Revisiting the Legend of Bushranger Ned Kelly

Uncategorized By May 11, 2023

Ned Kelly is an Australian legend for his resistance against British colonial rule, but his story remains shrouded in mystery. Born in 1854, his life was marked by tragedy and violence, and he fell into a life of crime at a young age. He formed a gang and became known for robbing banks and holding up stagecoaches, becoming a celebrated figure among the poor and working-class citizens. His final stand came at the Glenrowan Siege, where most of his gang was killed and he was captured before being hanged at the Melbourne Gaol. Opinions on Ned Kelly being a hero or a criminal vary widely, and his legacy continues to inspire discussions about the nuances of Australian history.


Bushranger Ned Kelly is an Australian legend, known for his resistance against the British colonial rule of Australia. Born in December 1854, in Victoria, he became known for his daring robberies and his involvement in the Glenrowan siege, which would be his final stand. Ned Kelly’s story has become a part of Australian folklore, and the subject of countless movies, documentaries, and books.

However, despite his notoriety, Ned Kelly’s story remains shrouded in mystery. Many people are familiar with the broad strokes of his story, but few know the details. In this article, we will revisit the legend of Bushranger Ned Kelly, and learn more about the man behind the myth.

Life of Ned Kelly:

Ned Kelly’s life was marked by tragedy and violence from the start. His father, John Kelly, was an Irish convict who had been transported to Australia for stealing two pigs. John Kelly was a surly and abusive man, who regularly beat his wife and children. When Ned was just 12 years old, his father died, leaving the family in dire straits.

After his father’s death, Ned was forced to work odd jobs to support his family. He soon fell into a life of crime, and at the age of 14, he was already in trouble with the law. In 1870, he was arrested for assault, and spent three years in jail.

Upon his release, Ned formed a gang with his younger brother Dan, and a few other men. They began robbing banks and holding up stagecoaches, stealing large sums of money. The authorities soon put a bounty on their heads, and a manhunt began.

The Kelly gang became increasingly daring, and their exploits began to attract the attention of the media. Ned Kelly became something of a Robin Hood figure, celebrated by the poor and working-class people of Australia, who saw him as a hero who was standing up to the oppressive British authorities.

The Glenrowan Siege:

In 1880, the Kelly gang became trapped in a confrontation with the police at Glenrowan. After a long standoff, in which most of the gang was killed, Ned Kelly was captured. He was taken to Melbourne, where he was put on trial and found guilty of murder and other charges.

On November 11, 1880, Ned Kelly was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol. His last words were said to be “Such is life”.

Revisiting the Legend of Ned Kelly:

Today, Ned Kelly is remembered as a classic Australian anti-hero. His legend has inspired countless books, songs, and movies. However, many people have also criticized the glorification of a man who was, after all, a thief and a murderer.

In recent years, there has been renewed interest in Ned Kelly’s story, as people begin to re-examine the legacy of colonialism in Australia. Many people are calling for a more nuanced approach to the study of Australian history, one that recognizes the contributions of indigenous and other marginalized groups.


Q: Was Ned Kelly really a hero?

A: This is a complicated question, as opinions on Ned Kelly vary widely. While there is no doubt that he was a criminal who broke the law, many people see him as a hero who was standing up to the oppressive British authorities. Whether or not you consider Ned Kelly to be a hero likely depends on your personal values and beliefs.

Q: Where can I learn more about Ned Kelly?

A: There are countless books, movies, and documentaries about Ned Kelly and his gang. Some popular options include the book “True History of the Kelly Gang” by Peter Carey, the movie “Ned Kelly” starring Heath Ledger, and the documentary “The Legend of Ned Kelly” which is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

Q: What is the legacy of Ned Kelly?

A: Ned Kelly has become a symbol of resistance against oppressive authority in Australia. His legend has inspired countless people to stand up for their rights and fight for justice. At the same time, however, his story continues to be the subject of controversy, as people debate whether or not he was a hero or a criminal.