Bushranging Gazette #1

Monday, 01 March 2021

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Bushranging Gazette. Here you will get a roundup of the month’s news, covering new discoveries, exhibitions, media releases and any other pertinent materials related to the topic of Australian bushranging.

Last month there was a brief hiccup when Facebook shut down the page for A Guide to Australian Bushranging as part of its protest against proposed legislation from the Australian government. This gazette is a direct response to having that outlet impacted on by external forces, restricting the reach of A Guide to Australian Bushranging and the spread of relevant information.

New Kate Kelly biography

Australian artist Rebecca Wilson has just released a new book about Kate Kelly, sister to Ned and Dan. This is the first proper, stand-alone book about the glamorous younger sister to the outlaws and her tragic life that isn’t simply a work of fiction. Wilson has an intimate connection with the story of Kate, and the associated folklore, having created various artworks on the theme over the years, with the book being something of a culmination of her investment in the figure of Kate Kelly.

The book has been getting much publicity and is featured in the Bathurst Writers Festival as the Great Festival Read, with the author slated to make an appearance there on a panel. A review of the book will be forthcoming later in 2021.

Find out more: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/other-books/Kate-Kelly-Rebecca-Wilson-9781760879679

Ned Kelly Vault collection officially dismantled

The Ned Kelly Vault museum in Beechworth closed its doors permanently and unceremoniously in 2020. Having been closed during the Victorian coronavirus lockdowns, many were eagerly anticipating returning to visit the one-of-a-kind collection once they got their liberty. Alas, mere days before the lockdown was finally lifted, allowing travellers to venture into the state’s northeast, the sudden, shock announcement that the museum would not be reopening its doors hit social media.

Since then the items have been gradually returned to their respective owners, with the Burke Museum reclaiming their pieces and the rest going back to private collections. There have been some developments in regards to a new purpose-built space possibly being incorporated into the Glenrowan AR/VR tower project, but it remains to be seen what will come of this. On 22 February, Matt Shore posted on the Vault’s Facebook page showing a quote from the late Kelly biographer Ian Jones, accompanying an update on the collection. Two days later he shared a news piece from the Wangaratta Chronicle on the Vault’s Facebook page regarding the developments (pictured below).

Courtesy: Wangaratta Chronicle (Images via Ned Kelly Vault )

Whatever future the Vault has is unclear, but what is evident is that whatever incarnation the Vault takes on in future will be very welcome from the Kelly community who have seen a dramatic reduction in attractions in the region that they can visit to connect with the Kelly story.

Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum renovations

This month the Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum will be undergoing renovations. This will see the popular institution briefly closed, but upon reopening there will be new improvements to the familiar surroundings, including a new-look Kelly exhibition.

The museum has a small but significant collection of Kellyana, the pièce de résistance being the green silk sash Ned Kelly wore under his armour at Glenrowan in 1880. The museum also has a replica of Joe Byrne’s armour cast from molds made of the actual pieces, a bridle said to have been worn by Ned Kelly’s horse at Glenrowan, and the doors from the Benalla lockup upon which Joe Byrne’s body was photographed.

Joe Byrne author launches new Michael Howe project

Long-time readers of A Guide to Australian Bushranging will be familiar with the work of Georgina Rose Stones. For those who are not, Stones is the author of An Outlaw’s Journal and its Facebook adjunct Joseph Byrne: The Untold History, which aim to set the record straight on Ned Kelly’s wingman. In the time that Stones has been publishing her work on the life of Joe Byrne she has uncovered many things that had been overlooked or ignored by previous historians and made a name for herself through her creative pieces that breathe life into the historical figures she writes about.

Now Stones is endeavouring on a new project alongside her work on Joe Byrne called Michael Howe: Governor of the Woods. The website and its relevant social media are an outlet for her to share the results of her research into the much vilified Tasmanian outlaw. In only a brief span of time she has already uncovered facts from primary sources that completely shatter the long-accepted understanding of Howe’s life and personality.

Georgina Stones will be contributing an article on the topic later this month. If you would like to support her work, please visit the links below and follow her.

An Outlaw’s Journal

Joseph Byrne: the untold history

Michael Howe: Governor of the Woods (website)

Michael Howe: Governor of the Woods (Facebook)


Men-at-Arms: Australian Bushrangers 1788–1880

Written by Ian Knight, illustrated by Mark Stacey, published by Osprey Press.

It is always great to see new books coming out that can act as an introduction to bushrangers for younger and mature readers alike. Australian Bushrangers 1788–1880 does exactly that.

The text is punchy and easy to read, covering quite a lot of subjects but focused mainly on costumes and armoury. If you are expecting a deep dive into your favourite bushranger you will be disappointed, but this book never pretends to be anything of the sort. Instead, this provides a very good overview of bushranging history, including the social contexts, as well as military and police history. The very brief descriptions of the careers of various bushrangers helps to introduce readers to some of the more colourful characters of the past.

Where this text really excels is in how it focuses quite heavily on the armed forces that opposed the bushrangers, which is quite unusual for books on the subject. This will give readers an even better understanding of how law enforcement in Australia evolved in response to the bushranging menace.

Of course, the thing that many readers will gravitate towards is the section in the middle of the book with the full colour illustrations depicting bushrangers and law enforcement. These beautiful paintings are vivid and breathe life into these historical figures in a way that the archival images fall short in achieving.

In the interests of full disclosure, A Guide to Australian Bushranging was one of the sources utilised by the author, Ian Knight, while researching the material for the book. The article “Mode de Bandit” in particular provided much of the reference for the paintings of the bushrangers. It was a great privilege, and humbling, to have Ian, a writer and military historian of considerable experience, reach out while putting this book together. One could hardly be happier with the final result, which is highly recommended reading for long-time enthusiasts as much as newcomers.

This month’s articles on A Guide to Australian Bushranging

My Story: Julia Dąbrowska on Jack Donahoe

Jack Duggan by Julia Dąbrowska

My Story: Georgina Stones on Michael Howe

Michael Howe by Aidan Phelan

A New Phase (February 2021)

In the past few days the Australian government has been at the negotiation table with Facebook. The result is that Facebook is now lifting the ban on “news” on their platform. As a part of this, A Guide to Australian Bushranging‘s Facebook page has been restored.

Mark Zuckerberg’s powerplay resulted in the shutdown of A Guide to Australian Bushranging on the platform, which has over 1,700 followers and has been one of the main facets of the project since 2017.

Though I had lodged a complaint with Facebook over the move, to date I still have not received any response. In fact, it was followers of the page that alerted me to its return before I could discover it for myself. Though it was a relief, the intervening time had given me pause to rethink the way I approach this endeavour.

