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Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

17 Jan 13 - 10:21 AM (#3467562)
Subject: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: JohnInKansas

Given the numerous appearance of outlaw Ned Kelly in folk songs and lore, those with an interest in the history of such things may want to note:

Headless remains of iconic Australian outlaw Ned Kelly to finally be laid to rest

By Thuy Ong, Reuters
16 January 2013

SYDNEY The remains of Australia's most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly, are finally to be laid to rest, 132 years after he was hanged for murder.

Kelly's descendants, who received his remains after they were exhumed from a mass prison grave, said on Wednesday they would hold a private church memorial service on Friday before the burial in an unmarked grave on Sunday.

The homemade armor and helmet Kelly wore during his last violent shootout with police and his reported final words before he was hanged in Melbourne jail on Nov. 11, 1880 "such is life" helped make him an iconic figure in Australian history.

His family, the Kelly Gang, became a symbol for social tensions between poor Irish settlers and the wealthy establishment at the time, and Kelly himself became a folk hero to many for standing up to the Anglo-Australian ruling class.

'Dignified funeral'

Kelly's descendants said the private farewells were in keeping with the outlaw's requests.

"The descendants of the Kelly family wish to give effect to Ned Kelly's last wish and that he now be buried in consecrated ground with only his family in attendance in order to ensure a private, respectful and dignified funeral," the family said in a statement.
"The family wish for their privacy to be respected so that they may farewell a very much loved member of their family," they added.

One Australian media outlet reported that Kelly will be buried at Greta, near Glenrowan, north-east of Victoria, where his mother is buried in an unmarked grave.

Kelly's remains have made a circuitous journey to their final resting place.

The remains of Australia's notorious and legendary bank robber Ned Kelly are identified after 130 years, but his head remains missing.'s Dara Brown reports.

They were first buried in a mass grave at Melbourne jail. When that closed in 1929, Kelly's bones were exhumed and reburied in another mass grave at the newer Pentridge Prison.

All the bones buried in Pentridge yard were exhumed in 2009 and Kelly's skeleton was positively identified in 2011 by scientists after DNA tests against a descendant. The Victoria state government said in August it would return the skeleton to the family.

Kelly's skull remains missing. It was believed to have been separated from his skeleton during the transfer.

His life story inspired the novel "True History of the Kelly Gang" by author Peter Carey, which won the 2001 Booker Prize, and the late actor Heath Ledger played him in a 2003 movie.


18 Jan 13 - 05:43 AM (#3467969)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Gerry

"His life story inspired the novel "True History of the Kelly Gang" by author Peter Carey, which won the 2001 Booker Prize, and the late actor Heath Ledger played him in a 2003 movie."

And Mick Jagger played Ned Kelly in a 1970 movie.

18 Jan 13 - 05:47 AM (#3467970)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Keith A of Hertford


18 Jan 13 - 04:38 PM (#3468231)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: JennieG

Story here about the funeral.....some interesting pics too. The green silk sash awarded to Ned Kelly when, as a young man, he saved a boy from drowning was draped over his coffin.


19 Jan 13 - 10:03 AM (#3468524)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Branno

16th April 1929
To the Honourable
   The Chief Secretary
       Melbourne C1
            The desecration of the grave of Ned Kelly
Dear Sir,- It was with intense feelings of horror that I read of the hunnish desecration of Ned Kelly's grave...
   ...Ned Kelly's heroism in defending his mother's integrity, his sister's honour and his brother's innocence has claimed for him a place in the hearts of fair-minded people of Australia.
      Would it not, therefore, be a gracious act on your part to hand over the remains of Ned Kelly, when removed from the 'head-hunters' to his only surviving brother, Mr. Jim Kelly of Greta, for internment in consecrated grounds.
                      Yours faithfully
                               J.J. KENNEALLY   

(The chief secretary, Dr. Argyle MLA replied on 19/4/1929 that he had no power to authorise the adoption of this suggestion)

James Jerome Kenneally (1870-1949) is the author of "The Complete Inner History of the Kelly Gang and Their Pursuers", first published in March 1929, for which he made an exhaustive study of the lengthy Royal Commission on the police force of Victoria, also being willingly supplied with inside information from members of the Kelly clan.
"The providore (Tom Lloyd, a first cousin of Ned Kelly) was the chief scout and confidential assistant of the Kellys, and he was the only living person who was able to give me, in detail, their policy, programme and actual performances."

                                        Eleven Mile Creek
                                           Glenrowan West
                                             December 1930

Dear Mr. Kenneally,- I have read your book with a great deal of satisfaction, and I must congratulate you on having rendered a great service in the course of TRUTH AND JUSTICE...
          ...Wishing that your book will be found in every home in Australia.
                                  I am,
                                    Yours Sincerely,
                                           JAMES KELLY

There's a lot more in the body of James Kelly's letter of course, and other letters in Kenneally's book from people who lived in N.E. Victoria during the 'outbreak' contain some interesting observations.

