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…


  • 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 […]

  • My Stay At The Glenrowan Inn

    28th of June 1880 Each time I read about the siege at Glenrowan on that fateful morning of the 28th of June 1880, I can’t help but think of what it would have been like to have been one of the hostages. One can only imagine their terror as those police bullets tore through the […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Tuesday, December 31st 1878

    THE MANSFIELD MURDERS The feeling of dissatisfaction with regard to the organisation of the police force is shared in by the Government, and the subject has been under discussion in the Cabinet of late. Action is to be taken at the earliest opportunity, but so far no definite scheme of reform has been sketched out.It […]

  • Kellyana

    Brian McDonald 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 […]

  • 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’. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Ned Kelly Beechworth Weekend 2006

    Brad Webb August 4th, 5th and 6th, 2006On Friday night, to kick start the Inaugural Ned Kelly Beechworth Weekend, Paul O’Keefe organised a meet and greet dinner at the Hibernian Hotel. This favourite haunt of Joe Byrne was a great place to catch up with about thirty of our closest friends. With a few donations […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, November 8th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Thursday, 8 P.M.The police have had information respecting the Kelly gang in their possession during the past day or two, but it was not considered desirable to make use of it, owing to its doubtful character, until yesterday, when corroborative reports were received, and it was […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, August 9th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY BEFORE THE POLICE COURT (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)Beechworth, Saturday.The preliminary examination of the case of Edward Kelly was resumed this morning by Mr. Foster, P.M., in the Beechworth Police Court. The prisoner was brought from the gaol, as before, in a cab about 8 o’clock in the morning, and was lodged […]

  • Ned Kelly’s Success In Cyberspace – Proving Australian History Does Not Have To Be Boring

    Karen Carter As online content continues to rapidly expand, Australian history web sites are to some extent, absent in cyberspace. However one Australian history web site is winning accolades and awards for its entertainment, educational and design value. This case study examines the Iron Outlaw web site and investigates what has contributed to the web […]

  • Quinn Tea

    Max Brown 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • Wednesday, August 11th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY BEFORE THE POLICE COURT When the last train arrived to-night the blinds of a second-class compartment were found to be down over the windows. The guard on opening the door expected to find some passenger asleep inside. But a surprise awaited him; the door on the opposite side of the compartment was standing […]

  • 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 […]


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…


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, 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.