Ned Kelly is a name that has lived on long into Australian History as a man who, bushranger though he undoubtable was, was also a man who was targeted, misjudged and most definitely the victim of corruption and greed.
He lived only until he was 25 years old, his final trial was an absolute miscarriage of Justice, which was later proven and interestingly became the basis for what is today known as a Royal Commission. The findings of this first Royal Commission on the Police Force of Victoria, in relation to the capture and death of Ned Kelly, was highly critical of the Victorian police force and also helped towards the modernisation of the Victorian Police as they entered the 20th century.
Truth is often times stranger than fiction and in the sad case of Ned Kelly and the Kelly family, sometimes the fiction far outweighed the fact , inadvertently adding to the troubles experienced not only by Ned, but also his Mother and sisters.
Coming from a proud but poor Irish migrant family, the Kelly’s hit on both good and bad times on the land, struggling to make a living in the early days of the settlement in Victoria. Victimized as many were, Ned took the law into his own hands taking on the corruption that was prevalent at the time, the greedy land barons, many of whom had begun as squatters on the lands they held, and a government full of men of dubious morality and background.
His career as an outlaw was colourful, flamboyant and in essence supported by the people, as they saw Ned and his brothers as fighters for the underdog and the rights of the poorer people. In the 18 months of his reign as Victoria’s most wanted outlaw, Ned and the Kelly Gang carried out many daring raids, wrote essays explaining what and why they did what they did, failed to fire a shot although they robbed two banks.
His final and most daring plan to establish the Republic of Victoria and derail a special police train being sent into the area of Glenrowan, went terribly, fatally, wrong with Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart losing their lives and Ned being arrested and tried, sentenced to hang.
Such was public outrage a petition was taken up and signed by more than 32,000 people and presented to the Governor, but to no avail. Ned Kelly was hanged on Thursday 11 November 1880.
His legacy and his legend still live on. For anyone who is a Kelly fan or fanatic or simply wants to know more about this humble man who took on the might of a corrupt system, eventually paying with his life, this book by Historian Brad Webb is a must have . It is what could be considered as the ‘essential guide’ to Ned Kelly, but also contains rarely seen images and is full of interesting little ‘fact pages’ which offers a slightly different perspective to the more sanitized version of events.
|Publisher||New Holland Publishers|
|Distributor||New Holland Publishers|