Peter Carey's opus, labelled as 'true history' is a crock of bullshit. Booker Prize-winner or not, he misses the point in his attempts to emulate the cadences of speech in the Jerilderie and Cameron letters (substantially written by Joe Byrne according to legend). When I came to the phrase "There were no income generated" I had to stop reading. For good or ill, I'm too familiar with the songs and stories.
Brother Jim has strong words of criticism for mercenary journalists, one especially protecting himself " calling his concoction 'a novel.'"

Ian Jones' "A Short Life" is the Kelly story very well-written, the result of many years of research.

So, it's taken a while for the man's body to be returned to his family. The charred remains of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were claimed by their relatives immediately at Glenrowan, the traps not daring to intervene or go after them.

"And I'll sing again, long may they reign, the Kellys, Byrne and Hart"

19 Jan 13 - 10:52 AM (#3468544)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: katlaughing

tks for posting reading more of the history and happy for his family

19 Jan 13 - 03:48 PM (#3468667)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

Having read the citation on Wikipedia it would seem that Mr Kelly was little more than a violent thug. I see no reason to laud his life in any way, shape or form. He is certainly not someone who could be held as a freedom fighter or supporter of an oppressed people.

20 Jan 13 - 02:50 AM (#3468842)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Guest

This is not a man to be idolised. He was a murderer, including taking the lives of three policemen.

20 Jan 13 - 03:01 AM (#3468843)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Pamela

Ned Kelly and his gang were murderous, thieving scum who should be demonised by the public not idolised. The police officers murdered by him and his gang are the real heroes.Kelly is far from a national hero.

20 Jan 13 - 03:13 AM (#3468844)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

While I agree with the sentiments in the last three posts, anyone who expressed them in 'Kelly country' in Victoria, even today, would have to be looking for a fight.

20 Jan 13 - 03:53 AM (#3468849)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Sandra in Sydney

pedant alert - also history alert!

quote from an article above - All the bones buried in Pentridge yard were exhumed in 2009 and Kelly's skeleton was positively identified in 2011 by scientists after DNA tests against a descendant.

Ned Kelly had no descendants so can't be anyone's ancestor! The descendants mentioned are from his 2 sisters families &/or maybe even cousins families.

Kelly family tree scroll down this family tree to the bolded entry
Edward "Ned" KELLY b(28c Dec 1854 Beveridge, Vic, Aus.) d(11 Nov 1880 Melbourne, Vic. Aus.)
ie. he was not married so he did not have legitimate children, nor is there any mention of a common-law wife or illegitimate children.

Edward (Ned) Kelly bio in Aust Dictionary of Biography


20 Jan 13 - 06:50 AM (#3468908)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Branno

@Guest, guest and guest pamela - suggest you read more reliable sources than Wikipedia. As cited in my previous post, the works by Ian Jones and J.J. Kenneally are required reading for anyone who wishes to form an adult opinion of Ned Kelly, his life and times.
The eminent Welsh scholar Rhys Jones in his foreword to the Mabinogion cycle lists a set of criteria by which a mortal man assumes heroic/mythic status and his life becomes the stuff of legend. Ned Kelly meets them all. ALL, mind you. Had he performed on another kind of battlefield as he did at the siege of Glenrowan, he would be known as E. Kelly, V.C. and bar.
For previous generations of Australians, at work and at war to be "as game as Ned Kelly" was the highest praise.
The folklorist Bill Wannan in his book "Tell'em I Died Game" recounts a story from the Great War wherein a group of Aussie diggers were carousing in the vicinity of a group of Pommy Tommies. Words were exchanged, leading one of the diggers to exclaim "To hell with King George!", to which a tommy replied, "Well, to hell with Ned Kelly!"
So please educate yourselves a little more before offering your unfounded opinions, even here in the anarchic Mudcat sandpit. OK?

20 Jan 13 - 01:28 PM (#3469047)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Bonzo3legs

What nonsense.

20 Jan 13 - 08:28 PM (#3469218)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Branno

Nonsense you say? Nonsense!!
Same goes for you Bonzo3legs, with your two word contribution.
Suggest you read, think, and then know for yourself.
I've been a singer of Australian Bush Songs, and a student of History and Folklore since I was 18, and I'm now 63. And I've lived in N.E. Victoria, feel I have some personal (as opposed to academic or prejudiced) understanding of the culture of the region. I know a bloke who knows where Joe Byrne is buried, I've handled the pepperpot pistol that belonged to Dan Kelly.
Who are YOU comrade?

