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…


  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • My Visit To The Asylum

    Ghosts! Lucky to get out alive! Since my relocation to Kelly Country I have made several excursions to the historical town of Beechworth seeking out yarns of Kelly from loosened tongues of inebriated patrons in the various public houses. It was on such an excursion and after several ales that I found, for some unknown […]

  • Monday, August 2nd 1880

    REMOVAL OF KELLY TO BEECHWORTH The question of bringing the criminal Edward Kelly before the City Police Court has during the past few days been under the consideration of the Crown Law officers, and it was ultimately decided that it would be necessary, in order to comply with the law, to remand the criminal to […]

  • Saturday, December 21st 1878

    THE MANSFIELD MURDERS (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)Benalla, Friday, 9 P.M.Another quiet day has passed, without a single sensational rumour relative to the whereabouts of the Kelly gang having been received. Another party of troopers left the township towards evening, but their destination was kept secret. The number of detectives at Wangaratta was also […]

  • 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: […]

  • Glenrowan Siege 2003 Commemorative Dinner

    I Wore Joe Byrne’s Helmet Some Aussie kids dream of becoming AFL footballers, Olympic athletes, rock stars, world-renowned scientists, or this country’s first republican President. (Ned would love that!) I must admit that I had similar dreams as a kid too. But I also dreamt of wearing one of the Kelly Gang’s iron helmets. It […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Fitzpatrick Conspiracy

    Royal Commission 1881 Yet Steele and Whelen, men of such proved efficiency and of educational attainments above the average of their rank, were barred by a stupid system of advancement, and dunces were sent to take command over them.John Sadlier, Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer p. 282.The incident, however, which seems to have more immediately […]

  • 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 […]

  • Dark Brew

    Michele Eve I knew he had to die. Him or me. Fuck it. Both. I am sure of that now. But I knew even before I let meself think it, weeks more it was before I said as much to Ned. Time when I would sit and wonder how that would be, what I would […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, December 20th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS Elsewhere we publish a circular adopted by a committee of gentlemen at Mansfield, inviting contributions towards a fund for the erection of a monument in memory of Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Scanlan and Lonigan, who were murdered by the Kelly gang on the 26th October last. We have been requested by the […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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” […]

  • Phelps Has A Firm Grip On The Kelly Saga

    The Legend of Ned Kelly exhibition One of the most cringe-worthy episodes of the Kelly story, particularly for the male population, was when Mounted Constable Thomas Lonigan tried to restrain Ned Kelly by squeezing his testicles. Lonigan resorted to this appalling tactic, known at the time as ‘blackballing’, despite being assisted by three other police, […]

  • 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 […]

  • The North-Eastern Victoria Republic Movement – Myth Or Reality?


  • Saturday, November 9th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The police have not yet succeeded in obtaining any definite information as to where the Kelly gang of bushrangers are at present. A party under Inspector Brooke Smith have been searching for the past few days in the direction of Yarrawonga, but have found no trace of the miscreants in that district. […]

  • The Black or Unfair Image: Reading Ned Kelly’s Babington Letter As A Sonnet

    MICHAEL FARRELL Despite having authored the renowned The Jerilderie Letter, Ned Kelly, perhaps Australia’s best-known colonial figure, is not regarded as a writer. There is, however, another remarkable Ned Kelly text—another letter— known as the Babington Letter. It is my contention that the Babington Letter can and should read as a poem—as a sonnet—and that […]

  • Saturday, November 6th 1880

    THE CONDEMNED BUSHRANGER A meeting was held last evening at the Hippodrome for the purpose of taking into consideration the case of the convict KELLY, now lying in the Melbourne Gaol under sentence of death. For the credit of Melbourne, we regret to say that many thousands were present to express sympathy with one of […]

  • 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 […]


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.