minds to rest… somewhat.A seemingly ancient screening on the […]

  • Quinn Tea

    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 the fearless […]

  • Tuesday, July 6th 1880

    Our Wangaratta correspondent writes:― “In order to show the manner and extent of the terrorism which has so long prevailed in this district, I may mention an occurrence which took place in the immediate neighbourhood of Wangaratta some months ago. Even now the facts have not been disclosed by the police, but there is no […]

  • Wednesday, October 30th 1878

    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 result, and it […]

  • Kellyana

    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 infamous Ned […]

  • Thursday, July 1st 1880

    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 signs of disorder at Greta, […]

  • The Further Trials Of Ned Kelly

    ‘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 ‘The Kelly Hunters: a […]


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 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.