At the siege of Glenrowan, Ned Kelly left Annie Jones' Glenrowan Inn to go across the railway line to the other pub, to tell Tom Lloyd and others that the uprising they planned was not to be, then he went back alone, did not escape on his pony: exhausted and bleeding from serious wounds in both his arm and foot, he faced the many armed troopers (and their mercenary deputies, who look in the photos of the event like extras from a bad western) frightening the scutter out of them in his armour and helmet, finally being brought down by the cowardly Sergeant Steele who shot him in the legs from behind.
Steele's earlier behaviour included firing indiscriminately into the hotel where there were many 'civilians', and deliberately shooting at Mrs. Reardon and her baby. He earned 290 pounds,13 shillings and ninepence for this. He was also demoted after the Royal Commission into the 'Kelly Outbreak'...
As Steele stood over Kelly, ready to fire again, constable Bracken said, "If you shoot him, I'll shoot you, you bastard!"
The same Royal Commission, in a majority report, compared the cowardice of Supt. Hare, the senior police officer, in running away to Benalla with a graze on his hand (for which purpose he commandeered the train!), with the courage and leadership of Ned Kelly, who, although much more seriously wounded, stood his ground until 7am, when bravely attempting to join his mates, he was overpowered by numbers.
Hare got 800 pounds even for these brave endeavours; the R.C. however recommended that her he be retired from the force.

So, pull your finger out fella, Read about Kelly, read about Cuchualin.Have a nice cuppa tea and agood think. Then talk to me.

20 Jan 13 - 10:04 PM (#3469248)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Pamela

What an absolute load of bollocks Branno. So you have been a folk singer and even handled the pepperpot pistol and that makes you an expert? Like others here I have done a lot of reading about Australian history facts - not folklore where facts are changed to suit opinions and make a "nice" story. He was a rogue and is certainly not an Australian "legend" in most people's books. There are countless real heroes in Australian history and this arsehole is certainly not one of them.

21 Jan 13 - 03:44 AM (#3469295)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

Well said Pamela... what about our servicemen and women who have fought in countless wars and uprisings? They are true heroes. Keep singing your bush songs Branno and live on in your fantasy world. Who is your other "hero"? Skippy the bush kangaroo??

21 Jan 13 - 05:24 AM (#3469328)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Branno

So, guest Pamela, perhaps you ascribe to the Blainey/Windschuttle school of history? That's the empire loyalist/white man triumphant school, that includes denial of indigenous history in Australia, yes?
One could reasonably suppose that visitors to the Mudcat have some understanding of the validity of folklore and oral history. Does this grouping include you? Do you have alternative sources to quote me, or am I left to ponder what your "lot of reading about Australian history FACTS" might include?

Ned Kelly is by far and away STILL the best known Australian, with good cause, and obviously still excites controversial debate, given his undoubted, never to be forgotten place in the Australian ethos.

As for you, mysterious 'guest' (if JoeClone would please restore my cookie, I will appear here NOT as 'guest)I question your understanding of the term 'heroes'. Men (and occasionally, women) who carry the gun in foreign parts on the errands of their imperial masters are not necessarily 'heroes'.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick (and his donkey) was a knockabout ratbag Geordie, who worked as a fireman/stoker, 'following the banjo', a boozer and brawler who jumped ship at least twice, and was insubordinate to say the least.
For three weeks after 25th April, he ferried many wounded men down to the beach at Anzac Cove, unfailingly cheerful, whistling and singing.

Colonel (later General Sir) John Monash wrote on 20th May 1915, "Simpson and his donkey were yesterday killed by shrapnel shell... he belonged to none of the A.A.M.C units with this brigade, but had become separated from his own unit, and had carried on his perilous work on his own initiative."

Yeah... I reckon he's an authentic hero for mine. You can keep Skippy for yourself.

So, name me one or more of your 'heroes', hmmm? Sources? Citations? References? It's how historians work is it not? Cross-reference in search of those elusive 'facts'
    I don't have a listing for a member named "branno," but I do have a couple names who are very close. E-mail me and I can give you login information.
    -Joe Offer-

21 Jan 13 - 04:10 PM (#3469591)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Pamela

Policemen, soldiers, sailors and airmen, doctors, nurses,ambulance officers, firefighters...all in the frontline facing danger just about every day. I can't name them because there are so many. Carry on living in dreamland Branno.

21 Jan 13 - 08:59 PM (#3469720)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

Well said Pamela.

21 Jan 13 - 10:13 PM (#3469741)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Little Robyn

There's a woman here in Hawke's Bay who reckons she has Ned Kelly's skull.
It looks as if she's even painted it gloss white, to look creepy in the dark!!!
Anyone want to claim it?

22 Jan 13 - 12:32 AM (#3469777)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

I can think of someone's orifice where I would like to shove it!!!

22 Jan 13 - 03:06 AM (#3469797)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Branno

Hi Robyn. Regards to you and Mitch.

