Such is life.
November 10, 2007 2:39 PM   Subscribe

On November 11, 1880, Ned Kelly, Australia's most famous bushranger, was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol with the last words "Such is life." And so today, on the anniversary of his death and as his gun is due to go under the hammer, now is an excellent time to look at the history of the man sometime referred to as Australia's answer to Robin Hood. Many more Ned Kelly resources are to be found inside.

Ned Kelly is something of an Australian icon and the story of the Kelly Gang is firmly placed in the history of Australia, so much so that it inspired the world's first ever feature length film, as well as a less well received film starring Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom). There are even many traditional ballads inspired by Kelly and his gang.

There are many Ned Kelly resources online for those interested in learning more about Australia's most famous bushranger. For instance, Picture Australia also has many images of him while the State Library of Victoria has an online version of the Jerilderie Letter, a letter written (or perhaps dictated) by Kelly describing his view of his activities and the treatment of his family and, more generally, the treatment of Irish Catholics by the police.

Kelly had had originally written the letter to a politician known only as 'Cameron', but that correspondence was suppressed from the public and was not made public until it was published by the Melbourne Herald in 1930. If you found the version I lined to earlier hard to read, here is another site dedicated to that letter, with the text of the letter in both HTML and flash formats. The letter has inspired much debate about whether Kelly was truly an outlaw or a hero.

There is an excellent site dedicated to Kelly's famous last stand at Glenrowan, and another good site which has collected most of the research on the evolution of the Kelly gang.

Here are some more sites you may find useful or interesting.

Timeline of the Kelly gang.
Another Ned Kelly biography.
More photos.
Ned Kelly's stay at Beechworth.

And when you're done with all of that, why not take a small quiz to see how much you've remembered!
posted by Effigy2000 (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Actually his sister's gun.
posted by mattoxic at 3:07 PM on November 10, 2007

He was a criminal, of that there is no dispute. I've sometimes wondered why we idolise a murderer.

You didn't mention the greatest film version - with Mick Jagger!

And of course the Booker Prize winning True History of the Kelly Gang.
posted by wilful at 3:26 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

True History of the Kelly Gang is excellent...
posted by brundlefly at 3:48 PM on November 10, 2007

Fascinating stuff. Bounders. Convicts. An amazing time in history. If you're interested in early Australian history, The Fatal Shore was so good I read it twice.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:59 PM on November 10, 2007

And as we found out when he was arrested, Ben Cousins has Ned Kelly's last words tattooed across his chest.
posted by davem at 4:15 PM on November 10, 2007

I wonder about the Ben Cousins tattoo.

I have a suspicion that Cousins wasn't really thinking of Kelly when he went to the tattoo parlour, rather, he couldn't think of a message, so like Kelly resorted to "Such is Life"

Could have been worse, could have been, "It's all relative"
posted by mattoxic at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2007

Tenuous link filter - if anyone has yet to see The Proposition, it is highly recommended. Such an underappreciated film.
posted by fire&wings at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2007

fire&wings, I totally agree that The Proposition is a great film. Not sure it's underappreciated, it's not the sort of film to get mainstream accolades, though it did get 4 AFI awards, and the Gucci prize at Venice. But it really has sod all to do with Ned Kelly.
posted by wilful at 4:34 PM on November 10, 2007

...McCormack said he would summons me I told him neither me or Gould used their horse. he said I was a liar & he could welt me or any of my breed I was about 14 years of age but accepted the challenge and dismounting when Mrs McCormack struck my horse in the flank with a bullock's shin it jumped forward and my fist came in collision with McCormack's nose and caused him to loose his equillibrium and fall postrat...

And that's just the start of the letter.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:38 PM on November 10, 2007

More on the 1906 feature film
posted by mattoxic at 5:22 PM on November 10, 2007

Great post, Effigy2000! Here goes my Sunday afternoon! :-D
posted by the cydonian at 10:49 PM on November 10, 2007

So what was the dress thing about?
posted by ODiV at 12:01 AM on November 11, 2007

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