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

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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

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

  • 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 […]

  • 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 and Dan Kelly’s Remains

    Cut Hair and Bone Fragments My name is Neil Hamilton and I think I have something which may be of interest to you and your readers. Here in South Africa we have, in our family museum, a lock of hair that was supposedly cut from Ned Kelly’s head an hour after his execution by a Dr […]

  • 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 […]

  • Catherine Kelly: In Defence Of My Great Grand Mother

    Ellen Hollow I have always kept a low profile in order to protect my spouse and sons from embarrassment, but the time has come to speak out. I have written countless letters to the press, publishers and authors who will insist on continuously producing more sensational, fictitious material these writers hide behind the label “Fiction” […]

  • 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, April 16th 1880

    THE POLICE FORCE AND RED TAPE (FROM THE RIVERINA HERALD, APRIL 13)Redtapeism was ever a prominent feature of the business of all departments of the Government service, and was more especially noticeable in matters immediately connected with the police force. This curse of redtape officialism has been spoken and written against times innumerably, but the […]

  • 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 […]

  • Tuesday, August 10th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY BEFORE THE POLICE COURT (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)Beechworth, Monday.The hearing of evidence in the case of Edward Kelly, the bushranger, was resumed this morning before Mr. Foster, P.M., in the Beechworth Police Court, the particular charge under investigation being still that of Constable Lonigan. The attendence of the public was smaller […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • A Nightmare On Siege Street

    A Short Story of Fiction? Monday morning of this week was not a morning I will forget for a very long time. It started off as just the beginning of another day. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, slipped into my red suede slippers and wearily made my way to the kitchen for my […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Something For The Weekend?

    Michele Eve 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 […]

  • Ned’s AFL Connection

    Ned Kelly’s AFL Connection I wrote the following story in the round three edition, 11-13 April 2003, of the AFL Record. Due to space restrictions, the original story had to be cut in half. But for your benefit, I have included the extended version here:Although Gregor Jordan’s movie Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger, premiered on […]

  • 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 At The Dead

    Michele Eve Dublin, IrelandMay 7 – July 30 2006I 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 of […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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: […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • My Visit To The Asylum

    Ghosts! Lucky to get out alive! Since my relocation to Kelly Country I have made several excursions to the historical town of Beechworth seeking out yarns of Kelly from loosened tongues of inebriated patrons in the various public houses. It was on such an excursion and after several ales that I found, for some unknown […]

  • 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 […]

  • Glenrowan Dinner Sieged Once More

    Friday 26th June 2009 Commemorating Ned’s Last Stand I was again beside myself when I read that the Siege Dinner in commemoration of Ned’s last stand at Glenrowan had finally returned. I was even more beside myself when I saw that the price of admittance was just a paltry $35, a far, far cry from […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 the Kelly […]

  • The McCormick Incident

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) 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’. […]

  • 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 […]

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.