To conclude my stories of Australia, the land where I found my passion to travel, I wanted to tell the story of Ned Kelly. In many ways Ned Kelly represents Australian ideals and resiliency. He is one of the most iconic, infamous, and controversial figures in Australian history.
Ned Kelly was the son of Irish convicts born in Victoria in the 1850s. He was what Aussies’ call a “bushranger”, an Australian version of an outlaw. Ned and his gang of four members quickly became known as the Kelly Gang, which included Ned’s younger brother Dan.
The Kelly Gang stole from banks. During one particular robbery, Ned was holding up a bank when he took his opportunity to not only steal the cash he found, but also burned all of the bank’s mortgage payments. Ultimately, this act gained them quite a lot of friends and they became Robin Hood figures throughout Victoria and Southern New South Wales.
They also shared the money they stole to the people in the countryside who helped them out by giving them food and water. The people also thought Ned was being unfairly persecuted in the first place. The police, on the other hand, were not their biggest fans. In one instance, they did shoot and kill three police officers who were tracking them through the bush near a place called Stringybark Creek. Following this, they were officially declared outlaws who could be shot and killed on site.
So the gang disappeared and went into hiding. Wherever they went, they received a helping hand from sympathizers. In anticipation for a eventual shootout with the police, the gang made armor.
They resurfaced again in a small town in Northeast Victoria called Glenmore where they rounded up fifty hostages. An overnight gun battle began. All four members were wearing these iron suits, made up of big metal chest plaits and bucket-shaped helmets with one long slit for the eyes.
By morning, three members of the Kelly Gang lost their lives. Ned, however, managed to escape by hiding in a bush for the night and fired his gun at the cops in the morning. After being shot twenty-seven times, he was finally captured and brought back to Melbourne. He was then put on trial and sentenced to hang at the Old Melbourne Gaol. November of 1880, Ned Kelly was executed. His last words were, “Such is life,” which is now a famous Australian phrase.
The legendary armor is now on display currently at the State Library of Victoria. The story of Ned Kelly is important to share because the rebel-like ideals and unwillingness to follow the rules is noticeable in the country and people of Australia.