@Pamela and rude guest - where do I start?

Here... This is the Mudcat Cafe, a site devoted to folkmusic and folklore, blues and related matters. Posts above the line (where we are now) usually have relevance in these areas. There is an assumed etiquette involved where polite questions receive polite answers, regardless of varying opinions.

If you wish for a more vigorous debate, go below the line to the BS section of the 'cat where you will meet greater levels of invective on widely diverse topics, politics, religion, sex, whatever you like.
That's what it's for.

Start your own thread!

This thread is about Ned Kelly's belated funeral (or was when it began) leading to other questions about his life and times, presumably clicked on by persons interested.
(Why do I feel as if I'm talking to children?) No answer came the stern reply...

So possums, if scatalogical (anonymous!) insult is the best you can do, then I suggest you go and sit on your own dunnies until you've quite relieved yourselves, then check them 'roos of yourn in th' top paddick.
And while yer there, you can chop it out, have a roll in yer own dipper, wake up t' y'self and stick it where the sun don't shine, ok?

You are rude, cowardly, stupid and ill-informed.

I say again, GROW UP!!!

I leave you with a small piece of Australian folklore to ponder



22 Jan 13 - 03:13 AM (#3469798)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Branno

And furthermore, this is the sort of thing that goes on under your very noses...

But I have the feeling that you couldn't be bothered, sigh...
Invincible ignorance, easy as the flu to catch, much harder to cure.
Best of luck though...

22 Jan 13 - 05:50 AM (#3469840)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Little Robyn

Hi Dave, so who needs to know about this skull, to reunite Neds bits?

22 Jan 13 - 06:09 AM (#3469846)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

Ned Kelly's family were deported to Australia during the worst of the Famine of the 1840s in Ireland, when anyone "stealing" food that was being exported in large amounts would be jailed or shipped away as slave labour. They arrived in Australia as the poorest and most disadvantaged, the butt of prejudice and bullying. It's unsurprising that the child of such trauma would be inexorably sucked into crime.

22 Jan 13 - 11:35 PM (#3470226)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

Anyone who regards Ned Kelly as a hero or legend is completely and utterly misguided.

23 Jan 13 - 12:38 AM (#3470234)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Dead Horse

Anyone who would go up against guns with just a tin vest and a bucket on his head has got to be a hero.
Either that or criminally insane.
I know which would get my vote.

23 Jan 13 - 12:49 AM (#3470236)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: dbranno

Hello 'GUEST'! Welcome back?

The legendary status of Ned Kelly is undisputed. Whether he was/is a 'hero' or not is entirely in one's own perception.
Should you study such things, you will be be able to make informed comments on the subject instead of broad general remarks about others' points of view as "completely and utterly misguided".

Do you yourself know anything about the Irish in Australia? Have you an understanding of 'the system'? Ever visited Port Arthur?
I'm making the (reasonable) assumption that you have not read Ian Jones "A Short Life" or J.J. Kenneally's "Inner History..." that are pointedly referred to above. If you have done so, then please correct me.
I quite enjoy being wrong as it gives me opportunity to learn something new. Yourself?

If you are a 'serving member' then I understand you better than you could imagine. Any time Kelly's name comes up, sure enough there's a blueboy to speak out. Enlighten us... Tell us a believable, properly 'guided' story?

My cookie has been restored (thanks Sandra in Sydney, thanks Joe Offer) so I'm not anonymouse anymore. Now, do we have a chat or not Mr. (or Ms.) 'GUEST'?

23 Jan 13 - 01:12 AM (#3470237)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

Dead Horse he was a criminal, not a hero.

23 Jan 13 - 01:17 AM (#3470238)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

You seem to make a lot of assumptions about people Branno.. about what we know and what we have read and where we have been. I know enough to know that Ned Kelly was a rotten killer and no way a hero or legend. You will hear no more from me on this subject. Enjoy living in your land of fantasy.

23 Jan 13 - 03:36 PM (#3470490)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: dbranno

Ah, mysterious 'GUEST' - off you go then, off to a blog that better suits your temper perhaps?
Your own words frame your understanding; "I know enough to know". Perfect example of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

@ Dead Horse - if you have a genuine desire to know more, even just to understand how NED KELLY still bothers the establishment (and the official 'history') there are clues in some of the posts above for further reading.
If not, you are welcome to go elsewhere for your fun.


23 Jan 13 - 04:11 PM (#3470507)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Bonzo3legs

Kelly was a cold blooded murderer, absolute scum.

23 Jan 13 - 07:42 PM (#3470589)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: nager

As an Australian I have just read through the comments here and totally agree with you Bonzo and the others who don't regard Ned Kelly as a hero or legend. I am constantly amazed that so many people regard him in this way. Do the Americans rate Billy the Kid and Jesse James as heroes for example? What about our English friends? Are Jack the Ripper and Dr Crippin - or even the Yorkshire Ripper - heroes? Murderers are not heroes in anyone's book surely.

