Ned Kelly – Australian Robin Hood
He was a thief and a killer. Yet he is considered a national hero and one of the most romantic figures in Australian history. Poems and songs were written, and thousands of post cards with the pictures of the gang were sold.
Edward Kelly was born on June 3, 1854. He was born into a family of John Kelly and Ellen Quinn. His parents were both Irish born, but they met and married in Australia. His father was exiled to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) for stealing two pigs. He was freed after five years in prison and moved to the province of Victoria where he married Ellen Quinn, the daughter of a local farmer. Ned was the third child in the family (of the eight). He received his primary education at a local school.
When Ned was about 12 years old, his father was accused of stealing a calf. John Kelly died on December 27, 1866 in prison.
Ned first got into trouble with the law when he was only 14. He and his family used to steal horses, rebrand them and sell them. The owners of the horses offered large rewards for Kelly’s arrest.
Ned Kelly and his gang robbed two banks, killed three policemen, captured two whole towns and soon became national heroes. His gang included Ned and his younger brother Dan, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart.
Ned was the only gang member to survive the siege. He had 28 bullet wounds. But he recovered – only to be hanged five months later at the age of 25.
Kelly died on November 11, 1880 in Melbourne Prison, Australia.
Kelly was dressed in home-made armor. It weighed 40 kg and was about 15 kg heavier than the armor medieval knights wore.
Movies about Kelly
The True Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)
Ned Kelly (1970) – Mick Jagger played the role of Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly (2003)