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…


  • 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 […]

  • A Letter To Thomas

    What really happened to Lonigan? My dear, dear McIntyre, I have just finished reading your memoirs, and my good fellow, what a read it is. I must admit, I have not sighted any material such as this since reading your colleague’s, Mounted Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick, Police report on the attempted murder of himself by those […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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’. […]

  • Rock N’ Roll Tribute For Ned

    Some of Australia’s best-known rock stars agree to sing the Kelly story “Any album featuring the voices of Dave Gleeson, Tex Perkins, Doc Neeson, Michael Spiby and Mark Gable – five of Australia’s leading frontmen – and Kasey Chambers deserves more than just a passing listen”When I asked Melbourne musician Ashley Davies if he was […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, July 5th 1880

    SOUTH AUSTRALIA (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)Adelaide, Sunday.It is stated that the Kelly family formerly resided at Penwortham, a village near Watervale, in this colony. The Wrights were also living there. Both families went to Victoria when the diggings broke out. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG Ned Kelly’s ConditionAt a late hour last night Ned […]

  • Tuesday, October 19th 1880

    THE TRIAL OF EDWARD KELLY The trial of Edward Kelly was to have taken place yesterday, in the Central Criminal Court, before his honour Mr. Justice Barry. A large concourse of people assembled in front of the court for some time before the court was opened, expecting they would be allowed admittance. An additional jury […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2009

    7th, 8th, and 9th August Building a better Weekend Well folks, the Ned Kelly weekend has come and gone for yet another year, and again I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I suppose, like many other like minded Kelly enthusiasts, we were all a little sceptical of how the event would turn out […]

  • Kelly Homestead, Beveridge

    Statement of Significance – Why is this place important? The Kelly homestead at Beveridge, Victoria, comprises a timber cottage built by Ned’s father John ‘Red’ Kelly in January 1859 when his son was approximately four years old. It was a typical Irish style of cottage with an earthen floor and drainage running between rooms. Internally there […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Graveyards, Guinness And G strings (Or A Pom On The Kelly Trail)

    Michele Eve What’s a Pom doing on the Kelly trail you may ask? Well, in short I was on a personal quest to see the Jerilderie Letter, a task unfulfilled in Dublin last year when I travelled with my father to an exhibition called Ned at the Dead. Which rather than a bad joke was […]

  • Tony Jones, Ian Jones, And Alex McDermott

    ABC Lateline – 9 April 2001 Tony Jones speaks with Alex McDermott and Ian Jones. He is editing a new book on Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie Letter, due out in August. He is a masters student at La Trobe University who did his honour thesis on Ned Kelly’s writings. Ian Jones is the author of the […]

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

    Iron Helmets, Smoking Guns 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]


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.