24 Jan 13 - 12:19 AM (#3470648)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: dbranno

You just don't get it do you?

Regardless of what you or I or anyone THINKS about Ned Kelly, he IS a legendary iconic figure in Australia. His story is there to read if you want to, the (uncomfortable? inconvenient?) facts of persecution of a whole slew of people for whom Ned was a hero, and those to whom he is now and for always.
If he were not a legend, youse mob wouldn't be so hot under the collar! Unless you are a policeman or a relative (the presently living Michael Kennedy is both) I suggest you go upstairs and turn the light on. Unless of course you like it in the dark.

The diggers in WW1, for example (to reiterate for the hard of hearing), held him in the highest esteem as embodying all the qualities of courage, leadership and sticking by your mates that those boys from the bush most admired. Some POWs in WW2 convinced their German captors that they "needed a holiday for Ned Kelly's birthday"!!!
Thus the expression common among these very men for whom bravery was their daily bread, "as game as Ned Kelly". Even the poltroon Supt. Hare, who fled from Glenrowan with a mere scratch, reckoned Ned Kelly to be "the greatest man in the world". It's there in the literature folks.Official.

As for the 'murder', both Kelly's account of the events at Stringybark Ck. and McIntyre's ORIGINAL statement next day tell essentially the same story. A re-trial of Kelly enacted by members of the Melbourne legal establishment some years ago had a very different outcome to the original. It was, however, held at The Celtic Club and some of the legal eagles have Irish names, so perhaps not good enough for you naysayers, sighs... I have no idea how far the prejudice goes. A bloody long way so far!

To simply put Ned into the same category as @nager has done is just plain stupid. And being an Australian is no excuse.

24 Jan 13 - 02:03 AM (#3470655)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: nager

No point arguing with a rude person like you Mr Branno. As "Guest" said, continue living in fantasy land mate. Ned Kelly was a murderer.

24 Jan 13 - 05:11 AM (#3470687)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Dead Horse

He (Kelly) is in the same rank as other 'legends' like those two poor misunderstood 'heroes' Bonny & Clyde.
I bet you like to wear green and sing patriotic fenian songs in the pub, dontcha Mr Branno?
You are a blinkered fool and I am not posting in here again.

24 Jan 13 - 11:39 AM (#3470796)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Musket

If Ned Kelly is a folk hero in Aussie, then all the jokes about a nation of convicts, or that pubs in London are full of them on account of always returning to the scene of the crime etc etc are not far off the mark.

However, most Aussies I know, both sides of the world, are decent law abiding people, and perhaps would be somewhat bemused about such status given to a murdering thug. Capital punishment is wrong, and history doesn't make it any better, but neither were his crimes. He was convicted under law and guilty. Saying there was doubt is something to say to the courts, not the world.

Being transported did not need you to be a criminal as such, and many were poor and unlucky. I was not aware he was tried for being transported? He was tried for being a thieving murderer. (Stupid one to boot judging by his armour idea. Nasty one to boot judging by his attempt to derail a train and kill all those on board.)

If this thread is about folklore, then it is valid to state it being obscene that Ned Kelly is put on a folklore pedestal. Folklore is usually about heroes, so don't be too surprised when people take exception to the likes of Kelly being compared to real heroes. Killing three police officers is not what decent society judge as the work of a hero. Lowlife scum is, I believe, the term usually employed by those who express a view.

Courage is something suicide bombers have. Leadership is something their controllers have. No doubt in a hundred years, the London bombers will have songs sung about them, if starry eyed idiots have their way?

25 Jan 13 - 12:22 AM (#3471063)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Joe Offer

Yes, nager, I think that Billy the Kid and Jesse James are thought of as heroes in the United States. The U.S. has a long tradition of honoring folk-hero outlaws.

The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database has three songs honoring Jesse James:
But only one for Billy the Kid

Here's an excerpt from Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd," which honors another outlaw:
    As through this world you ramble, as through this world you roam You'll never see an outlaw drive a family from its home
In days of yore, American newspapers would make heroes out of outlaws. That's considered to be in bad taste in these days of Political Correctness, of course....

And Dick Turpin was certainly an outlaw hero in England. For that matter, what about Robin Hood?

Do a Digital Tradition Keyword Search and search for "outlaw." You'll find scads of songs honoring outlaw heroes, including at least four that honor Ned Kelly.

At least in the world of folk music, honoring outlaws as heroes is a time-honored tradition. You'll find very few folk songs honoring law-abiding, virtuous citizens. Songs like that just don't sell.


