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…


  • Wednesday, October 30th 1878

    Bushranging In Victoria Further particulars of interest of interest regarding the murders of police troopers at Stringybark Creek are telegraphed from Mansfield by our special reporter, and will be found elsewhere. One of the expeditions returned yesterday with the report that a prolonged search had been made in the ranges for Sergeant Kennedy, with no […]

  • 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 […]

  • Kelly’s Defence By A Lady

    unravelling fact from fiction During the Ned Kelly Weekend in Beechworth in 2007, I attended, with many others, a presentation by Brian McDonald ‘Ned Kelly- unravelling fact from fiction’. After Brian had finished his presentation, he generously handed out to all in attendance, a booklet containing a letter that was printed in a brochure in […]

  • 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, 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, November 11th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Wangaratta, Sunday, 9 P.M.The early train from here yesterday took down to Benalla the seven troopers and the black tracker who were sent up to Beechworth by special train on Thursday morning. These men returned here on Friday morning, and with their horses were allowed a day’s […]

  • Friday, November 5th 1880

    EDWARD KELLY’S STATEMENT The condemned man Kelly submitted a rambling statement of his case to the Executive on Wednesday. It was a reiteration of what he said in court―that matters would have borne a different aspect had he cross-examined the witnesses; that he did not go out to shoot the constables, but they went out […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Tuesday, April 27th 1880

    THE KELLY GANG Mr. Ramsay, the Chief Secretary, visited Mansfield on the 21st inst. to be present at the unveiling of the monument erected by public subscription to the memory of Police-sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan and Scanlan, who were murdered by the Kelly gang in the Wombat Ranges on the 26th October, 1878. The […]

  • Wednesday, November 13th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The Mansfield Guardian states that last week Mr. Kitchen wrote to Mr. Graves, M.L.A., requesting him to bring under the notice of the Government the desirability of erecting a suitable monument in the Mansfield cemetery to the memory of the three brave fellows who were so foully murdered by the Kelly gang […]

  • Clive Turnbull’s View On The Kelly Outbreak

    Ned Kelly: Being His Own Story of His Life and Crimes source: C. Turnbull, ‘Introduction’Hawthorn PressMelbourne, 1942, pp. 3-5, 8-19.Ned Kelly is the best known Australian, our only folk hero. The explorers, the administrators, the colonial politicans, are little more than names on the map. What sort of people they were the average citizen neither […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Monday, November 8th 1880

    THE CONDEMNED BUSHRANGER In accordance with the understanding arrived at on Friday night at the Hippodrome, about 200 persons assembled at half-past 10 o’clock on Saturday morning at the Town-hall, for the purpose of accompanying the brothers Gaunson to Government-house to appeal for a reprieve on behalf of Edward Kelly. The crowd was, however, of […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Ned Kelly Weekend Beechworth 2012

    3rd, 4th, and 5th August The Event That Wasn’t I was looking forward to this year’s Ned Kelly Weekend and made an early start for Beechworth. Arriving in the town around 9.00am, I made my way to the Town Hall to collect my tickets to some of the many events on offer. There was one […]

  • 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 […]

  • Saturday, October 30th 1880

    THE TRIAL OF EDWARD KELLY The end of the Mansfield tragedy, which occurred exactly two years ago, has now been nearly reached, inasmuch as the leader and the sole survivor of the gang by whom the police were slaughtered, was yesterday found guilty of murder, and was sentenced to death. There is always a fear […]

  • 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 […]

  • A Nightmare On Siege Street

    A Short Story of Fiction? Monday morning of this week was not a morning I will forget for a very long time. It started off as just the beginning of another day. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, slipped into my red suede slippers and wearily made my way to the kitchen for my […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]


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.