Bushranging Gazette #18

Monday, 1 August 2022

Vale Alan Crichton

In July the Kelly world bid farewell to Alan Crichton, a prominent and outspoken member of the community and author. Crichton had been a frequent contributor to the Ironoutlaw website, writing for a series called Keep Ya Powder Dry.

Crichton, a noted poet, published a book of verse about the Kelly Gang titled Bound for Judgement, as well as presenting at several events including the Greta Heritage Weekend. He also penned a novel set in Kelly Country entitled Far Beyond the Falls that entwines aspects of the Kellystory into its narrative.

Brad Webb of Ironoutlaw wrote the following to commemorate Crichton:

Today we say our goodbyes to a very special friend – Alan Crichton. In 2008, I had the pleasure of publishing his novel ‘Far Beyond The Falls’, but Alan was better known around the Kelly world for his poetry and his semi-regular IronOutlaw column ‘Keep Ya Powder Dry’ where he shone an extremely bright light on the serious and the ridiculous in equal measure. Alan’s sharp wit and eye for detail coupled with his ability to enjoy himself (no matter what the circumstances) made this fellow a joy to be around. We shared many an hour drinking and talking about the contemplative and the balderdash in equal measures. If I knew Alan was going to a particular Kelly event it usually convinced me to join in as well. He was that much fun to be around. Quick to laugh at and with, he could give shit and take it with ease. He was a dear mate and a friend to many. My thoughts go out to Ros and the family. Alan Crichton, you will be sorely missed, my comrade-in-arms…

Brad Webb [Source]
Alan Crichton [via Ned Kelly: Australian Ironoutlaw Facebook page]

Victorian Bushrangers at Geelong Gaol

On 7 August, Aidan Phelan will be giving a talk at the old Geelong Gaol about some of Victoria’s intriguing bushranger stories. It will be a mixed bag of familiar names like Harry Power and the Kelly Gang, along with more obscure ones like Thomas Menard, and Bradley and O’Connor.

Tickets are available online here: https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/twistedhistory/items/385479/calendar/2022/08/?flow=161305&full-items=yes

Commemorating the Eugowra heist

With 2022 marking 160 years since Frank Gardiner’s legendary gold heist, several publications ran an article about the event. The robbery was one of the largest gold heists on Australian history and has been the subject of numerous books and other media.

The gang of bushrangers, dressed in red serge shirts and red night caps and with blackened faces, hid behind the big boulder and other rocks, waiting for the approach of the Gold Escort Coach on this late winter’s afternoon.

Read more here: https://www.forbesadvocate.com.au/story/7781630/biggest-gold-robbery-in-australian-history-160-years-on-from-escort-rock/

Hanging Ned Kelly

When it came time to hang Ned Kelly, the job fell to crap-carrier-turned-quack-doctor-turned-drunken-chicken-thief Elijah Upjohn. Such is life indeed.

Affirm Publishing

Hanging Ned Kelly looks at the life and times, crimes and demise of Australia’s most famous anti-hero from a new perspective: that of the ‘rogue and vagabond’ who finally put the noose around his neck. Here, Elijah Upjohn’s tale becomes the rusty scalpel that slices open the underbelly of colonial Victoria. Written by Michael Adams, creator of the acclaimed podcast Forgotten Australia, this is an odyssey into an infernal underworld seething with serial killers, clueless cops, larrikin vigilantes, renegade reporters, racist settlers, furious fallen women and cunning waxworks showmen. Looming over them all: the deranged hangmen paid to execute convicted men and women – some of them innocent or unfairly condemned – in Melbourne before it was marvelous.

Hanging Ned Kelly is due for release in September 2022.

Mystery Road: Origin

Viewers of the ABC crime drama Mystery Road: Origin would have quickly found the many references to Ned Kelly in the series. From a John Williamson track playing in the background during a pub scene to various quotation, the keen observer had much to find. One of the key cast members is Steve Bisley, who famously portrayed Joe Byrne in The Last Outlaw in 1980, although this time he’s on the other side of the law. Of course, the most obvious reference was in the fact that the main antagonists wore Ned Kelly masks while committing crimes.

The Kelly Gang strikes again in Mystery Road: Origin.

This is not the first time nods to Ned have been used in film and television to highlight a theme, but it is the most on the nose in recent memory.

New Releases

Now available from Australian Bushranging are two new releases from Aidan Phelan: Glenrowan- definitive edition and Aaron Sherritt: Persona non Grata.

Glenrowan tells the story of the last months of the Kelly outbreak, culminating in the deadly siege at Glenrowan. Based on detailed historical research, it weaves the real with the imagined to fill the gaps in the record in a way that is both enlightening and engaging. This new edition features revised and expanded text, new illustrations and additional material not included in the first edition.

Aaron Sherritt: Persona non Grata is the first book dedicated to the story of Aaron Sherritt, who was one of the Kelly Gang’s greatest supporters until he became their final victim. This book focuses on Aaron’s character, his role in the Kelly outbreak and what led to his demise at the hands of his best friend and challenges the long held beliefs about who he was.

Both titles are available as print-on-demand and eBook through various online retailers including Booktopia, Dymocks, Book Depository, The Nile, Waterstones and Barnes and Noble.

This month on A Guide to Australian Bushranging

The forgotten story of Thomas Menard, the American-born bushranger who went on the run after committing murder in Warrnambool, and ended up on the gallows at Geelong Gaol.

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