The Facebook page has been a vital part of what A Guide to Australian Bushranging is about – connecting people to the fascinating and incredible stories of bush banditry that Australian history is dotted with. This will continue, but there will be some changes in how things are done.

The first thing is that instead of posting direct links to news reports, announcements or events on Facebook, there will be a “gazette” posted on the website here that will discuss any news. These will be published on the first of each month, unless there is special news that requires a more timely reporting.

The second change is cosmetic. You may have noticed the new logo, which now features an image of Dan Morgan on horseback. This will henceforth replace the original logo that featured Frank Gardiner on horseback, which had been the site’s avatar since 2017. This change is to signify that A Guide to Australian Bushranging is starting to move into a new phase and develop. It will still be a resource for bushranger history, but things will be executed a little different.

Thirdly, there will be a lot more short form Spotlight articles on the website. There will be at least one Spotlight per month, and features will roll out on an infrequent basis. This is to ensure that the features have a proper gestation time before being rolled out in order to avoid factual errors as much as possible, while still providing new content.

Another thing that will become more frequent is videos on the YouTube channel. Because of the amount of work involved in making video content, the original plan to make videos to supplement the information on the website fell over somewhat. There will now be a more concerted effort to make video content, some of which may be in a “talking head” format, some of which will be travelogues or other formats, depending on what is easiest to produce, and enjoyable to watch.

Where possible I will be inviting more guest authors to volunteer something to be published on the website. This new series will be called “My Story”; wherein people can share their own stories of bushranger history, whether that be a personal connection, an interest in the story of a particular bushranger, or experiences working with the history for media or research. This is designed to give more of an insight into how bushranger history can connect with people, and how we in turn connect with history.

Another article series will be tentatively titled “Pop Gun”, which will look at the influence of bushrangers, and the associated history, on Australian popular culture. This will include reviews of books, films, music, art exhibitions and more, as well as analysis and retrospectives.

There will also be more articles highlighting places associated with bushranging, which may be used as a kind of tourist guide. In the wake of 2020’s Covid-19 shutdowns, domestic tourism has been identified as a major part of Australia’s economic recovery. I am not sponsored by any government or tourism bodies (though I wouldn’t object to it *hint*), but feel that attracting visitors to these places not only offers economic benefits, but may just be the most important part of keeping the history alive and relevant. If these articles assist in reaching that end, they’ve done their job.

Brady’s Lookout, Rosevears, Tasmania.

Throughout the year some of the articles already published will be revised and edited to ensure that factual errors can be corrected as new information comes to hand. This is a one-man operation, and in the early days of the site I had set myself an unreasonable rollout schedule, which resulted in articles being published with errors in them as I rushed to meet the deadlines. As it turns out, having a set time and day for new content doesn’t actually result in any notable differences in the viewing figures, so instead of worrying about the quantity and frequency, I will be focused more on the quality.

June 26 is the anniversary of when this site and its related social media launched almost four years ago. It has undergone many changes in that time and continues to evolve. There are many more exciting things brewing for the bushranging world, so stick around to see what else is coming up.

~ Aidan Phelan

“We could be getting a three-hour director’s cut of The Legend of Ben Hall” — via Cinema Australia

We could be getting a three-hour director’s cut of The Legend of Ben Hall


The Legend of Ben Hall will become an even bigger spectacle with the possible release of a three hour director’s cut if things go to plan for the filmmakers behind the ambitious bushranger epic.

On December 4, The Legend of Ben Hall director Matthew Holmes posted to the film’s Facebook page asking fans if they would support a crowdfunding campaign for an extended director’s cut which would restore almost an hours worth of unseen material back into the film featuring thirty new scenes and forty-eight expanded scenes.

If we get 500+ votes for ‘Yes’ then we have a real shot at making it become a reality!!!,” the post read. 

Twenty days later Holmes’ dream to release his original vision for the film came one step closer to reality with another Facebook post announcing he had received over 500 votes in support of his ambitious venture.

“In early 2020, we will be launching a crowd-funding campaign so we can make the definitive director’s cut of this film,” the post announced.

The Legend of Ben Hall is based on the true story of Australian bushranger Ben Hall, played by Jack Martin, who reforms his old gang with newcomer John Dunn in tow. After killing two policemen in a botched holdup the government declare the gang outlaws and they’re now outrunning do-gooders eager to fill them full of bullets in return for an attractive cash reward.

If the crowdfunding campaign is to meet its target, it wouldn’t be the first time for Holmes. In 2014 the director launched an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to raise $75,000 for a short form version of The Legend of Ben Hall. The film went on to raise over $145,000 using crowdfunding. Six months later the project had secured an international sales agent, an Australian distributor and multiple private investors, including state funding and The Legend of Ben Hall was expanded into a two hour feature film.

In September Holmes received public support to release a digitally remastered version of his sophomore feature film, Twin Rivers. That campaign saw $7906 pledged of a $4000 goal.

Unfortunately, not all of Holmes’ crowdfunding campaigns have been realised. Glenrowan, a feature film about the infamous last stand of Ned Kelly with Walking Dead actor Callan McAuliffe tipped to star, was not successful. The project is now being developed into a 6-part mini-series.

As one of Australia’s most eager filmmakers, Holmes is also working on a remake of Blue Fin based on Colin Thiele’s story of tuna fishing in Port Lincoln. Holmes is also developing a new horror film called The Artifice, based on his short film of the same name. You can watch that short film here.

Keep an eye on Cinema Australia and The Legend of Ben Hall’s Facebook page for more announcements regarding the 2020 crowdfunding campaign.

Cinema Australia wishes Matthew and his team all the best.

via We could be getting a three-hour director’s cut of The Legend of Ben Hall — Cinema Australia

True History of the Kelly Gang (July 2019 update)

Harry Power (Russell Crowe) and Ned Kelly (Orlando Schwerdt) bail up a coach. The guitar strapped to Power’s saddle could be an indication that we are in for some musical numbers from the former TOFOG frontman.

The most anticipated project at present is Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of True History of the Kelly Gang. The Booker Prize winning novel has had an awful time reaching the screen as detailed in previous articles. With this outing by the Assassin’s Creed director, there has been very little news since production wrapped in 2018. Repeated attempts by A Guide to Australian Bushranging to contact the production and distribution companies connected to the film to gain any information was been met with resounding silence. However, on 24 July we finally got a release date and the first official images from the film.

Harry Power (Russell Crowe) in a pensive moment.

According to reports, the film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019. This means that it will have been over a year since production wrapped when audiences first get a chance to see it. It also means that Australian audiences will have to wait even longer to see the film, which naturally has some people scratching their heads. Whether Canadian audiences will respond to the film will be interesting to see.

