105 Facts About Ned Kelly


Edward Kelly was an Australian bushranger, outlaw, gang leader and convicted police-murderer.


Ned Kelly was born in the then-British colony of Victoria as the third of eight children to Irish parents.


Ned Kelly later joined the "Greta Mob", a group of bush larrikins known for stock theft.


Ned Kelly continues to cause division in his homeland: some celebrate him as Australia's equivalent of Robin Hood, while others regard him as a murderous villain undeserving of his folk hero status.


Ned Kelly's father, John Kelly, was born in 1820 at Clonbrogan, near Moyglas, County Tipperary in Ireland.


Ned Kelly's family did not prosper at Beveridge and his father began drinking heavily.


In 1868 Ned's uncle Jim Kelly was convicted of arson after setting fire to the rented premises where the Kellys and some of the Lloyds were staying.


The Ned Kelly selection was probably unsuitable for successful farming, and Ellen supplemented her income by offering accommodation to travellers and illegally selling alcohol.


In 1869, fourteen-year-old Kelly met Irish-born Harry Power, a transported convict who turned to bushranging in north-eastern Victoria after escaping Melbourne's Pentridge Prison.


The Kellys formed part of Power's network of sympathisers, and by May 1869 Ned had become his bushranging protege.


Ned Kelly reconciled with Power in March 1870 and, over the next month, the pair committed a series of armed robberies as police scrambled to find them and identify Power's young accomplice.


Ned Kelly fronted court on three separate robbery charges, the first two of which were dismissed as none of the victims could positively identify him.


Ned Kelly was sent to Melbourne where he spent the weekend in a lock-up before being transferred to Kyneton to face court.


Historians tend to disagree over this episode: some see it as evidence of police harassment; others believe the Ned Kelly family intimidated the witnesses, making them reluctant to give evidence.


Ned Kelly denied the rumour, and in a letter that bears the only surviving example of his handwriting, he pleads with Sergeant James Babington of Kyneton for help, saying that "everyone looks on me like a black snake".


However, Ned Kelly had given information which led to Power's capture and it is possible that the charges against him were dropped in exchange for this information.


Power always believed that Ned Kelly was responsible for the betrayal.


Ned Kelly passed the note to one of his cousins to give to the woman.


Ned Kelly was arrested for his part in sending the calves' parts and the note and for assaulting McCormack.


Ned Kelly was sentenced to three months' hard labour on each charge.


Ned Kelly later claimed that he was unaware that the horse didn't belong to Wright.


Ned Kelly said that as soon after Wright departed, the mare was found by Gunn and a neighbour, William Williamson.


Ned Kelly then took the mare to Wangaratta, where he stayed for four days.


On 20 April 1871, while riding back into Greta, Ned Kelly was intercepted by Constable Edward Hall, who suspected that the horse was stolen.


Ned Kelly directed Kelly to the police station on the pretence of having to sign some papers.


When Ned Kelly resisted arrest, Hall drew his revolver and tried to shoot him, but it misfired three times.


Ned Kelly was then overpowered by Kelly, who later said that he straddled him and dug spurs into his thighs, causing the constable to "[roar] like a big calf attacked by dogs".


James Murdoch, a friend and neighbour of the Kellys, gave evidence that Ned had implied to him that the horse was stolen and had tried to recruit him to steal other horses.


When it was later revealed that Ned Kelly was still in Beechworth Gaol when the horse was taken, the charges were downgraded to "feloniously receiving a horse".


Ned Kelly served his sentence at Beechworth Gaol, then at Pentridge Prison.


Ned Kelly returned to Pentridge after several months and was released on 2 February 1874, six months early, for good behaviour.


Ned Kelly won after twenty rounds and was declared the unofficial boxing champion of the district.


On 18 September 1877, Ned Kelly was arrested in Benalla for riding over a footpath while drunk.


Ned Kelly was found guilty of being drunk and disorderly, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.


The claim that Ned Kelly vowed that if ever he should shoot a man it would be Lonigan is probably apocryphal.


However, Ned Kelly later claimed that Fitzpatrick subsequently harassed his family because Ned Kelly had knocked him down during the brawl.


Ned Kelly altered the brands on the horses and sold six of them to William Baumgarten, a horse dealer in Barnawartha, near the New South Wales border.


