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…


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…


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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…


  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Hard As Stone

    Michele Eve In the end I can’t leave his place, can’t leave his body. It is done and I want it not to be- or to do it again I am not rightly sure to tell the truth. After all that time of thinking and now it is done.You bastards…bloody cowards. Come out!A crash as […]

  • Friday, November 1st 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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, […]

  • Tuesday, July 6th 1880

    A KELLY INCIDENT 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 […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • Saturday, November 16th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS An application was made yesterday afternoon to the Chief Justice by Mr. Gurner, the Crown Solicitor, for an order adjudging the Kellys and the two unknown men to be outlaws for not having surrendered at Mansfield on the 12th inst. as required by a former order. The application was supported by an […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, October 28th 1878

    Two Constables Shot And A Sergeant Missing A terrible encounter, almost without parallel in Victoria, has taken place near Mansfield, between the police and four bushrangers. The particulars to hand are but meagre, owing to the intelligence having only been received at Mansfield yesterday evening, but they are of such a character as to show […]

  • Thursday, July 1st 1880

    DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG 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 […]

  • Saturday, May 22nd 1880

    THE KELLY GANG (FROM THE NORTH-EASTERN ENSIGN, MAY 21)The second step in connection with the abandonment of the Kelly pursuit is the withdrawal from Benalla and their restoration to Queensland of the detachment of Queensland native police, who, under the leadership of Lieutenant O’Connor, have so long remained here pending an outbreak of the bushrangers. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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: […]

  • Chit Chat About The Kellys

    Captain Jack Hoyle (retired) 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; […]

  • 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 […]

  • Sixty Minutes – Kelly On Trial

    Introduction On 28 May 2000, Channel Nine’s Sixty Minutes aired a segment titled ‘Kelly On Trial’ which was produced by Stephen Taylor and featured reporter Ellen Fanning. The report examined the flawed Supreme Court murder trial and subsequent sentencing presided over by Judge Redmond Barry. Viewers were asked to go online and submit questions to […]

  • Kelly Country

    Chester Eagle For the ideas and impressions stitched together in this libretto I am indebted to all those who have written about the Kelly outbreak, including J.J. Keneally’s The Inner History of the Kelly Gang, Police Superintendents Sadleir and Hare, and the Royal Commissioners of 1881, but above all to the late Max Brown, whose […]

  • Saturday, July 3rd 1880

    THE KELLY GANG It has transpired since … to the Kelly gang. At … night Edward Kelly was … Castieau, the governor of the Melbourne Gaol, to be progressing favourably. In the afternoon he was interviewed by Mr. Ramsay, the Chief Secretary, who was accompanied by Mr. Odgers, the Under-secretary. Nothing of importance transpired, neither […]

  • 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 […]

  • Tuesday, June 29th 1880

    DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG On Saturday, October 26, 1878, Sergeant KENNEDY and two police constables were murdered in cold blood by a gang of four men who took the name of their leader, EDWARD KELLY, a well-known thief; since then the gang have plundered and murdered at pleasure, defying justice with success until their […]


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 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…


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…


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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, 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…


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…


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.