The first image of Ned Kelly (George Mackay) in ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’.

Available information for the film states that it remains in post-production. For months, rumours abounded that it would premiere at Cannes, which it did not as it was not ready in time to qualify, then more recently it was speculated to be premiering at the Venice Film Festival. What is clear is that regardless of where it was to debut, it was always intended to play to international audiences at a film festival first. There is still no word on the release date for general audiences or if it will be a limited release.Oddly, the film has already been nominated for best film adaptation at the 52nd AWGIE awards, despite not having been screened or released, which begs more questions than it answers. Shaun Grant’s screenplay seems to only have one other contender – another as-yet unreleased Essie Davis vehicle in Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears – to duke it out with, so that remains a curiosity.

Ellen Kelly (Essie Davis) and young Ned Kelly (Orlando Schwerdt) in the Winton Wetlands, likely the location used for the Kelly homestead. The fire is unexplained.

Essie Davis, who will be playing Ellen Kelly, has mentioned the film several times in interviews about her latest project, Lambs of God. Davis in one interview talks about how a scene in THOTKG saw her thrashed about and bruised, while in another interview she talks about having to keep her hair during the making of Lambs of God because of her role as Ellen. This makes one curious as to what scene could possibly see Ellen thrashed around and beaten.

Sean Keenan poses with a replica of Joe Byrne’s armour in the Ned Kelly Vault in December 2017 [Source: The Ned Kelly Vault Facebook Page]

Another cast member that has spoken of the film in interview is Sean Keenan, who was asked about the film on The Project while promoting his stage production of Cosi. During the brief and awkward interaction Keenan described filming on the snow, Winton Wetlands and in Wangaratta. He also confirmed that he is playing Joe Byrne and that the film is a “contemporary mix” and “modern retelling” of the story.

Artwork used on sites associated with the film’s production and distribution around March appeared to depict something of a concept for the poster design. With a pink colour scheme, the only graphic was an assortment of half-naked young men holding firearms and wearing dresses or ladies underwear. None of the faces of the men Were shown, indicating that these are not the actors from the film, but rather stand-ins. It is unlikely that this will reflect the final poster design.

Sgt. O’Neil (Charlie Hunnam) in what appears to be a burnt shed. O’Neil is an incredibly minor character in the original novel from which the film gets its title, implying that the role has been expanded to suit Hunnam’s star power.

The production images are not very specific in what they depict but there are perhaps some clues as to the style of the film, it’s attitude to the source material and some of what we can expect to see in the film. It is a little strange that for a film titled True History of the Kelly Gang there are no images of the eponymous bushrangers. It is also strange that Nicholas Hoult, one of the bigger international stars in the film, is not included while two of Russell Crowe were despite the former likely having a more significant role.

Ned Kelly (Joshua Charles Dawe) and Dan Kelly (Shane Palmer) in ‘Stringybark’.

Meanwhile, Ben Head’s short feature Stringybark debuted at the Lorne Film Festival on 26 July. The film, centred around the ill-fated Mansfield party rather than the bushrangers, has had an interesting production history; starting out as a student film then getting a huge boost from crowdfunding that allowed the team to get closer to their vision. After an investor screening of the film, things went quiet while the team tried to tee up screenings. Several official photographs from the film were released as well as a trailer, giving audiences a good sense of what to expect ahead of time. Beyond its Lorne premiere there is no further word yet on when there will be other opportunities for people to see the film on the big screen or via streaming, but according to Ben Squared Films they are currently looking at independent cinema screenings in the next few months.

Matthew Holmes’ Glenrowan remains in development, but is now being pitched as a six-part mini-series, intended for streaming. This will allow the story to expand to include elements previously unable to be included due to time constraints. Whereas the original screenplay focused almost entirely on the actual siege, the expanded format will include more of the prelude and aftermath, including an entire episode to open the series based on an expanded version of the short feature screenplay Blood and Thunder, and more emphasis on Aaron Sherritt and the politics that led to the formulation of the Glenrowan plot. The new format also allows more focus to be put on the people outside of the outlaws and the police such as Ann and Jane Jones, the Kelly sisters and key sympathisers like the Lloyds and Harts. It follows the structure and content of the novel that was written parallel to the development of the initial screenplay (by yours truly) more closely than was previously possible.

Jane Jones helps some of the children escape from the beseiged Glenrowan Inn (concept art for ‘Glenrowan’ by Aidan Phelan).

As details come to hand about any films or other bushranger related productions, you will be able to find them at our Facebook page.

Spotlight: Further Outrages by the Kelly Gang

The following is a report from just after the Kelly Gang raided the bank at Euroa. It describes in a fair amount of detail the events at Younghusband’s Station and Euroa, while missing some of the details and getting a few spellings wrong – as was typical of reporting at the time. It provides an interesting insight into how the bank robbery caught the public’s imagination after the outrage over the tragedy at Stringbark Creek. It is also worth noting that while Joe Byrne’s identity had been known for some time, it was only because of one of the servants in the bank recognising Steve Hart that the identity of the fourth gang member was finally revealed. This report also references the Egerton bank robbery, which some may remember is the well publicised robbery allegedly performed by Andrew Scott aka Captain Moonlite.


By Electric Telegraph


Euroa, 11th December.

The greatest excitement has prevailed here in consequence of the perpetration by the brothers Edward and Daniel Kelly, and two men named Steve Hart and Byrne, of one of the most daring and skilfully planned bank robberies that has occurred since the Egerton gold robbery, and the sticking up of Mr. Younghusband’s station at Faithfull’s Creek, at the foot of the Strathbogie Ranges, about four miles from here, in the direction of Violet Town. The particulars I have been able to glean are as follows : — On Monday last, about half past twelve in the day, a man arrived at the Faithfull’s Creek station and asked one of the station hands named Fitzgerald, who was having his dinner in the kitchen, whether the manager, Mr, Macauley, was at home. He was told by Fitzgerald that the manager was not in, and was asked if he wanted anything particular, and whether he, Fitzgerald, could do anything for him. The stranger said it was no matter, and going from the kitchen made signals to some persons outside, and then two other men out of three, who were a little distance away, came up, leading with them four very fine saddle horses, three bays and one grey. The man who had arrived first; then went into the dwelling house where Fitzgerald’s wife was engaged in some household duties, and said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid ; I am Ned Kelly ; we won’t do you any harm ; you must give us refreshments and food for our horses.’ Mrs. Fitzgerald was naturally greatly surprised, and much alarmed. She called her husband, and said, ‘Here’s Mr. Kelly, and they want food for their horses and refreshment.’ Fitzgerald, seeing that the stranger had a revolver, and that resistance was useless, said, ‘No matter who they are, if they want refreshment and food for their horses, of course they can have it.’ Edward Kelly, for there is not the slightest doubt it was he, then asked how many men there were about the station, and threatened Fitzgerald if he did not tell him the truth. Fitzgerald told him there were only three or four hands. Kelly then informed Fitzgerald that it was his intention to lock him and a lad who was also present in the store room. This purpose Kelly and his mates immediately carried into effect. Three other men shortly afterwards came in to their dinners, and as they arrived they were bailed up and placed in the storeroom along with the others.

