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Australian Son the story of Ned Kelly by Max Brown
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Ned Kelly GPS Tour
Click on map to enlargeIf you are serious about visiting 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. From Beveridge to Jerilderie, the numerous locations in between contain a wealth of attractions including fine dining, hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts. Click on the tourist map opposite for a more detailed view of the region. And make sure you visit Ned Kelly GPS Tour before you visit Kelly Country!

Benalla: The Pioneer Museum

The SashNed Kelly's stained cummerbund is one of the prized possessions of the Benalla and District Historical Society which is open 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week. Made of green silk grosgrain, backed with plain weave green woolen fabric, and interfaced with undyed linen, Ned Kelly’s bloodstained cummerbund is one of the prized possessions of Benalla & District Historical Society. It is 230cms long, 14cms wide, and finished at each end with gold coloured metallic fringing. The story goes that in his childhood Ned was rewarded with the cummerbund for saving the boy Richard Shelton from drowning in the flooded waters of Hughes Creek in Avenel. Ned wore the cummerbund under his armour during his last stand at Glenrowan. It was collected at Glenrowan on 28th June 1880 by Dr. John Nicholson of Benalla, who dressed Ned's wounds. It remained with his family until being donated to the Benalla & District Historical Society in 1973 by his daughter Mrs Emmie McNab. For more information telephone 03 5762 1749.


Beechworth: Ned Kelly Weekend

Beechworth TrailHeld on the first weekend in August, since 2006 this has become an annual event. Beechworth, one of Victoria's most historic towns, is the venue for a number of Kelly related events including the trial re-enactment presented at the Beechworth Historic Courthouse. It is an event that should not be missed. However, if you cannot make that weekend, include this site on your list of tourist locations when you do visit Kelly country, if just to stand in the same dock as Ned once did. For more information telephone 03 5728 2721.


Coburg: Old Pentridge Prison

Neds GravesiteSituated at Urquhart Street Coburg, this once an infamous prison housed some of Australia's most harden criminals. The Pentridge of today is now under full development, featuring townhouses and shops where tattooed blokes once pumped iron (and occasionally each other). In one corner of Pentridge sits a mostly undisturbed section where, depending who you talk to, some of the remains of Ned Kelly lie. A law of 1855 required that all executed prisoners must be buried in prison grounds. Ned's remains were supposedly transferred here from the Melbourne Gaol after they were disturbed by developers at that institution in the late 1920s. How much of Ned is buried is up for discussion as many bones were claimed as “souvenirs” during the relocation. The grave site is located in a lawn/garden area below D Division. The remains of Ronald Ryan, the last person executed in Victoria, are also buried here. Ryan was hanged in the Pentridge gallows in 1967. Just to add to the confusion if you read the prison guide map, it states that Ned was executed on 11th November 1890! More confusing still was a large banner erected on a cyclone fence which once overlooked his grave site, which proudly proclaimed he was born in 1855, yet his plaque states 1854.


Jerilderie: Ned Kelly's Post Office

Jerilderie Post OfficePlanning to take a Ned pilgrimage through Kelly Country? Then may I suggest that Jerilderie be placed high on your “must visit” list. And unlike some Kelly attractions, the volunteers who run The Willows are sympathisers to the Kelly legend. I called through the Willows during December 2000 and spoke in length to one of the volunteers, Blanche, who in between tea and scones, told us about the cutting of the telegraph wires and how one of the operators escaped. He evaded the Gang and swum the creek to reach a nearby homestead who had a direct line to Diniliquin, but the police were too far away to have any impact on the situation.

