Ned Kelly is an infamous figure in Australian history, known for his rebellious nature and dramatic life story that has been retold in books, plays, and movies. He was born in 1855 in Victoria, and his family struggled to make ends meet. Kelly became a troublemaker in his teens and was arrested several times for petty theft and assault. In 1878, Kelly and his gang robbed a bank and became outlaws. After months on the run, they were captured after a protracted battle at Glenrowan in 1880. Kelly was tried and convicted of murder for killing a police officer and executed by hanging. His last words, “Such is life”, have become famous in Australian folklore. While some see Kelly as a hero for his rebellion against a corrupt government, others see him as a criminal who committed many serious crimes. The story of Ned Kelly is a reminder of the complexities of human nature and the importance of questioning authority.
On the Trail of Infamous Bushranger Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly is undoubtedly one of the most infamous figures in Australian history. With his rugged good looks and charismatic personality, he captured the imagination of the public and became a symbol of rebellion against authority. The story of his life and death has been retold countless times, cementing his place in the pantheon of Australian icons. But beyond the myths and legends, what was the true story of Ned Kelly? And what can we learn from his life and legacy?
Ned Kelly was born in 1855 in Beveridge, Victoria, the third of eight children. His father, John Kelly, was an Irish convict who had been transported to Australia for stealing two pigs. After serving his time, he married Ellen Kelly, a convict’s daughter, and they settled in the small town of Greta in north-east Victoria. Life was tough on the Kelly farm, and young Ned was forced to work hard from an early age.
As a teenager, Ned got into trouble with the law, and he soon developed a reputation as a troublemaker. He was arrested several times for petty theft and assault, but he always managed to evade serious punishment. His first brush with the law occurred in 1870, when he was just 15 years old, and he was sentenced to three years’ hard labor for horse theft.
The Kelly Gang
In 1878, things came to a head when Ned and his gang of outlaws robbed the Bank of New South Wales in Jerilderie. After the robbery, they went on the run, eluding the police for months. During this time, they became folk heroes to many Australians who sympathized with their struggle against the authorities. However, the government saw them as dangerous criminals and offered a reward of £8,000 for their capture.
The final showdown between the Kelly gang and the police occurred at Glenrowan in June 1880. The gang had taken over the town and taken several hostages, including schoolchildren. The police laid siege to the hotel where the gang was holed up, and after a protracted battle, the Kelly brothers were captured. Ned Kelly was shot in the legs and arrested, but his wounds were not fatal.
Trial and Execution
Ned Kelly was tried and convicted of murder for killing a police officer during the Glenrowan shootout. He was sentenced to death by hanging, and he was executed on 11 November 1880 at the Old Melbourne Gaol. His last words, “Such is life,” have become famous in Australian folklore.
After his death, Ned Kelly became even more of a legend. His exploits were retold in books, plays, and movies, and he became a symbol of rebellion against authority. Today, he is still a controversial figure, with some people seeing him as a hero and others as a criminal.
The story of Ned Kelly is a fascinating one, full of adventure, tragedy, and triumph. But what lessons can we learn from his life and legacy? Perhaps the most important lesson is the dangers of blindly following authority. Ned Kelly and his gang were products of their time, living in an era when the government was seen as corrupt and oppressive. They defied authority because they believed they had no other choice.
However, it is also important to remember that Ned Kelly was not a saint. He committed many crimes during his life, and his actions had serious consequences. He was not above using violence to achieve his goals, and he paid the ultimate price for his actions.
At the end of the day, the story of Ned Kelly is a reminder of the complex nature of human beings. We are capable of great deeds and terrible crimes, and the truth is rarely black and white. As we continue to explore the legacy of this infamous bushranger, we must strive to find a deeper understanding of his life and the broader social and political context in which he lived.
Q. Was Ned Kelly a hero or a criminal?
A. This is a matter of opinion. Some people see him as a Robin Hood-type figure who fought against an oppressive government, while others see him as a dangerous criminal who committed many crimes.
Q. Why is Ned Kelly so famous?
A. Ned Kelly captured the imagination of the public with his charismatic personality and daring exploits. He became a symbol of rebellion against authority and has been immortalized in books, plays, and movies.
Q. What lessons can we learn from Ned Kelly’s life?
A. The most important lesson is the importance of questioning authority and standing up for what you believe in. However, it is also important to remember the consequences of our actions and the impact they have on others.