Ned Kelly, the most famous of our "Wild Colonial Boys", was born in 1855. He was raised in harsh poverty in Northern Victoria, and became an expert bushman; by his teens he had developed a reputation as a bushranger.
Kelly and his "gang" were proclaimed outlaws when they killed three policemen, accounts of which differ.
So began the prolonged hunt, which ended with Kelly's capture in Glenrowan, in iconic home-made armour made from plough parts. Ned Kelly was executed in 1880, hanged in the Melbourne Goal by order of Sir Redmond Barry. Barry was instrumental in the foundation of the State Library of Victoria where, perhaps ironically, Kelly's "manifesto", the Jerilderie letter and the armour are held.
Kelly's Irish heritage, his contempt for and success in humilating the authorities, his harsh and some say unfair treatment, his bad luck and his daring and notoriety have ensured Kelly's place as folk hero.
View videos and other Kelly artefacts from the State Library of Victoria Ergo site:
Imagining Ned Kelly: Interview with Peter Carey
Spot where Ned Kelly was taken.
Snider Enfield rifle belonging to Ned Kelly
Suit of armour worn by Ned Kelly
The siege at Glenrowan
Ned Kelly at Bay
A strange apparition - Ned Kelly's fight and capture.
Last scene of the Kelly drama: the criminal on the scaffold
Ned Kelly Death Mask
Ned Kelly writes to Sergeant Babington
Ned Kelly's school records
'The Story of the Kelly Gang' film poster
Story education resources
Education State Library of Victoria: Ned Kelly's Jerilderie Letter
In 1879, Ned Kelly dictated the Jerilderie letter to Joe Byrne. In the letter, Kelly tells his version of events leading up to his exile and eventual capture. These materials and worksheets provides students with a unique insight into what Kelly was thinking and feeling, as well as how he hoped to be perceived by those around him. They can be used to help students evaluate sources and analyse documents. VELS level 6