Shortly after this Mr. Macauley, the manager of the station, arrived home. As he was crossing a little wooden bridge over a creek near the homestead he noticed that the place appeared unusually quiet for the time of day, it being customary for the men engaged about the station to be working about. He had no suspicions, however, of anything being wrong, and rode straight on to the buildings. When he got to the storeroom Fitzgerald, who was allowed to put his head out of the door, told him the Kellys were there. Mr. Macauley would not believe him at first, but Edward Kelly came out of the building and said, ‘I am Ned Kelly ; you will have to bail up,’ Mr. Macauley, in reply, said it was no use their sticking up the station, as there were no horses on it better than those they had with them. Kelly said they did not want to take anything from the station ; all they wanted being a rest and food for their horses, and to have a sleep themselves. Mr. Macauley then, seeing that all the men were armed, gave in. At first he could not believe that it was really the Kellys who had paid him such an unwelcome visit ; but afterwards he saw Daniel Kelly, and immediately recognised him from the portraits that have been published in the Illustrated News, and the photographs that have been circulated throughout the country. One of the other men was afterwards recognised as one Steve Hart, well known as an associate of the Kellys, and who is probably identical with one of the two unknown men who took part in the Mansfield murders. The other man, Byrne, is supposed to make up the fourth of the party who slew Constables Scanlan and Lonigan and Sergeant Kennedy. Both these men are said to answer to the descriptions published.

Source: The illustrated Australian news, December 27, 1878. (SLV: 1697231)

To return to the narrative, however, Mr. Macauley, seeing there was no help for his position, proposed that dinner should be partaken of, but the bushrangers refused to eat anything unless they saw the others partake of the food, being evidently frightened of being poisoned. The horses had in the meantime been put in the stable and attended to. Ultimately the men had dinner, and the party of outlaws also, the latter leaving two of their number to keep guard while the others took their food. It was then getting towards evening, and shortly before dark a man named Gloster, who keeps a store at Seymour, and also follows the trade of a hawker around the district, arrived at the station, and prepared to camp on its outskirts. He had unharnessed his horse and went to the kitchen to get some hot water for his tea. One of the women there told him he had better bail up, as the Kellys were there. Gloster treated the matter as a joke, and went on with what he was doing and was about to return to his cart. Daniel Kelly then raised his gun, and Edward Kelly called out to Gloster to stop, and Mr. Macauley, knowing him to be a man of considerable courage and determination, also endeavored to dissuade him from resisting, as he feared if he went to the waggon and got at his revolver, murder would be committed. Gloster, however, persisted in going to the waggon, and got up into it, but Edward Kelly followed him, and, putting his revolver up to Gloster’s cheek, ordered him to get down again. This he did very reluctantly, and was very surly and short in his language to the bushranger. Edward Kelly said he would like to shoot him, and that he was one man out of a hundred not to do so. Gloster having been thus secured was disposed of in a similar manner to the other men, and put into the store with the hands. The outlaws then commenced to ransack Gloster’s waggon, and quickly had its contents strewn over the ground, so that they might pick out such articles as they were most in need of, or as took their fancy at the moment. Each man then arrayed himself in a new rig out from head to foot, and even such luxuries as soaps and perfumery were not despised, – the bushrangers pouring bottles of the latter over themselves, and pocketing the former for future use. Having got tired of overhauling the unfortunate hawker’s stock-in-trade, the two Kellys and their mates composed themselves for the night. Two men were kept on guard while the others slept, all the station hands being kept in the storehouse except Fitzgerald and Mr. Macauley, who were allowed to move about the place, but only under strict surveillance, and on their promise that they would not attempt to escape.

In the course of the night the desperadoes conversed freely with their captives, and, indeed, appear to have taken them into their confidence to a certain extent. In speaking of the Mansfield murders, Edward Kelly said he was sorry Kennedy had been shot, and that it had never been their intention to kill him. He stated that Kennedy fired five shots at the bushrangers, one of which grazed Edward Kelly’s whiskers, and another his sleeve. The first time Kennedy was hit it was in the arm, and Kelly did not intend to fire at him again. Kennedy, however, when hit was partly behind a tree, and, being shot, threw his arm up as if to aim at Edward Kelly, whereupon the latter again fired, hitting him in the side, and be dropped. They also spoke of Constable McIntyre in a way the reverse of complimentary as to his courage. They said that when Kennedy arrived at the camp and jumped from his horse he dismounted on the wrong side, throwing his leg on the horse’s wither, and that McIntyre immediately mounted and rode off, leaving his companions to cope with the gang themselves. Edward Kelly is also stated to have said that had it not been for the police separating things would never have happened as they did. With respect to the shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick, he asserted that he was not concerned in that outrage at all, and could bring evidence which would prove beyond a doubt that he was fifteen miles away when it occurred. He also said that he and his party had no wish to harm any one who did not harm them. One of the most remarkable statements made by the outlaws, however, was that they had written a communication addressed to the Legislative Council, and containing a detailed account of the exploits of the gang and the causes of their being led into a career of crime. There may be some truth in this, as Mrs. Fitzgerald has been understood to say that a document was given to her by one of the Kellys, and that she posted it at his request.

The night having been passed in this manner, the first thing done by the bushrangers on the following Tuesday morning was to break down one of the galvanised iron telegraph posts on the line of railway which runs within a few yards of the home station and out the wires, thereby preventing communication with Benalla, where a large body of police was known to be stationed. The bushrangers appeared to be very apprehensive of being observed by passing trains, as everyone that went by slackened speed, the driver’s attention being no doubt attracted by the broken telegraph wires. About half-past four p.m. the train for Melbourne passed and stopped, leaving a man who had been sent from Benalla to repair the damage, but as soon as the train that brought him had departed he was bailed up and speedily placed with the rest of the captives in the storeroom. Shortly after breakfast another incident occurred. It appears that two selectors named Casement and Tannant respectively, and two visitors named Dudley and McDougall, had been out shooting kangaroos, having a saddle horse and a springcart with them, and two carrying double-barrelled guns. To return to their home they had to pass the station, and while so doing, they were met by two of the bushrangers, one of whom told them to bail up, as he was Ned Kelly. Casement said to Kelly he had better mind himself, or the consequence might be bad. Kelly told Tannant to get down from his horse. Tannant dismounted and said to Casement ‘Let’s go and load the guns’ and he went to the cart and began to charge them. Kelly then ordered him off the cart, and throw his rifle down and put his fist up, saying, ‘Won’t you come and try it out with me? That’s the fist, of Ned Kelly ; it won’t be long before you feel the weight of it.’ Tannant then got off the cart and was ordered by Kelly to go and open the gate leading to the home station, Tannant at first refused, but Kelly forced him to comply by putting the barrel of his revolver in his mouth and saying, ‘Now, will you go?’ Tannant afterwards declared he could feel the cold iron between his jaws. Kelly and his mate then drove the men before them up to the huts, and they were consigned to captivity in the storeroom, along with the rest, They took the spring cart and horse with them also. This, with the hawker’s wagon, made two vehicles at the bushrangers’ disposal, to be  afterwards utilised in their raid upon the National Bank at Euroa.

