Bushranging Gazette #16

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Eugowra Rocks anniversary

15 June marks 160 years since the Eugowra Rocks heist by Frank Gardiner and his gang. The event remains one of Australia’s most notorious and successful robberies.

You can read more about the event here: https://www.goldtrails.com.au/gold-heritage/bushrangers/the-escort-rock-robbery-story/

Red by Felicity McLean

On 18 May HarperCollins publishers, through their 4th Estate imprint, launched a new novel by Australian author Felicity McLean simply titled Red. The book is, in the words of the publishers:

…a spirited and striking contemporary retelling of the Ned Kelly story.

The story is set in New South Wales in the 1990s and follows a female protagonist, Ruby “Red” McCoy, as she falls foul of the law – or, rather, as the law’s vendetta against her family turns its focus onto her.

While the Kelly story provides a vague framework for the story, this approach gender-swaps the outlaw and drags the story into a setting that the target audience will be able to relate to. No doubt the book will employ the “blackly comic” sensibilities of her debut, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone, a modern reimagining of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

The book has gained a very positive write-up from Brendan Cowell, writer/director of The Outlaw Michael Howe, who states:

This electrifying and unique revamp of the Ned Kelly myth will leave you breathless. The accumulative prose of rusted car doors and sliding suburban loyalties make way for an unforgettable female protagonist who is as fearsome as her life is young. Winton meets Tarantino in Woy Woy and it all makes perfect sense to me.

Brendan Cowell

For more information, you can visit the HarperCollins website here.

Ned Kelly Game on Steam

Indie Game developers Tobop Productions have a new FPS (first person shooter) game coming to Steam on 28 June 2022 titled, Ned Kelly: Armoured Outlaw. The game is an alternative reality that allows the player to be Ned Kelly and fight their way out of the siege of Glenrowan.

A screenshot of the gameplay for Ned Kelly: Armoured Outlaw [via tobop.itch.io]

The single-player game will be available for Windows and MacOS, and tasks the player with getting the Kelly Gang from Glenrowan to Melbourne. While it is not slavish to history, effort has been made to make the characters, buildings and weapons period accurate.

Find out more here and here.

Lilydale’s Boy Bushranger

Sue Thompson has penned a short piece for the Star Mail wherein she introduces readers to the boy bushranger William Parsons. Though the article does not go into any considerable detail, it gives readers a flavour of the story. There is as much focus given to Redmond Barry (incorrectly named as “Edmond” in the article) as to Parsons, in particular a quote from Barry to Parsons from his trial:

It is almost incredible that you, with arms in your hands, should have stuck up three men. You could scarcely know how to use them; indeed you did wound yourself, and nearly blew your own brains out. It is almost incredible crimes like this should occur in our neighbourhood, and it would be laughable were it not lamentable.

Redmond Barry

Read more here.

Tom Wright Talks Captain Thunderbolt on ABC Radio

On the 25 May 2022 edition of Self-Improvement Wednesday hosted by Richard Glover, Tom Wright was interviewed about the life and bushranging career of Fred Ward, alias Captain Thunderbolt. Wright, the artistic director of the Belvoir Theatre, spoke about the infamous outlaw on the anniversary of his death, with particular emphasis on the cultural impact of the story.

Listen to the interview here.

Ned Kelly Cancelled

The Beetoota Advocate, a satirical news website, recently poked fun at both Ned Kelly and “cancel culture” in an article entitled Ned Kelly Cancelled After Discovery Of Controversial Anti-Police Tweets from 1875. The tongue-in-cheek article suggests that Kelly had made a series of anti-police Tweets in the 1870s that were uncovered by “internet sleuths”, causing quite a stir.

At the time of writing there has been no formal statement from Kelly’s PR team which is primarily made up of the type of volunteers who might throw a chair at you if you mention that Kelly killed police officers as well.

The Beetoota Advocate

Read the article here.

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