25 Jan 13 - 01:04 AM (#3471068)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: meself

"He fired a shot at Kelly [not Ned], which brought him to the ground,
And turning 'round to Davis, he received a fatal wound;
A bullet pierced his proud young heart, from the pistol of Fitzroy,
And that was how they captured him, the Wild Colonial Boy."

Some Australians seemed to think rather highly of that bad boy ....

25 Jan 13 - 01:26 AM (#3471072)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

@dbranno, you write: "As for the 'murder', both Kelly's account of the events at Stringybark Ck. and McIntyre's ORIGINAL statement next day tell essentially the same story. "

Could you possibly give us the lowdown on these events, as told by Ned Kelly and by McIntyre?

(Rude? I didn't find anything rude about dbranno's post. But Dead Horse's ad hominem assumption that someone who disagrees with him is a supporter of Ireland, and that this is something to be ashamed of: that's rude.)

25 Jan 13 - 02:01 AM (#3471077)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Joybell

It's very easy to read the opinions of people living in Victoria and New South Wales at the same time as Kelly. My own ancestors were well established in Central Victoria at the time. They were poor miners from Cornwall. Family history study has never been easier now that the website "Trove" has newspapers from all over Australia. Some have come online in just the last year and more are becomming available every day. I haven't been researching the Kelly Gang story specifically but I've come across many articles as I wander through those newspapers. I've not yet seen one where Kelly, or any other "outlaw" was regarded as a revolutionary, or even a hero, AT THE TIME. You'd expect someone to have come up with the idea and written to the papers or produced an article on the subject. There were people still living who remembered the Kelly Gang when I was a child in the 1950s. He wasn't thought of as a revolutionary then either. I'm willing to concede I might have missed something but that's my two bob's worth.
Cheers, Joy

25 Jan 13 - 02:44 AM (#3471083)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie

Granted Joe, law abiding citizens don't make good song material. Also the free spirit that many outlaws personify strikes a chord with those in a mundane existence. Hence the folklore grows.

However it is not revisionist to remind of the facts where facts are available. Here in The UK we had Jimmy Saville as a hero to many hence his downfall was so much harder on the public conscience.   I believe it to be similar where priests have fallen from the grace of their hitherto pedestal.

Robin Hood was a fictitious role model for freedom and getting your own back. The possible real Robin of Loxley would have been an outlaw but whether he would have committed crimes under today's penal code, who knows?

Dick Turpin is remembered for a fictitious horse ride between York and London. Not possible in a ruddy car let alone a horse! Again the folklore is that it didn't matter if the victims were rich, they can afford it eh?

Many songs sung in folk clubs here on the basis of being valid by category say more about the naivety of the singer than anything else. Especially sectarian Irish songs like Kevin Barry that are subjective to say the least. Or Black leg Miner in a room containing those who suffered through such idealist clap trap.

Pedestals aren't cheap. Be careful whose bust gets mounted..

25 Jan 13 - 04:26 AM (#3471101)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Sandra in Sydney

1906 film 'The KellyGang'- watch clip here

    Made in 1906, only 26 years after bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged, The Story of the Kelly Gang depicted the exploits of Kelly and his gang and was the first feature-length film produced in Australia and possibly the world. Made at a time when films were only about 15 minutes long, it had a running time of between 60 and 70 minutes. The film was a huge success, playing to packed audiences when it opened in Melbourne, and it is said to have made a huge 25,000 profit after costing 1,000 to make. In 2006, 100 years after it was first shown, only about 17 minutes of the film have been recovered; the film is held by the National Film and Sound Archive.

    Ned Kelly's defiance of authority, his legendary courage and his position as an underdog have made him a folk hero and he has been the subject of at least ten films, numerous books and a series of paintings by Sir Sidney Nolan. The son of poor Irish settlers, Kelly was often the target of police harassment. After being declared outlaws, Kelly and his gang eluded police for 16 months, during which time they carried out daring robberies at the Euroa and Jerilderie banks. Following his capture, Kelly was sentenced to death and hanged on 11 November 1880.

25 Jan 13 - 04:58 AM (#3471110)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral

I suppose that the dual attitudes to outlaws like Ned Kelly and other outlaws like bankers and politicians can be summed up in Woody Guthrie's song Pretty Boy Floyd:

Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

25 Jan 13 - 05:53 AM (#3471125)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Musket

I suppose those who work in banks or give their time for little or no reward as Parish Councillors might just take exception to JJT's romantic view of Guthrie's romantic view... Bankers are not outlaws, politicians are not crooked. You can have criminals, (ok outlaws) who also happen to be either, but being either does not make you an outlaw.

Most refugees are running from the outlaws who use political unrest to "mop up" after the soldiers have been and gone. Organised crime includes running people out of town, as the saying goes. (Here, we might say "forced to leave after receiving threats from criminal gangs.")

