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

  • Kelly Country Here I Come!

    ranting and raving Yeah, okay, I know what you’re thinking; “Don’t tell me Brad Webb’s lost his marbles and kept Crichton on for yet another year with his ranting and raving?” Well you’re right, I’m back, and what makes it even worse for all those Victorians is; Despite the fires, I’m pulling up my Queensland […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Wednesday, June 30th 1880

    DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG That Mr. RAMSAY deserves great praise for the energy which he has thrown into the administration of the police in connexion with the Kelly search is evident from the narrative which we published yesterday. And one of his acts most to be commended is the despatch of Superintendent CHOMLEY to […]

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

    Blu Astbury 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • Thursday, November 21st 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The Chief Secretary repeated yesterday the statement that Captain Standish is arming the police as rapidly as possible. Mr. Berry on Tuesday passed an account of £500 for firearms furnished recently to the force.The Chief Secretary, at the instance of Mr. Graves, has promised that the families of the police officers who […]

  • ‘Insidious’ The Kelly Doco Debacle

    Outlawed: The Real Ned Kelly Less than 40 hours after the screening of Outlawed: The Real Ned Kelly on Wednesday August 6, I received a phone call from Kelly aficionado Ian Jones. Ian said that he had been overrun with calls from people whom he said had been “confused or irritated, if not angered” by […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, August 2nd 1880

    REMOVAL OF KELLY TO BEECHWORTH The question of bringing the criminal Edward Kelly before the City Police Court has during the past few days been under the consideration of the Crown Law officers, and it was ultimately decided that it would be necessary, in order to comply with the law, to remand the criminal to […]

  • Letter by T.H. Cameron

    Letter to his brother concerning his capture by the Kelly Gang Original held by The Mitchell Library, SydneyDonated by grandson in 1947Note: T. H. Cameron was 16 years old at the time of writing this letterGlenrowan 8 July 1880My Dear Brother,You requested me in your last letter to give you the full details of how […]

  • Wednesday, November 10th 1880

    THE CONDEMNED BUSHRANGER A meeting of persons desirous of obtaining the reprieve of the prisoner Edward Kelly, or a reconsideration of his case, was held last night in Carlton, and a resolution was passed asking the Chief Secretary to have the case reconsidered by the Executive Council. A deputation, headed by Mr. W. Gaunson, waited […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Thursday, October 31st 1878

    Bushranging In Victoria The Mansfield outrages were mentioned in the Assembly again yesterday, hon. members desiring to have assurances from the Chief Secretary that everything possible is being done to apprehend the murderers who are still at large, and to rescue the unfortunate missing Sergeant Kennedy. Mr. Berry mentioned that he had been in consultation […]

  • Thursday, November 7th 1878

    THE PURSUIT OF THE KELLYS (FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Wangaratta, Tuesday, 4.30 P.M.The telegram of last night had to be prepared somewhat hurriedly, but very little remains to be added to the details it contained. The place where Margery saw the supposed Kellys was, as far as can be ascertained, from eight to ten miles from […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, December 23rd 1878

    THE MANSFIELD MURDERS There is for the present no intelligence whatever respecting the Mansfield murders. As showing the feeling of insecurity which prevails, we give the following communication from our correspondent at Wood’s Point, dated December 20:―”The banks to-day send away all gold and money. They have stopped all issue, and closed for two or […]

  • Review – The Girl Who Loved Ned Kelly

    Sophie Masson Balmain Town Halll7 March 2010Sydney’s turned on one of its legendary wet evenings for the occasion, usually something that will keep the punters away, frightened off by the inevitable traffic snarls caused by the bucketloads of water wildly tipped down from the sky. And when we come into the Balmain Town Hall, a […]

  • Will The Real Joe Byrne Please Step Forward?

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) Yuletide Felicitations to all Kellyites!! And congratulations and thank you to Paul O’Keefe for his courageous raising of the “is it or isn’t it Joe Byrne?” debate. I too have puzzled over this perplexing issue, sometimes agreeing, other times wondering how it could be the same man as the verifiable image […]

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.