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

  • Thursday, July 8th 1880

    DESPERATE FIGHT WITH BUSHRANGERS Destruction Of the Kelly GangNo event that has occurred in the colony for some time past has excited a greater degree of interest in Victoria and the neighbouring colonies than the annihilation, under circumstances of an extraordinarily tragic nature, of the gang of outlawed bushrangers and murderers known as the Kelly […]

  • 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 […]

  • Why Dig Up The Past?

    Digging Up Glenrowan I don’t know about you guys, but I still can’t seem to get my head around all this digging going on at Glenrowan. First it was the archaeological excavation of the battle ground that ran from the railway station to the Glenrowan Inn, and now it’s poor old Mrs. Jones Inn. We […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • A Heritage Disgrace

    Australian heritage? I don’t know what the hell is happening to this country. It seems like any building that is more than a hundred years old the Government wants to either tear it down or flog it off. Why the blazes we give money to these so called Heritage departments is beyond me. To me […]

  • Friday, November 15th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Thursday, 1o P.M.There has been absolutely nothing doing here to-day. None of the search parties that are out have sent in any information as to their movements. There is no doubt that the weather that prevailed during the past week has been very favourable to the […]

  • Ned’s Head Read

    The Art of ‘Bumpology’ Ever since the good ol’ pioneer days, many of us seem to have inherited this morbid fascination for bushrangers and murderers … No? Okay, maybe it’s just me. But to be honest; how many of you have stared for ages at the death masks of criminals past and photographs of bodies […]

  • Friday, December 27th 1878

    THE ATROCIOUS MURDERS OF POLICE Outrage At EuroaIt is now over two months since the police camp in the Wombat Ranges was attacked by the Kelly gang of bushrangers, and the three policeman murdered. Not only have the four murderers successfully evaded a large number of police who were sent immediately in pursuit, but they […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • A Product Of Their Time?

    Or a product of the police? Were Ned and the boys social misfits, or just simply a product of their time? … Buggered if I know, but I’d take a good guess and say more a product of the ‘police’.Now don’t get concerned that Crichton’s gone all academic like, ‘cause I ain’t. All I’m saying […]

  • 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, 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Wednesday, November 6th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The latest intelligence respecting the bushrangers does not agree very well with previous reports. According to a telegram from our special reporter, despatched from Wangaratta at a quarter past 11 o’clock last night, the police believe that the gang are still in the neighbourhood of the Murray. Fresh traces of them were […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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: […]

  • Friday, November 26th 1880

    Sir Redmond Barry The funeral of the late Sir Redmond Barry, K.C.M.G., takes place this afternoon, and although it is to be of a semi-private character, and will be conducted with as little pomp as possible, the cortège will be representative of the whole colony and unusually large. It will start from the residence of […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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’. […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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, 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 […]

  • Joseph Byrne’s Armour At The Sub-Treasury

    Alan Crichton A letter to Rupert Hammond, ‘owner’ of Joe Byrne’s armour9 February 2010Hello Mr. Hammond,I would like to first thank you for allowing Joe’s Armour to be displayed along with the other three suits of Gang Armour at the Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend this coming August. To see the four suits together for the […]

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.