No such thing as a daring robbery. Sorry. If you don't have a gun, you can't easily rob the bank. If you do have a gun, you are a coward. Perhaps the descendants of those he and his gang murdered might have a view on the word "daring."?

25 Jan 13 - 04:03 PM (#3471383)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Joybell

The saying, "Game as Ned Kelly" comes from the last moments of Kelly's freedom when he faced the police in his interesting armour. Understandable. It didn't necessarily mean clever or brave. When I first heard it it was used in an ironic sense. The thoughts expressed by settlers like my family were those of relief when the Kelly Gang was captured.

25 Jan 13 - 09:33 PM (#3471484)
Subject: LYR ADD: Kennedy and Kelly By John Warner
From: Sandra in Sydney

Kennedy and Kelly    By John Warner (5.10.93)

Ned Kelly was an Irishman, Australian by birth
His soul aglow with courage and his eyes alight with mirth
The police oppressed his family, as all the tales relate
So Kelly took up arms against the state

Now Kennedy was Irish too, a Sergeant of Police
And history has cast him as the villain of the piece
But he traced the outlaws to their hide, prepared to stand his ground
When a voice cried out "Bail up!" from the trees around


Don't you ever ask a Kennedy or Kelly to surrender
When he's backed into a corner with a weapon in his hand
For the people or the laws, he's got a gun, he's got a cause
And someone dies when Kennedy or Kelly takes a stand

"Throw down your weapons and surrender" cried bold Ned
But Kennedy had drawn his gun before the words were said
For "surrender" was a concept that neither man would learn
So Kennedy lay dead among the fern

And up there at Glenrowan, Edward Kelly faced his fate
Walking out into the shooting in his suit of boiler plate
The flag of stars might well be raised by folk as brave as Ned
What comfort to the families of the dead?

All down the years of trouble, the story's been the same
The Kennedys die for duty, and the Kellys, they die game
They will fight but not surrender, they were never known to run
And widows will be weeping when they've done.

(flag of stars - the Eureka flag used at the Eureka uprising against the excessive gold mining licence fees imposed by the Government.)


notes from John about the writing of this song.

It originated on a train trip to a folk festival up north where I heard a bloke give a forty minute spiel about Songs of Ned Kelly without actually singing one.

I've got a number of Em to Bm transitions in the tune which are my trademarks. Also I decided to use 'Drowsy Maggie' as the core of the tune.

G'day Sandra,                  

US folks have anti-heroes of the same calibre as Ned, and indeed much of the Australian bushranging style and ethos came to us from the California goldrushes in the first place.

Pretty Boy Floyd, the subject of a significant folksong, certainly dealt with the sheriff's deputy in a similar way to Ned, and the whole Robin Hood model of the criminal is reflected in the folklore of the Kellys, Frank Gardiner and Ben Hall.

There have recently been some revelations about Dick Turpin which reveal that he was of the same stock.

From my observation, most of them stole from the rich and kept the money. The real Irish political rebel in Australia was Peter Lalor who risked his life in the Eureka uprising against abusive authority. He then became basically a conservative member of parliament.

You might remember my song William Conqest Turnland - listen here. After the death of the children, William and Hannah were determined to stay on their property, but the police urged settlers to move into towns as bushrangers were active in the region and making raids on isolated properties. This the Turlands finally did and it was the change in their fortunes.

The active bushrangers at the time, I believe, were Ben Hall and his gang.

I'm no fan of bullying police forces, but what inspired Kennedy and Kelly was the recognition that a police officer who could trace a bushman of Kelly's calibre to his base would have to be at least as good a bushman himself. To knowingly risk his life against such a fearsome giant as Ned, suggests that Kennedy had some strong values and a level of dedication, as well as confidence in his skills. Ned shot him from ambush, so his own deed was not particularly heroic. For me, the picture was of two equally determined characters standing boldly for their beliefs and ultimately dying as a result of them.

It says something about Ned that he expected Kennedy to throw down his weapon because he himself commanded it. What would Ned then have done if Kennedy had complied?

Irishness does no come into the equation, Ireland produced Kelly, Kennedy and Lalor, it also gave us Burke and Hare.

What made Ned Kelly unique was the use of home made armour in his last stand. I find this ridiculous. The weight of the stuff was horrendous, and well beyond the proportions usually evident in medieval armour. He made no provision for his legs,and that was what brought him down. I believe there may have been some greaves devised, but they made the armour too heavy. Bob Bolton would probably confirm that detail.

What was his plan? to get to his horse and ride away? For me the story makes good theatre but suicidal bushranging.

He apparently had a significant network of supporters in the Tatong- Mansfield area at the time, but they never materialised into an army of rebels at Glenrowan.

