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The History Of Ned Kelly

Ned's Portrait

Ned's Portrait (circa 1879)

Ned Boxing

Ned Boxing

Ned In Chains

Ned In Chains

At the Gallows

At The Gallows 1880

Ned's Portrait 2

The Kelly's Family

Ned's Family House

 

Dan Kelly

Ned's Brother Dan Kelly

James Kelly

James Kelly

Kate Kelly

Sister Kate Kelly

Ned Kelly, Australia's most famous, most romanticized outlaw, died on the Melbourne gallows on November 11, 1880, aged 26 years.
Pronounced by the law as ''Thieves and murderers, The Kelly's were rotten, root and branch''. But the public saw Ned Kelly and his gang in a different light. They saw them as victims of overbearing officialdom, that they were wronged, were deliberately persecuted by the police, never given a fair chance. The big six foot outlaw with the redish brown beard, and his gang, operated in Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales from 1878 to 1880. In those two years, apart from the ambushing and killing of three troopers, they held up and robbed two backs and captured the town of Jerilderie and Glenrowan.Ned Kelly was the son of John ''Red'' Kelly, an Irish gamekeeper, who was found guilty of stealing two pigs at Tipperary Assizes in 1841 and sent to serve a seven year sentence in Van Diemen's Land, later becoming Tasmania. John Kelly later was given his ticket-of-leave and settled in Victoria in the town of Beveridge, 25 miles from Melbourne. There, he met Ellen, daughter of James Ouinn, a bounty migrant from Ireland. Together they raised 7 children, Ned being the third eldest, born June 1855 in the town of Wallan Wallan.The first brush with the law came from within the Quinn family, with sons Jimmy and Jack arrested on cattle and horse stealing charges. On three separate occasions cases against them were dismissed, until on a fourth charge Jimmy was sent to goal for six weeks. So began the bitter battle between the Ouinns, Lloyds (the Quinns other two daughters married the two Lloyd boys) and the Kelly's.They were turbulent times in a young country. Desperate men, embittered former convicts, swindlers and rogue's included, roamed the countryside plundering and murdering.

Over the next 25 years these three families were to have 57 charges, 34 of them resulting in conditions laid against them.

The Kelly family moved to Eleven Mile Creek outside of Greta, and it was here that their tragic fate was sealed.Ned at 15 years took up with notorious outlaw Harry Powers. Caught in l870 Powers received 15 years prison. His apprenticeship complete, Ned was out in the world on his own. Not for long though as he was sent to goal for six months for insulting behaviour, his first conviction. Released, he was promptly caught for horse stealing and went to prison for 3 years. His brother Jim, serving a sentence of 5 years for stealing, on release figured in a holdup and went back to gaol, this time for a 10 year stretch.

The forming of the Kelly gang began over an altercation between a police Constable Fitzpatrick at the Kelly homestead, where he claimed that Ned, brother Dan and two neighbours had attacked and shot at him, including Ned's mother, who hit him over the head with a shovel. Ned, who was nowhere near the homestead on that day, heard the news and escaped to the Wombat Ranges to be joined by his brother Dan. His mother, along with the two neighbours were sent to prison serving three and six years respectively. Constable Fitzpatrick had had his day of glory in the district. In later years he was finally dismissed from the force on charges of being a liar.Joining the Kelly Brothers in the Wombat Ranges were two hard riding friends, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart. Together they became the Kelly Gang.When Ned Kelly heard of his mothers unkind prison sentence, he swore terrible revenge. Meanwhile, in the town of Benalla, a reward of $100 was offered for the capture of the Kelly brothers. A police party of four (Kennedy, Scanlon, McIntyre and Lonigan) set out from Mansfield into the Wombat Ranges to track down the gang. A shootout at Stringboard Creek resulted in the deaths of 3 policemen, McIntyre escaping to tell of the fateful news.

A reward was now set at 500 pounds for the capture of Ned Kelly's gang.

December 1878, 44 days after Stringybark, the Kelly gang held up Younghusband Station at Faithfull's Creek near Euroa, Next was the National Bank in the township where they cleaned out the safe of £l,942, as well as 31 ounces of smelted gold.

On February the 8th,. 1879, the Kelly gang held up the Jerilderie Police Station, locking the troopers in the cells. Raiding the Bank of New South Wales, they escaped with £2,141 . At all times they were courteous and respectful to all.

Disappearing into the Strathbogie Ranges for 16 months, the Kelly gang cooled their heels. They had plenty of friends who let them know of the despair of the law in their futile search for them. They also had their share of informers.

The reward was now 3,000 pounds offered from the N.S.W. government as well as an additional 1,000 pounds from the backs for their capture. At the same time, the State of Victoria was also offering 24,000 pounds, bringing the grand total to 8,000 pounds, an enormous sum of money in those days.

Realising that with native black trackers called in to find their whereabouts, the Kelly gang knew that it was just a matter of time before the final showdown.

The gang decided to steal plough soundboards to make armour for the final confrontation. This they did, making head and chest pieces. They were extremely crude and weighed some 90 pounds per man.

Before their showdown with the police, they were determined to kill one Aaron Sherritt, an old time friend turned informer. This they did on the night of June 26, 1880, killing him whilst the police, who were sent to protect him, hid under the bed. The gang then rode on to Glenrowan to the ultimate showdown and, ''Ned Kelly's Last Stand''.

Rounding up the entire town and herding them into the Jones Glenrowan Inn, the gang drank and danced with the folk throughout the night. One man, Tom Curnow, a school teacher, escaped, flagged down the train from Melbourne. Police and black trackers by the train full converged on and surrounded the Glenrowan inn. With hostages lying on the floor of the weather board pub, Ned Kelly and his gang, their crude armour concealed by overcoats, waiting, the police opened fire.

The night long, with no regard to the hostages on the floor of the Inn, both police and the gang opened fire on each other. Around 5am. Ned 'Kelly, badly wounded, staggered out the back of the pub. Bleeding profusely, still with his armour and face mask on, he advanced firing into the police line. He was finally brought down with bullets in his legs. When the rough armour was removed, Ned Kelly was found to have some 28 bullets in his body.

Gang member Joe Byrne was shot dead as he drank a shot of whiskey at the bar, whilst Steve Hart and Dan Kelly were found dead side by side. It was believed that they had poisoned themselves. The police set fire to the pub, the scene of the Battle of Glenrowan, a battle that raged for some 12 1/2 hours. A1l that was left were two chimneys, smoking ashes and a sign still proclaiming that it offered the best accommodation.

Taken to Melbourne by train, his bullets removed, Ned Kelly was tried in the Central Criminal Court on October 28, 1880, found guilty and sentenced to hang on November 11, 1880.

Ned Kelly, the man, lives on today as Australia's greatest folk hero.

The Kelly Gang

                       The Kelly Gang!

    Copyright Ned Kelly's Retreat 2011