On 11 April 1878, Constable Strachan, the officer in charge of Greta police station, heard that Ned Kelly was at a shearing shed in New South Wales and was given leave to apprehend him.


Minutes later, Ned Kelly rushed in through the front door and fired a shot at Fitzpatrick with a revolver, missing him.


Ned Kelly told Fitzpatrick that he wouldn't have fired at him if he had known it was him.


Fitzpatrick fainted and when he regained consciousness Kelly compelled him to extract the bullet from his own arm with a knife; Kelly's mother dressed the wound.


Ned Kelly concocted a cover story and said that if Fitzpatrick told this story he would reward him after the Baumgarten case was over.


Ned Kelly had ridden away about a mile when he found that two horsemen were pursuing, but by spurring his horse into a gallop he escaped to the Winton hotel and was assisted inside by the manager.


Ned Kelly's wound was rebandaged and he was given a brandy and water.


Ned Kelly's mother replied, "You would not be so handy with that popgun of yours if Ned were here".


Dan then said, trying to trick Fitzpatrick, "There is Ned Kelly coming along by the side of the house".


In 1881, Brickey Williamson, who was seeking remission for his sentence in relation to the incident, stated that Ned Kelly shot Fitzpatrick after the constable had drawn his revolver.


Jones and Dawson have argued that Ned Kelly shot Fitzpatrick but it was his friend Joe Byrne who was with him, not Bill Skillion.


Ryan revealed that Ned Kelly was in Greta that afternoon, which was damaging to the defence.


Ellen's sentence was considered harsh, even by people who had no cause to be Ned Kelly sympathisers, especially as she was nursing a newborn baby.


The police had received information that the Ned Kelly gang were in the Wombat Ranges at the head of the King River and, on 25 October 1878, two mounted police parties were dispatched to search for them.


At about 5 pm the four members of the Ned Kelly gang emerged from the bush and ordered the two policemen in the camp to bail up and raise their arms.


The Kelly gang questioned McIntyre and armed themselves with the policemen's shotgun and revolvers.


Ned Kelly reached Mansfield police station the following day and a search party quickly found the bodies of Lonigan and Scanlan.


Ned Kelly claimed that the weapons and amount of ammunition the police party carried indicated their intention of killing him rather than arresting him.


Ned Kelly claimed that these circumstances, and the failure of the police to surrender when ordered to, justified him killing them in self-defence.


Ned Kelly stated that it was the Kelly gang who confronted the police with their weapons drawn and that they did not give the police a realistic chance to surrender.


In need of money, the Kelly gang planned to rob the bank in the small town of Euroa.


On 14 December 1878, the copies were posted to Donald Cameron, a Victorian parliamentarian who Ned Kelly wrongly thought was sympathetic to the gang, and John Sadleir, the police superintendent at Benalla.


Ned Kelly expected Cameron to read the letter out in parliament, but the government refused to make it public.


Ned Kelly later repeated much of the contents of the letter in the longer Jerilderie Letter.


The Ned Kelly gang had distributed most of the proceeds from the raid to family, friends and associates who had given them assistance.


On Friday, 7 February 1879, the Ned Kelly gang crossed the Murray River between Mulwala and Tocumwal and camped overnight in thick forest.


The Ned Kelly gang spent most of Sunday morning preparing for the bank robbery while many of the town's population were attending church.


Ned Kelly took deeds, mortgages and securities from the safe which he later had burned because "the bloody banks are crushing the life's blood out of the poor, struggling man".


Once the telegraph was cut, Ned Kelly went with two hostages to the newspaper owner's home where he asked for copies of his Jerilderie letter to be printed.


Ned Kelly then told the hostages, who now numbered about thirty, that they were free to go.


Ned Kelly tasked Edwin Living, a local bank accountant, with delivering it to the editor of the Jerilderie and Urana Gazette for publication.


Ned Kelly then sent Ellen into the bedroom to bring the police out, but they held her in the room.


However, Ned Kelly threatened to shoot another young hostage, keeping him "in a state of extreme terror for about half an hour".


The police train Ned Kelly had been expecting only left Benalla after 2 am on Monday.