On returning to the station, Edward Kelly went to Mr. Macauley and asked him to write him a cheque, but Mr. Macauley refused to do so. It would seem that Kelly’s reason for wanting the cheque was not so much for the sake of the money as for an excuse for going to the bank, for pointing to a drawer, he said to Mr. Macauley, there is a cheque in that drawer for £4. There was such a cheque drawn out and signed, and Mr. Macauley replied, ‘I can’t stop you from taking that, but I won’t sign a cheque.’ Kelly then took the cheque, and left the station with his brother Daniel and Steve Hart, Byrne staying behind to guard the prisoners in the storehouse, Mr, Macauley being put in along with the others. The bushrangers then appear to have gone direct to the township, taking, with them Gloster’s waggon and Casement’s spring-cart.

Euroa, VIC (date unknown) Source: State Library of New South Wales; FL1715720; IE1715712

At about a quarter-past four in the afternoon Edward Kelly knocked at the door of the bank office, it being after bank hours, and on its being partly opened by Mr. Bradley, one of the clerks, Kelly said he wanted a cheque of Mr. Macauley’s for £4 cashed. Mr. Bradley said it was too late, whereupon Kelly said he wanted the money, and asked to see the manager, Mr. Scott. Mr. Bradley replied it would be no use his seeing him, as he had locked the cash up. Bradley was still holding the door partly open when Kelly pushed himself in and announced who he was. He and Steve Hart then rushed in and covered Mr. Bradley and Mr. Booth, the other clerk, with their revolvers, and, driving them before them, passed round the counter into the manager’s room, where Mr. Scott was sitting. They ordered Mr. Scott to tell the female inmates of the house who were there not to, make a row. Mr. Scott did so, and Mrs. Scott, With her mother, six children and two female servants came into the passage. The two clerks were also sent there, and saw Daniel Kelly at the back door. Edward Kelly then demanded from Mr. Scott what money was in the bank. Mr, Scott replied that he had not the entire care of it, there being duplicate keys, some of which were kept by Mr. Bradley. Kelly then put a pistol to Mr. Bradley’s head and asked him for the cash, and Mr. Bradley, after much hesitation, had to give up the keys of the safe drawers. Edward Kelly went out and got a gunny bag from the waggon, and, taking the money from the drawers, put it into it, mixing notes, gold and, silver indiscriminately. The clerks here cannot say, in Mr. Scott’s absence, what the actual amount was that was taken, but it is currently stated to have been between £1500 and £2000. Having secured the cash the robbers proceeded to the yard and got ready Mr. Scott’s horse and buggy. They allowed the bank officials to put the books away in the strong room, and then took Mr. and Mrs. Scott, their family and servants, and the two clerks, out by the back way, locked up the premises, and, putting them into the three vehicles, drove them rapidly off towards Mr. Younghusband’s station, Gloster’s waggon leading the way, with Edward Kelly driving, the buggy driven by Mr. Scott next, and the spring cart last.

On arriving at the station they found the other man, Byrne, pacing up and down in front of the storehouse with a rifle in each hand, and they saw all the people who were shut up inside looking through the windows, when they all alighted from the traps. The ladies were allowed to go into the kitchen, and Byrne unlocked the store and let the prisoners go as far as about the door, but they were not allowed to go further. The bushrangers appeared to be well armed, as four rifles were noticed lying in the waggon. Mr. Macauley was allowed to come out of the storeroom, and the horses were then taken to their stables by the station hands, the Kellys keeping guard over them. Ned Kelly took the money from Casement’s cart, and strapped the bag on to the front of his saddle. After that they had tea served in the kitchen. The bushrangers stopped about the premises until near nine o’clock, when they rode away. Before leaving they locked every one up except Mr. Macauley and the women, and told the former not to let any one out for three hours, saying that if they came back within that time and found he had done so he would have to be responsible for the consequences. Edward Kelly distributed a quantity of silver coin among the servants and other women about the station before he left. Mr. Macauley opened the store about a quarter of an hour after the gang had departed in order to let fresh air in and about 10.30 Messrs. Scott and Bradley, with Mrs. Scott and the younger children left the station in the buggy, while Mr. Booth and the elder children walked to the township along the railway line. The robbery was altogether a most audacious one, and at the same time was cleverly planned, for although it was committed in broad daylight, everything was so well managed that the residents of the township had not the slightest idea of what was being done. The outlaws wore to some extent favored by the position of the bank, it being the first house in the township coming from the direction of Faithfull’s Creek station.

The first intimation of the robbery was given when the captives returned from the station ; and Constable Anderson, the only officer stationed at Euroa, went by the night train to Benalla to give information. Superintendent Nicolson, with a body of police numbering about a dozen, in addition to black trackers, left Benalla at midnight on Tuesday by special train, and on arrival at Euroa they at once commenced search operations, which were continued during the day. About eleven o’clock to-night the police again made a start, but were, as usual, very reticent as to the direction they meant to take, as well as whether there were any good reasons to believe that a capture would be effected. All kinds of rumors are afloat as to the locality the Kellys have made for, some saying they have gone towards Murchison, while others maintain that they will be found in their old haunts in the ranges near the scene of the murders. In the meantime, great excitement and a general feeling of insecurity prevails all over the district. A special train left Benalla for Euroa at half-past twelve to-night, with extra police and black trackers. There is no further news to be obtained here.


