|Ned Kelly - Bushranger|
Ned Kelly is the most famous of all Australian bushrangers. he was born in
the Glenrowan area in 1855 and at age 15 had his first altercation with the police. Although not
convicted, he was first charged with helping bushranger Harry Power, during robberies.
He was sentenced to 6 months hard labor shortly after for assault and indecent behavior and began this before his 16th. birthday.
After his release, he got a job working in a sawmill and stayed out of trouble for a time. he developed a reputation as a trick rider and boxer during this time, and seemed to have learned his lesson well.
When the sawmill closed in 1876 he was accused of stealing a bull, and soon became a target of the police who took out their frustrations on his female relatives. Kelly's resentment of this harrassment grew and he developed a hatred for the police which lasted through his short lifetime.
Kelly, with his gang, held up the Bank of New South Wales in Jerilderie in February 1879 and got away with £2,000. He left a letter with one of the clerks to be published outlining his reasons and philosophy for choosing the notorious path he was accused of. The Jerilderie Letter is now another part of the folklore surrounding Kelly and his gang.
Over the next few years the police tried many times to gain evidence on Kelly to get him behind bars until, on the 20th. of June, 1880, Kelly with a gang comprising his brother and others, attacked Glenrowan, cutting the telegraph wires and forcing railway workers to rip up the line. In the ensuing gun battle with police Kelly was shot in the knee and captured. He was hung in Melbourne on November the 11th. for his crimes. Some 4,000 Melbourne people attended the hanging.
The suit of armour which Kelly designed to protect himself in running gun battles with police is now a part of Australian folk lore. It comprised an iron helmet, something like an inverted bucket, with a slit for the eyes to see through.
A statue of Ned Kelly wearing his famous armour will be found in the town of Glenrowan, and a cell at the Beechworth prison is converted as it would have been during his incarceration there.
Ned Kelly is an integral part of Australian folk lore and expressions like "As bold as Ned Kelly" have become part of the language.
He was buried in the Old Melbourne Gaol and in 2013 his remains were exhumed and he was re-interred in the tiny Greta cemetery in north eastern Victoria, 132 years after his execution, at a private service attended by his descendents.
The statue at Glenrowan on the Hume Hwy in Victoria
|© Copyright Peter W. Wilkins|