The Ned Kelly Story


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Ned Kelly was born in Beveridge, Victoria in 1855

Ned Kelly

 

Joe Byrne

Dan Kelly was born in 1861

Dan Kelly

 

Steve Hart was born near Wangaratta in 1860

Steve Hart

By far the most famous son of the Glenrowan district, Ned Kelly seems to have won the hearts of the common people of his time and for more than a century on.

Born at Beveridge in 1854 into an Irish family typical of migrants of that time, Ned was to become known for his athletic ability and bravery.

The politics of the time, the introduction of government legislation designed for the poor, but badly drawn up, interpreted and administered, together with the growing resentment of an authority believed among the community to be corrupt, all combined to influence Ned's personal attitudes.

Also, as a consequence of the unscrupulous action of some squatters in attempting to force the small selectors off their land, many, including members of the Kelly family, were forced to resort to stock stealing and other unlawful activities just to survive.

At the age of 15, Ned was first brought before the Police Court on a charge of assault on a fowl and pig dealer named Ah Fook, and secondly with aiding the bushranger Harry Power in some of his robberies. Fortunately for Ned he was found not guilty in both cases. But before the end of that year, he was sentenced to six months hard labour for assault and indecent behavior, the result of a prank of a family friend.

Within three weeks of his release, Ned was arrested again, this time for receiving a stolen horse. He had no idea the horse was stolen but was given three years hard labor.

On his release from prison, Ned returned home a hardened but much more mature man than the average nineteen year old. In his absence he discovered that all but one of his thirty two horses had been stolen by the local constabulary, and for a while his determination to stay out of prison kept him on the right side of the authorities. However, it wasn't long before Ned's feelings changed and in partnership with his stepfather, George King, and numerous relatives and associates, they carried out large scale reprisals against those persons whom they believed were persecuting them.

As the police net closed in on the rustling operation, a whole new course of events was set in motion that would have catastrophic consequences for some of its participants.

In April 1878, Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick paid a visit to the Kelly home supposedly to arrest Dan, but as it turned out his motive for the visit lay in his interest in young Kate Kelly. Following an incident in which he assaulted her and required the family's intervention in coming to her aid, an indignant Fitzpatrick swore an attempted murder charge against them all.

This consequently led to the murdering of three policeman sent to arrest the two Kelly brothers and as a result implicated two of their friends. The robbing of two banks at Euroa and Jerilderie which netted them approximately 4,400, and the manufacturing of suits of armour to be worn by members of the gang.

On June 27th 1880, the day after the shooting of Aaron Sherritt, the Kelly gang bailed up Glenrowan, cut the telegraph wires and forced the railway workers to rip up the line. More than sixty hostages were taken during the day as the gang waited for the arrival of the police's special train. Following a tip-off from the local school teacher the train stopped at the station and a bitter gun battle took place with the police laying siege to the hotel. In the nine and a half hours which followed, the building was burnt to the ground, three of the gang members were killed, and Ned, badly wounded was arrested.

Ned was taken to Melbourne, patched up, hurriedly tried and sentenced to death.

At 10.00 am on November 11th 1880, Ned Kelly was hanged in the Old Melbourne Goal, whereupon he became an Australian Legend, and his name gained immortality.

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Glen Rowen Cobb & Co Pty Ltd

37 Gladstone Street, Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia, 3675
Phone 03 5766 2409 Fax 03 5766 2650
E-mail: gdean@nedkellysworld.com.au

 

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