“FURTHER OUTRAGES BY THE KELLY GANG.” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 14 December 1878: 21.v

Spotlight: Ned Kelly Interviewed

[The following report was published in Cootamundra Herald, 3 July 1880. While some minor errors pepper it, this is one of the few times we get a somewhat choerent glimpse of Ned Kelly’s motivations at Glenrowan. ~ AP]
After the house had been burnt, Ned Kelly’s three sisters and Tom Wright were allowed an interview with him. Tom Wright, as well as his sisters, kissed the wounded man, and a brief conversation ensued, Ned Kelly having to a certain extent recovered from the exhaustion consequent of his wounds. At times his eyes were quite bright, although he was of course excessively weak, his remarkably powerful physique enabled him to talk rather freely. During the interview he stated: “I was at last surrounded by the police, and only had a revolver, with which I fired four shots; but it was no good. I had half a mind to shoot myself. I loaded my rifle, but could not hold it after I was wounded. I had plenty of ammunition, but it was of no use to me. I got shot in the arm, and told Byrne and Dan so. I could have got away, but when I saw them all pounding away I told Dan I would see it over and wait till morning.”
“What on earth induced you to go to the hotel?” inquired a spectator.
“We could not do it anywhere else,” replied Kelly, eyeing the spectators, who were strangers to him, suspiciously. “I would,” he continued, “have fought them in the train, or else upset it, if I had the chance. I did not care a — who was in it, but I knew on Sunday morning there would be no usual passengers. I first tackled the line and could not pull it up, and then came to Glenrowan station.”
Since the Jerilderie affair,” remarked a spectator, “we thought you had gone to Queensland.”
“It would not do for all to think alike,” was Kelly’s reply. “If I were once right again,” he continued,”I would go to the barracks and shoot every one of the — traps, and not give one a chance.”
Mrs. Skillian to her brother: “It’s a wonder you did not keep behind a tree.”
Ned Kelly: “I had a chance at several policemen during the night, but declined to fire. I got away into the bush and found my mare, and could have rushed away to beggary, but wanted to see the thing out, and remained in the bush.”
A sad scene ensued when Wild Wright led Mrs. Skillian to the horrible object which was all that remained of her brother Dan. She bent over it, raised a dirge-like cry, and wept bitterly. Dick Hart applied for the body of his brother, but was told he could not have it until after the post mortem examination.
The inquest on the bodies will be held at Benalla.
The wound received by Sergeant Hare pierced right through the wrist. It bled profusely, and he had to be removed for medical treatment.
The son of Mrs. Jones, landlady of the Glenrowan Hotel, was shot in the back, but not killed.
Ned Kelly was shot in the left foot, the left leg, the right hand, and left arm, and twice in the region of the groin; but no bullet pierced his armour.


THE people of Queensland may be congratulated on the speedy termination of the bushranging career of the three ruffians who escaped from the Rockhampton Gaol and for a short time lived by plundering travellers and the residents of the surrounding districts. The credit for their extermination is due not to the police force, but to civilians, and if the same determination to put down crime was exhibited by the residents of the Southern and Western districts of this colony as that which characterized the conduct of Messrs. Jardine, Paton, and Caldwell, we should soon be rid of Ben Hall, the murderer
Morgan, and others, whose acts of violence have brought this colony and its inhabitants into unmerited disrepute, and enabled some of our envious neighbours to cast a stigma on the whole of the people of New South Wales. Howson was the first of the gang brought to justice. Webster another of the party, visited Tregilgus’ public-house on the 9th of June; the police having received information of his whereabouts surrounded the house, but Webster, though fired at by the police, rushed off, and would probably have
effected his escape but for the exertions of Mr. Jardine, who borrowed a revolver from Sub-Inspector Foran, pursued Webster, and coming within range fired, exclaiming, “That will do, he will not go any farther. ” Webster then fell, and the constables coming up took him prisoner and conveyed him back to his former residence, the gaol. In the end of June, Fegan and Wright visited and robbed a number of stations along the Peak Downs road. At Mr. Caldwell’s Fegan helped himself to a fresh horse and to about £30 in cash. Shortly after the bush-rangers left, Mr. Caldwell sent round, and having collected and armed six or seven of his employes, started in pursuit, accompanied by a young man named Paton. Near a lagoon on the outskirts of the station, Mr. Caldwell discovered his horse feeding quietly at the edge of the scrub. The party, believing that the bushrangers were not far off, and would soon be searching for the horse, concealed themselves in the scrub, and in a short time Fegan was seen coming along on foot; he was about to endeavour to repossess himself of the horse, when the party, springing from their ambuscade, surrounded him, and the sight of half a dozen revolvers levelled at his head convinced him of the folly of attempting to escape ; he therefore quietly submitted, and was conveyed back to Rockhampton, where he and his companions have since been committed for trial. Wright, the last of the gang, continued his robberies until the 4th July, when he was met by Mr. Paton and Mr. Bedford near the Wilpend station ; on seeing Wright approaching, Mr. Paton picked up a revolver and presented it at the bushranger, saying, “You are my prisoner ; throw your hands up !” Wright replied in a saucy tone, “All right,” and partially lifted his hands, but immediately afterwards lowered them towards his belt. Again Mr. Paton exclaimed, “Throw your hands up, or I’ll fire !” and the bushranger not immediately complying, he (Mr. Paton) turned to speak to one of his men who had followed, though still keeping the bushranger under cover. In turning he touched the trigger unintentionally, and the contents of the revolver were instantly lodged in the body of Wright, who exclaimed ” Oh, my God! what is that for?”and sank to the ground a corpse. On the body was found a revolver loaded and capped. Information of the circumstances was at once sent to Mr. Caldwell, the nearest magistrate, and an inquiry took place next day. Four gentlemen—-Messrs. Stanley, Gerard, Mackay, and Macdonald—-were empanelled as a jury, and concurred with the opinion of the presiding magistrate, that the act of shooting Wright was justifiable homicide.


Source: “THE CAPTURE OF FEGAN, THE BUSHRANGER.” Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872) 17 August 1864: 1.

Vale: Ian Jones

You cannot believe anyone else’s version of an event. You must search it out yourself. – Ian Jones


With the passing of Ian Jones on 31 August, the world of Ned Kelly buffs was shaken. Jones had dedicated the best part of his life to recording and popularising the story of the Kelly Gang and for a considerable number of people in the community they had never been in a world without Ian Jones. His masterpiece Ned Kelly: A Short Life, released in 1995, remains a must-read for all people interested in the story. On top of this, his work on Ned Kelly (1970) and The Last Outlaw (1980) helped entrench Ned in the Australian popular culture.

