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…


  • Tuesday, November 5th 1878

    THE POLICE MURDERS The report of Superintendent Nicolson that the gang of bushrangers were believed to be lurking in the ranges of “Rats’ Castle,” near Indigo Creek, was acted on promptly, and if the ruffians are really concealed in that quarter, the probability is that by this time they are surrounded by a cordon of […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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’. […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • Saturday, May 22nd 1880

    THE KELLY GANG (FROM THE NORTH-EASTERN ENSIGN, MAY 21)The second step in connection with the abandonment of the Kelly pursuit is the withdrawal from Benalla and their restoration to Queensland of the detachment of Queensland native police, who, under the leadership of Lieutenant O’Connor, have so long remained here pending an outbreak of the bushrangers. […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Saturday, November 27th 1880

    KELLY REWARD BOARD NoticeAll persons claiming to participate in the REWARD offered by the Governments of Victoria and New South Wales, and certain banks trading in the latter colony, are hereby requested to SEND full PARTICULARS (in writing) of such CLAIM, addressed to “Secretary Kelly Reward Board, Post-office, Melbourne, Victoria,” on or before the 31st […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Siege Site Sieged Once Again

    Famous little block of dirt Well folks, it’s all happening once again in the small town of Glenrowan. The famous little block of dirt where the Ann Jones Inn once stood and where people lost their lives is to be trampled over once more. This time it’s for the sake of film. When I visited […]

  • The Fake Ned Photo: The Other Side Of The Story

    Ian Jones’ reaction to the Gentleman Ned photo controversy Ian Jones – in his own wordsMuch has been written and debated about the fake Gentleman Ned photograph, which was believed to have shown Ned Kelly in his honest, hard-working years and was sold at auction by Christie’s for $19,080 on March 26, only to be […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Home On The Range

    Everyone loves a parade The Golden Horseshoe Festival, Beechworth I must apologise for my uncharacteristic silence over the last few weeks for which I have been subtly reminded of by a one Mr. P. O’Keefe, but since my recent arrival in the beautiful state of Victoria, and to my modest country retreat in Tallangatta, I […]

  • 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” […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • The Rediscovery Of Ned’s Bones Is Only Part Of The Story

    Brad Webb This week the media whipped itself into a frenzy over the announcement that bones exhumed from Pentridge Prison in 2009 were indeed those of Ned Kelly. TV, radio, newsprint and the internet all scrambled to go one up on the previous report. The DNA donor, Leigh Olver, went from being Ned’s great grand […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Friday, August 6th 1880

    THE KELLY GANG (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)Beechworth, Thursday.The preliminary examination of the charges against Edward Kelly will be commenced to-morrow, at the Beechworth Police Court. Two charges will be preferred against the prisoner―first, that he murdered Constable Lonigan; and, second, that he murdered Constable Scanlan, and it is the intention of the prosecution […]


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.