The Jerilderie townsfolk view the Kelly Gang as heroes because as they say, “they only robbed a bank, and we all know banks have been robbing from us ever since”. Blanche told me the Willows have been selling the Jerilderie letter since the mid fifties. This refutes the ridiculous claim by the State Library of Victoria's that the letter has never been published. A postcard purchased from the Willows states “The Kelly Gang, as they were widely known, rode into Jerilderie, a small sheep, wheat and cattle town in the south-west Riverina region of NSW, Australia — the year was 1879. Members of the gang were Ned Kelly, his brother Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart. They locked up the two policemen, took over the hotel (free drinks on the bushrangers) and bailed up the local bank, taking over two thousand pounds. Communications were cut at the post office which still stands today just a short distance from the majestic gums on Billabong Creek”. The Post Office is found at 11 Powell Street, Jerilderie, New South Wales. For more information telephone 03 5886 1666.


Glenrowan

GlenrowanGlenrowan was described in The Australian Handbook of 1903 as:

Glenrowan is a rural locality and township on the route between Melbourne and Albury. It is 184 km north-east of Melbourne and 14 km before Wangaratta. Motorists on the old Hume Highway and train travellers pass through the township, but the Hume Freeway bypasses it in 1988. Glenrowan was named after pioneer pastoralists James and George Rowan who occupied pastoral stations between 1846 and 1858 in the area between Winton and Glenrowan. North of the township are the Warby Ranges, which provide run–off for some agricultural pursuits and for the filling of Lake Mokoan east of Glenrowan. The lake, artificially formed in 1970, was formerly a swamp. The railway line through Glenrowan was opened in 1873, two years before town allotments were put up for sale and three years before the primary school was opened.

The Big Ned KellyIn 1880 Glenrowan was the site of the siege of the Kelly Gang at Jones Hotel. The gang's leader, Ned Kelly, had calculated that police would be sent to the area by train, because of a recent murder, but the school teacher escaped from Jones Hotel and signaled the train to stop before it came to the part of the railway line which had been torn up so as to wreck the train. In the siege which followed, three of the four gang members were killed and Ned Kelly was captured and brought to trial. Glenrowan thus acquired the reputation of being part of the Kelly Country, and has since opened two museums devoted to that subject along with a tourist centre. Glenrowan is situated between forested ranges – Warby Ranges and Mt. Glenrowan to the north and a forested range to the south. The road and railway line curve northwards between the ranges, and the town's new settlement has followed the northwards curve. The new settlement is Hamilton Park, and contains several water storage's. The original township near the railway station has the school, two churches, a recreation reserve and shops with tourist attractions. Glenrowan's census populations have been 12:1861, 125:1891, 320:1911 and 200:1981. For more information contact the Glenrowan Tourist Centre on 03 5766 2367.


Glenrowan: The Kelly Walk
Any of Glenrowan's major establishments can furnish you with a pamphlet outlining The Kelly Walk which takes in the town sites associated with the Glenrowan siege. The railway station has changed little since Ned lay wounded in the stationmaster's office. It was here that crowds used the station as a grandstand to watch the siege.
TALKING SENSE
While not everyone wants to read about Ned Kelly or the ANZACs or even The Great Depression, we hope they want to learn something about Australian History. From the ex-Prime Minister John Howard to a confused ex-NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt (see the ex-pattern here?) a number of politicians have jumped on the teaching history bandwagon. But at what cost? From Right Wing Liberals to the multitude of State Governments, seems everyone has an agenda. We'd like to let the readers decide what is worth learning. Here at IronOutlaw.com we present the facts, the fiction and everything in between. It all adds to the experience and hopefully makes History an exciting place to be while also proving it needn't always have to be written by the victors.
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Ned Kelly: A Pictorial History available on the iPad App Store
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If you're looking for that perfect gift then head over to our shop where we are featuring Max Brown's 312 page hardcover limited edition novel Australian Son: the story of Ned Kelly for $34.95 with free Australia wide postage (or $14.95 international postage). All of Max's books come with a bonus Australian Son bookmark. These books are only available for purchase online (and not through book shops). Of course the money we raise goes back in to building the world's greatest Ned Kelly web site.

Australian Son by Max Brown

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