Beyond his contributions to Kelly scholarship and culture, Jones is best remembered for his work in film and television, for which he was awarded the Longford Lyell Award in 2006 by the AFI. He began his career as a journalist for the Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial before moving into broadcasting. His first work in television was on the broadcasts of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne for HSV7 and later a foundation director at Channel Seven in Melbourne. But he soon moved into other programming such as Consider Your Verdict and Video Village. In the 1960s he began working for Crawford Productions and in 1964 was the first writer and director for the classic Australian crime drama Homicide. For Crawfords he also worked on The Sullivans, Matlock Police, Hunter, The Bluestone Boys, Bluey, Division 4, Ryan and The Box. But perhaps his most popular work at the time was Against the Wind, a 1978 drama set in the convict era starring Jon English that gained a devoted fanbase around the world. He created the series with his wife Bronwyn Binns, with whom he would go on to create The Last Outlaw.

Ian Jones was also a military historian with a passion for the Australian Light Horse Brigade and in 1987 wrote and produced The Lighthorsemen starring Peter Phelps and Sigrid Thornton. The film depicted the actions of the 4th Light Horse Brigade in the Battle of Beersheba, a key event in WWI and a major victory for Australian forces in the war.

Jones credited his love affair with all things Kelly to a gardener named Tom Maine who would tell him stories about Ned Kelly when he was ten. The obsession began when he read conflicting accounts of Ned Kelly and determined to find out the truth. His fascination with film meant that it was destiny that he would create what is widely considered to be the definitive on-screen depiction of the story. His first attempt during his time as a university student did not pan out as expected resulting in an empty bank account and an injured foot. His experience as co-writer on Tony Richardson’s Ned Kelly film, seeing how it was tampered with after his own involvement ceased, led to him going over all elements of The Last Outlaw with a fine-toothed comb. In 1992 he released his first book on the subject, The Friendship That Destroyed Ned Kelly: Joe Byrne and Aaron Sherritt (later re-released in a revised edition as The Fatal Friendship: Ned Kelly, Aaron Sherritt and Joe Byrne) and was finally able to immortalise some of his own research in print. After the release of Ned Kelly: A Short Life in 1995, Ian Jones cemented his place and became a celebrity to aficionados of the Kelly story. Whenever Ned Kelly was in the news his would be the opinion everyone would seek, even only a few months ago in relation to a controversial work by Stuart Dawson refuting the idea that Ned Kelly was attempting to create a republic – one of the key ideas Ian Jones had popularised after learning of it in his interviews with descendants. Jones was instrumental in the creation of the Ned Kelly Vault in Beechworth, a museum dedicated to the story with an eclectic collection of artifacts spanning the history and the cultural legacy of the story. He never wavered in his high opinion of Ned Kelly, championing the outlaw as an inherently fine man who found himself falling foul of the law after years of oppression. As Ned Kelly appears to be regaining a foothold in the Australian collective consciousness after a lull it seems almost poetic that Jones has departed now, his success in helping to preserve the story for future generations now assured.



Justin Kurzel’s ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ – Update (August 2018)

One of the most anticipated Australian films at the moment is the film adaptation of Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang directed by Justin Kurzel. The film, currently in production, has been through development Hell (a term that refers to films that have gone through a long and torturous process in order to be made) which was covered in a previous article that you can read here. Now that it’s underway, what do we know?


As previously mentioned elsewhere, Ned Kelly will be played by English actor George Mackay (Captain Fantastic), Ellen Kelly by Essie Davis (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Joe Byrne by Sean Keenan (Lockie Leonard), Constable Fitzpatrick by Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) with Earl Cave (son of musician Nick Cave) as Dan Kelly. In addition we have Mary Hearn (Ned’s fictional love interest) played by Thomasin McKenzie, Steve Hart played by Lewis Hewison, Mrs. Shelton played by Claudia Karvan (Puberty Blues) and Jacob Collins-Levy (The White Princess) as Thomas Curnow. It should also be noted that Travis Fimmel and Dacre Montgomery appear to have left the project, likely due to scheduling conflicts but a reason was never given.

Headlining the cast is Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), though neither is playing a major role. Both actors have been in Victoria filming, Hunnam spotted by many adoring fans around Wangaratta. While Crowe has been confirmed as Harry Power, Hunnam’s role is still mysterious, though it appears that he is stepping in to fill the void left by Travis Fimmel who left abruptly just before production began. Fimmel was slated to be playing Sergeant O’Neil, a fictional policeman who appears at the beginning of Carey’s book, who was characterised as an older man who tries to put the moves on Ellen Kelly while her husband is absent (and cops a mighty slap for his trouble) and proceeds to cryptically tell Ned about what will later be revealed to be the “Sons of Sieve”, an Irish group of rebels that Ned’s father was a member of (in this narrative but not in reality). O’Neil is the first police antagonist in the story and bullies and mocks Ned but disappears within the first twenty pages. Possibly though, Hunnam could be playing Bill Frost, who is a major character in the book and whose scenes occur during the Harry Power section of the story over the course of multiple chapters.

Crowe meanwhile baffled many by posting videos of himself combing his beard and singing ‘In the Sweet By-and-By’ (one of Ned Kelly’s favourite songs). Those in the know were excited to get a glimpse of only the second ever on-screen incarnation of Harry Power (the first being Gerard Kennedy in The Last Outlaw in 1980). This week Crowe also posted another video, again featuring him singing ‘In the Sweet By-And-By’, to show off his new haircut and short beard. Crowe’s singing does raise the question of whether he will be singing in the film, Crowe having tried a career as a musician several times in his younger days and also having to sing for his part as Javert in Les Miserables. On the plus side Crowe seems to be excited by his part in the film and hopefully this translates well to screen. Power was portrayed in 1980 as a jolly highwayman with sparkling wit and charm by Gerard Kennedy but the historical Power was far more irascible and intimidating, and though he never shed blood or took a life he could scare a coachload of people into doing exactly as he said. In the book Power is characterised as an erratic, verbose alcoholic with an explosive temper. It is unlikely that Power’s relationship with Ned’s uncles Jack Lloyd and Jimmy Quinn will be featured given how time consuming it is.

Justin Kurzel’s Kelly Gang

There are many characters that appear in the book whose parts have not been announced yet including Red Kelly, Captain Standish, Superintendents Nicolson and Hare, Sergeant Whelan, George King and James Whitty. Whether these characters, vital to the Kelly story in history and also in Carey’s book, are translated to screen or amalgamated in some way (as with Superintendent Hare in Gregor Jordan’s Ned Kelly) will be interesting to see.


No official stills have been released to date though some sneaky set photos have been published from the location shooting. These shots show us the costumes for Harry Power and Ned Kelly from the portion of the story where Ned is a fifteen year old. Crowe sports a tweed suit with a printed shirt and a striped waistcoat as well as a very authentic bushy grey beard. This Harry Power is clearly a far neater dressed individual than his historical counterpart. A shot of Crowe’s foot from his own social media shows off a shiny black boot that looks a far cry from the oversized boots curling at the toes Power favoured due to his bunions. This gives us no insight, however, into how Power will be portrayed on screen.