Ned Kelly had decided to let the hostages return home and was delivering them a lecture about police informers when Byrne came in from outside with the news that a train had arrived.


Ned Kelly was wounded in the left hand and arm and his right foot.


Ned Kelly later stated that at that time he was in the bushes not far from the police.


Seriously wounded, Ned Kelly lay in the bush for most of the night.


Ned Kelly was disarmed and carried to the railway station where a doctor attended to his injuries.


Ned Kelly was later found to have more than twenty-eight wounds, including serious gunshot wounds to his left elbow and right foot, multiple less serious gunshot wounds, and cuts and abrasions from his armour.


Ned Kelly's friends asked for the body, but the police instead arranged a hasty inquiry and burial in a pauper's grave in Benalla Cemetery.


Ned Kelly survived to stand trial on 19 October 1880 in Melbourne before Sir Redmond Barry, the judge who had earlier sentenced Ned Kelly's mother to three years in prison for the attempted murder of Fitzpatrick.


Ned Kelly was convicted of the willful murder of Lonigan and sentenced to death by hanging.


The day before his execution, Ned Kelly had his photographic portrait taken as a keepsake for his family, and he was granted farewell interviews with relatives.


The warden later wrote that Ned Kelly, when prompted to say his last words, mumbled something indiscernible.


Ned Kelly was buried in the "old men's yard", just inside the walls of Old Melbourne Gaol.


On 14 May 1881, a newspaper reported that Ned Kelly's body was dissected by medical students who removed his head and organs for study.


The bones were uncovered at a mass grave and Ned Kelly's were among those of thirty-two felons who had been executed by hanging.


Ned Kelly's remains were additionally identified by partially healed right foot, right knee and left elbow injuries matching those caused by the bullet wounds at Glenrowan as recorded by the gaol's surgeon in 1880 and by the fact that his head was missing, likely removed for phrenological study.


On 20 January 2013, Ned Kelly's relatives granted his final wish and buried his remains in consecrated ground at Greta cemetery near his mother's unmarked grave.


Most, including Ned Kelly's, were placed with the engravings facing inwards.


The myth surrounding Ned Kelly has become pervasive in Australian culture, and Kelly has become one of Australia's most recognised national symbols.


Ned Kelly has progressed from outlaw to national hero in a century, and to international icon in a further 20 years.


Ned Kelly is often seen as the embodiment of characteristics thought to be typically Australian such as defying authority, siding with the underdog and fighting bravely for one's beliefs.


The Euroa and Jerilderie raids were partly public performances where the Kelly gang acted courteously to women, burned mortgage documents and entertained their hostages.


Australia was highly urbanised, the telegraph and the railway were rapidly connecting the bush to the city, and Ned Kelly was already an icon for a romanticised past.


For Seal, the failure of the Ned Kelly gang to derail the train at Glenrowan was a symbol of the triumph of modern civilisation.


Macintyre states that Ned Kelly turning agricultural equipment into defensive armour was an irresistible symbol of a passing era.


Songs, poems, popular entertainments, fiction, books, and newspaper and magazine articles about the Ned Kelly gang proliferated in the decades after Ned Kelly's death.


Ned Kelly has figured prominently in Australian cinema since the 1906 release of The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang, the world's first dramatic feature-length film.


In literature, Douglas Stewart's verse drama Ned Kelly was first performed in 1942.


The Ned Kelly Awards are Australia's premier prizes for crime fiction and true crime writing.


The first ballads about the Ned Kelly gang were published in 1879 and it quickly became a popular genre.


Non-Australian artists who have recorded songs about Ned Kelly include Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.


In 1969 Eric Hobsbawm, in Bandits, argued that Ned Kelly was in the tradition of the social bandit, a type of peasant outlaw and symbol of social rebellion with significant community support.


Jones, Molony and others argue that Ned Kelly was a political rebel with considerable support among selectors and labourers in north-eastern Victoria.


Jones claims that Ned Kelly intended to derail the train at Glenrowan to incite a rebellion of disaffected selectors and declare a "Republic of North-eastern Victoria".


Seal states that Ned Kelly proposed "a basic form of wealth redistribution" in his Jerilderie Letter, when the outlaw suggested that the wealthy squatters of the district should establish a charitable fund for the local poor, orphans and widows.