Ned Kelly


Who: Australian bushranger and outlaw.

What: After an altercation with police, went into hiding as an outlaw.

Where: Born in Beveridge, Victoria, Australia.

Why: He divides opinion: vilified as a cop-killer or revered as a folk hero.

When: June 1855 – 11th November 1880

“Such is life” – Ned Kelly, before his hanging.

Ned Kelly died over 130 years ago, and yet still polarizes Australian opinion. Some say he was a cold-blooded thug, others say he was a misunderstood hero standing up to the Anglo-Australian ruling classes. His criminal life started early, being arrested twice before the age of 16. In 1878, an altercation with a police officer named Fitzpatrick ensued, and Ned was forced into hiding, joined by his brother Dan, and friends Joe Byrne and Steve Hart. They later ambushed the four policemen sent to apprehend them at Stringybark Creek, killing three, and officially becoming the outlawed Kelly Gang. During a raid on the town of Jerilderie in New South Wales, he dictated the surprisingly eloquent ‘Jerilderie letter’ in an attempt to justify his actions and bring light on alleged police corruption. On 29th June 1880 they were finally cornered and surrounded in a hotel in Glenrowan, Victoria, where they engaged in a shootout with the police, famously wearing their homemade armour. Byrne, Hart and Dan Kelly were killed, and Ned was wounded, captured and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Melbourne Gaol on November 11.

Further reading:

Ned Kelly, the day before his execution.


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