cricket ain't what it used to be.
The year 2000
saw a boom in the interest of Ned and his Gang. In
Sydney, we had hundreds of Kellys running around
the main arena at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. A
few months later, world renowned author Peter Carey
shot to number one here in Australia with his best
selling fiction title True
History of the Kelly Gang — notice I
put the word fiction in bold letters because it is
fiction, dear people. Fast forward three years and
we saw Heath Ledger don the famous armour in a movie
adaptation of the very ordinary book Our
Sunshine. The movie may be factually flawed
but its big name actors did manage to mask many of
the books low points.
Ned and the
boys may have departed this earth over one hundred and thirty years
ago but their legend continues to grow. At
any given week, in any major newspaper, youll
be able to read a story relating to the Kelly
Now more than ever we are bombarded with new exhibitions,
talk of new documentaries, and auction houses flogging
off anything — and nothing — to do with
the Kelly legend. So you try to look for some guidance,
but where do you start? Back in 1995 when the net
was still in it's infancy I started searching for
information on Ned Kelly. What I found was a poorly
designed — even for back then — shambles.
Then and there I decided to start my own site. Hundreds
of hours, three URL changes (www.netspace.net.au/~bradwebb then
and five total site rebuilds later, the end result
is now sitting in front of you. At
last count, this web site weighed in at over ninety megabyte with
over 445 html pages, 1360 asset files, 75000 links,
and an average of over
eight and a half million hits a year.
photo right is of myself and my sister standing next to some dodgy armour at one of the
numerous Kelly museums that could be found around
Benalla back in the mid 70s.
Ian Jones tells
the story of how, as a boy of ten, he was first introduced
to the legend of Ned through reading J.J. Kenneallys The
Inner History of the Kelly Gang. I was 8 when
I first went to Glenrowan but, unlike Ian, it took
me a few more years to realise what impact Ned had
made on the Australian psyche. I suppose Ian didn’t
have television to distract him back in 1940... Still,
I always had a fascination for all things Australian.
When other kids were watching Mickey Mouse, I was
reading Blinky Bill. My GI Joe was dressed in Kelly
armour that I'd made out of toilet rolls, sewn together
with black cotton and coloured in with gray texta.
Today I run a graphic design studio and during my
spare time, when I'm not sleeping, I'm building this
website. Sure there have been countless books, reviews,
films and discussions stemming from the infamous
uprising but they have never been placed into one
easy to access online reference. History has always
fascinated me, particularly Australian
website compliments my thirst for knowledge, allowing
me to share my passion with like minded souls. It
also helps hone my writing skills as I labour away
finishing a PhD, during my 'other' spare
Ask any Australian
(or for that matter any Kelly buff the world over)
and they will tell you a story about their great
grandparents riding shot gun for the Kelly Gang or
feeding their horses or hiding them in their cellar
(take your pick, the lists can go on for pages!).
Well, not to be outdone, I too have a tenuous link
to the legends of home made armour. Yes, my fathers
mother (ie. my grandmother) came from a small country
town in Victoria called Violet Town, situated right
there in the thick of things at Kelly Country.
packing up all their belongings (including the children)
and embarking on the long journey to Melbourne (by
horse and cart after the Great War), the Radbourne
family had been store owners. It seems great great
grand dad had supplied Ned and his fellow band of
merry men various goods during their time on the
run. However, I did get the impression he was none
too happy with these customers, but he held the local
constabulary in lower regard and seeing Ned did pay
his way he continued to serve him. So there you have
it, my Kelly connection. Although seeing all who
were involved in this story are dead you will just
have to take my word for it. At least my Kelly link
has a bit more meat on it than that self styled historian
Ken Oldis far flung claim...
EK symbol is based on the brand Ned Kelly used. The
E and reversed K conjoined was carried by all Kelly's
horses including the impressive bay mare Mirth which
he rode through most of his outlaw years.
the net to find information on this icon of Australian
history and you'll discover a mismatch of poorly
constructed and thought out sites. All these sites
do is add to the confusion. It is Ironoutlaw.com’s
aim to attempt to list every important event linked
to the Kelly Gang, and in doing so hopefully open
up some relevant topics for discussion in the Feedback section.
And if it is not here then you will at least find
a Link to
it. And my reward? Well, aside from showcasing my
company's HTML talent, the hundreds of emails I receive
from around the world is payment enough. You would
be surprised at some of the countries where our Ned
has been recognised!