Ned Kelly
Australia Crest

Ned, the eldest of 8 children, was born in Wallon, Victoria, in 1854 to Irish parents. His father John 'Red' Kelly was noted for his rebellious spirit.

Ned Kelly - Police Museum
Ned Kelly - Police Museum

His ex-convict father died when Ned was 12 and the family settled at Greta, some 240km north-east of Melbourne.

Times were tough for the Kelly family with not enough land to make a living, and what they had was of poor quality soil.

Ned's first crime was robbing a Chinese, at age 14. The charge was dismissed.

When he was 16 he was convicted of receiving a stolen horse and sentenced to 3 years in the slammer.

In April 1878 a police officer named Fitzpatrick accused Ned's mother of attacking him and that Ned had then shot him in the wrist. Mrs Kelly was sent to prison for 3 years and Ned was on the run with a 100 pounds bounty on his head. Ned's younger brother Dan kept him company in the bush.

Brother James Kelly was in jail from 1878-1880 for horse-stealing.

On 26th October, 1878, the Kellys accompanied by Joe Byrne and Steve Hart came across a police camp at Stringy Bark Creek. Ned called on them to surrender but when three of the officers resisted a fight ensued with Kelly killing them.

The reward for the capture of the Kelly gang now rose to two thousand pounds, over $2 million in today's currency.

On February 10th, 1879, the Kelly gang raided the NSW town of Jerilderie, took the police captive and snatched more than $4,000 from the Bank of NSW (now Westpac). The Kelly gang had previously robbed another bank in 1878 at Euroa in Victoria.

In June 1880 the Kelly gang made its last stand at the Glenrowan Hotel. They had taken 62 hostages and had talked to them all day whilst a trainload of police arrived from Melbourne. The hotel was soon surrounded by the constabulary and the four bushrangers wore suits of armour made of steel from an old plough.

Ned escaped through the police ranks but whilst trying to rescue his brother Dan and friends he was shot several times in the arms, legs, groin, feet and hands. This spectacle was watched by over 600 spectators.

Ned captured, the police set fire to the hotel and the charred remains of the others were later removed.

Kelly, aged 25, was hanged at Old Melbourne Jail on the 11th November,1880, and his remains lay there until they were exhumed in 1929 and moved to Pentridge.

Bushranger Ned Kelly was finally laid to rest 118 years to the day of his execution on 11th November, 1998 at the Pentridge prison grave site, Melbourne, where his remains were relocated in 1929 and then left in an unmarked mass grave.

Kelly's head was on display at Old Melbourne Jail before being stolen in 1978. His family naturally appealed for return of the head, but to no avail. His death mask, armour and the gallows on which he died are on display at ye Old Gaol.

Ned Kelly's last words were said to be "Such is life!".

The Story Of The Kelly Gang was the first feature film made in the world and was shown in Melbourne in 1906.

Sir Sidney Nolan's 'Ned Kelly' series of pictures grace the walls of the National Gallery of Victoria.

From a common horse thief to becoming an Australian Icon, Ned Kelly displayed the larrikin and anti-authoritarian character that seems to be a part of the Aussie makeup.

At time of writing his closest known living relative is 94 year old niece Elsie Pettifer.

Perhaps if people of that era had used the services of Brinks Australia then Ned may not have been any trouble at all! Brinks have been looking after other peoples' money and valuables since 1859.

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