The suggestion that Edward Kelly was some kind of noble Irish rebel falls flat. His own diaries show him as a writer of mediocre literacy. They contain vast levels of self justification and self admitted bullying. Sorry, folks, There are too many problems in Ned's story for him to be a hero to J.Warner.

Good 'ealth. John


25 Jan 13 - 09:34 PM (#3471485)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Sandra in Sydney

The Royal Commission on the Police Force of Victoria, 1881
Source: "Royal Commission on the Police Force of Victoria: Second Progress Report", in Victorian Parliamentary Papers, 1881, Vol. 3, pp. 3ff.

The Royal CommissionIn the opinion of your Commissioners, the abolition of the Glenmore station, the reduction of the numerical strength of the force in the district, and the substitution of inexperienced and inferior constables for those more competent, necessarily weakened that effective and complete police surveillance without which the criminal classes in all countries become more and more restive and defiant of authorities. The incident, however, which seems to have more immediately precipitated the outbreak was the attempt of Constable Fitzpatrick to arrest Dan Kelly, at his mother's hut, on the 15th of April 1878.

The constable appears to have borne a very indifferent character in the force, from which he was ultimately discharged. Mr. Fosberry, the Inspector-General of Police, New South Wales, and Captain Standish express in strong terms their adverse opinions of Fitzpatrick, while the present Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chomley, writes a valedictory memo, on his papers, describing him as a liar and a larrikin.

To this man was entrusted, in April 1878, the temporary charge of Greta, the very focus of crime in the district. He had been stationed at Benalla, and prior to starting for Greta he appears to have had an interview with Sergeant Whelan, the sub-officer in charge, relative to his duties. Whelan, in his evidence, is somewhat contradictory upon the point as to whether Fitzpatrick was justified in attempting to arrest Dan Kelly under the circumstances. In almost the one breath he states that the constable was wrong in going to the Kelly's hut, and then and then urges that it was his duty to act as he did. The arrest was attempted to be made in consequence of a Gazette notice to the effect that a warrant had been issued at Chiltern against Dan Kelly and Jack Lloyd, on a charge of suspected cattle stealing. Sergeant Lynch, at Chiltern, considered that the men alleged to have been seen driving certain horses through the township answered the decription of those men, and warrants for their arrest were issued accordingly.

    Not one friend of the outlaws, or one sympathiser, was called to give evidence. Kelly's own accusations regarding the stock protection societies and what amounted to flagrant prejudicing of the law went ignored. To the root cause of the outbreak - the systematic subversion of a whole series of Land Acts by the North East squatters aided by the police - the Commission gave not the least recognition. By its every action except the reply to Mr Dixon, the Commission revealed its approval for the official policy of ignoring the rights of the cocky farmers at the same time elevating into a major crime any infringement of the squatters' interests. As if to prove the point, Hare had emerged with the fattest pocket.
    Max Brown Australian Son

Fitzpatrick's efforts to fulfil what he may have considered his duty proved disastrous. He was entrapped by accepting the invitation to accompany Dan Kelly into the hut, where he was attacked by several members of the family, and shot in the wrist by Ned Kelly. Warrants were in due course issued against Fitzpatrick's assailants; and those arrested, including Mrs. Kelly and a relative named Williamson, were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for the offence of assault with intent to kill. The alleged severity of the punishment inflicted upon the mother of the outlaws has been the subject of comment in the course of the inquiry, and Captain Standish considers that it formed one of the many causes which assisted to bring about the Kelly outrages. One point in this matter should not be overlooked. Jack Lloyd, who was implicated in the alleged case of horse stealing for which Fitzpatrick sought to arrest Dan Kelly, was subsequently taken into custody, and, the charge having been investigated, he was discharged.

There can be little doubt that Constable Fitzpatrick's conduct, however justified by the rules of the service, was unfortunate in its results. It may also be mentioned that the charge of persecution of the Kelly family by the members of the police force has been frequently urged in extenuation of the crimes of the outlaws; but, after careful examination, your Commissioners have arrived at the conclusion that the police, in their dealings with the Kellys and their relations, were simply desirous of discharging their duty conscientiously; and that no evidence has been adduced to support the allegation that either the outlaws or their friends were subjected to persecution or unnecessary annoyance at the hands of the police.

24 Sep 17 - 06:55 AM (#3878471)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: GUEST,Anonymous

I heard today whilst volunteering at the Beechworth Ned Kelly Vault, that Ned did in fact, father an illegitimate child. Unmarried, the pregnant lass was sent to America. A telegram was received later saying "Mare and foal doing well". As the mother was unmarried, the child, if it survived, was lost to history. Not an unreasonable possibility. After all Ned was a strapping lad. Food for thought.

24 Sep 17 - 04:24 PM (#3878544)
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
From: Helen

Mal Kelly, of Raymond Terrace, is Ned Kelly's relative