Russell Crowe as Harry Power (Source)

The other character we have had a glimpse of is Ned Kelly. Since arriving in Australia George Mackay has been seen sporting a rather distinctive mullet. The first image of him in costume confirms that this is part of the look for his version of Ned along with a bright red shirt and sand coloured moleskin jeans. Rather than resembling fifteen year old Ned Kelly, this costume resembles the hair and outfit of the Sharpies, a violent youth gang from the Melbourne suburbs during the mid to late twentieth century. Some assumed this was merely an outfit from Mackay’s own wardrobe but a look through Carey’s book confirms that Ned should be wearing a red shirt and moleskin trousers at this point in the story – expect to see him sporting elastic sided boots as well. It will be interesting to see what look they go with for an older Ned – will he get the famous pompadour and beard combo that everyone associated with the bushranger?

George Mackay as Ned Kelly (Source)

Of course, no Ned Kelly film is complete without a rendition of the iconic armour. For the Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger films, efforts were made to replicate the real suits, the former letting the faithfulness slip quite a bit when they decided Joe Byrne’s helmet with Dan Kelly’s backplate would look better as Ned’s helmet and breastplate among other alterations. To date, the armour seen in the 2003 film is the most accurate seen in a feature apart from the 1906 film that used Joe Byrne’s actual armour for a costume, the suits very closely resembling their real life counterparts save for a few aesthetic flourishes. New Zealand born Guido Gouverneur, a horticulturalist, was given the task of creating Kelly Gang armour for this film. The result, made from sheet metal, bears a reasonable resemblance to the real armour at a distance but is definitely far from identical. The armour is almost emblematic of what this production threatens to be – from a distance it seems almost passable but up close it doesn’t hold up.

The armour made for George Mackay (Source)

So far the hair and costumes are underwhelming, not demonstrating any discernible care for period accuracy or accuracy to the characters. It will be intriguing to see how the police uniforms look as well as the hair and costumes for the other gang members and the Kelly family. Will True History of the Kelly Gang make the oft repeated mistake of putting the police at Stringybark Creek in their uniforms? Will the police at Glenrowan also be in uniforms? These two incidents, extremely important in the story, involved police in plainclothes, not uniforms that were ill suited to bush work. Unfortunately, to date The Last Outlaw is the only screen depiction to adhere to this fact. The 1970 film had the police in plainclothes at Stringybark Creek but uniformed at Glenrowan, while the 2003 film had uniformed police in both incidents. It will also be interesting to see if we get enough of the Jerilderie operation to see the gang in NSW trooper uniforms. For a Ned Kelly film to feel right it needs to look right and thus far it’s not looking right at all.


After a number of delays and Travis Fimmel quitting the film, production began on 22 July 2018, with the bulk of location filming being undertaken this month. The filming took place around Wangaratta. Filming has since moved on to Clunes where a dance hall scene is set to film, callouts for extras having gone out before production began. Clunes was used in the 2003 Ned Kelly due to its main street retaining many old fashioned buildings and having underground powerlines, thus retaining the overall appearance of an old frontier town. It is probable that the Euroa and Jerilderie scenes will be filmed here as they were for the 2003 film.

The Screenplay

The screenplay for True History of the Kelly Gang has been written by Shaun Grant who previously wrote Justin Kurzel’s debut feature Snowtown. As in all book adaptations there will be some straying from the source text as the tricks and style that a book format enables don’t always translate well. What will be interesting to see is whether it strays closer to fact or closer to fantasy as a film that trades on the name “true history” carries with it an expectation that it tells the real story.

What next?

Production is still underway, hopefully publicity shots or production stills are released soon to give people a sense of what is happening with the production. A trailer will not become available until post-production is underway which is likely several months away at this stage. What people can expect as further details emerge is a film that strays away from historical fact given what we’ve already seen. The real test will be in how faithful the film is to the novel from which it takes its name. Carey’s book relies very heavily on the people, places and events from history he uncovered in his own research to tell his vision of the Ned Kelly story. Whether this production not only stays faithful to that approach but conveys Carey’s themes of the unreliable narrator and subjective truth could make or break the production.

In other news Ben Head’s short film Stringybark is still in development with Ned and Dan Kelly to be played by Joshua Charles Dawe (37) and Shane Palmer (26) respectively. Head’s film will tackle the killings at Stringybark Creek in a revisionist interpretation that positions the Kelly Gang as the villains, a move that is likely to cause great consternation with the vocal members of the pro-Kelly community. Little other information has been released about the film.

The third Kelly production in development, Glenrowan, recently scouted for locations, which featured in videos on the film’s Facebook page, and is in the process of attaching actors and investors to the film. The Walking Dead actor Callan McAuliffe is in negotiations to star as Ned Kelly, other publicly available details are scarce at present but updates can be found on social media.

Spotlight: Capture of Jackey Jackey

“COUNTRY NEWS.” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848) 17 July 1841: 2.

The following report concerns the capture of Jackey Jackey at the Black Horse Inn. It is the most detailed contemporary account published and seems to dispel the commonly held belief that it was Grey the publican’s daughter who was mostly to thank for the apprehension.



Extract of a letter, dated Berrima, July 14;

“I have to acquaint you of the capture of Jackey Jackey, alias William Westwood. On Tuesday, about seven o’clock in the evening, he came to the Inn of Mr. E. Gray, near the cross roads, Berrima, and ordered him to stand in one corner and pull off his jacket, which he did; then ordered Mr. G’s daughter to go in the next room with him, and get the double-barrelled gun and two pistols, besides the cash (which amounted to about forty pounds); he ordered the till to be taken out, when an assigned servant-man of Mr G. came in and wished him (Jackey) good evening; he turned his head at the time, when Mr G. sprang forward and caught hold of his arms; two more men came in at the time, one named Francis McCrohan, a ticket-of-leave holder the other Joseph Waters, an assigned servant to Mr. Munro, of Berrima. McCrohan took up a hammer and hit him on the head, but it had no effect; he struck him a second time, which felled him to the ground; he was in the act of taking a pistol from his breast, when McCrohan knocked him down. He had, when he came to the house, the same piece he took when he absconded from the lock-up; also, one pistol and ball cartridges. This morning his horse, saddled and bridled, was found tied to a fence, supposed to be the property of — McArthur, Esq. Too much praise cannot be given to Mr Gray and the men. He is now safe in this gaol, with a heavy pair of irons put on him,— The weather is fine, but great frost in the mornings. The Court-house is getting on well, and will be finished for the reception of the Court of Quarter Sessions. — Correspondent. [These men merit some indulgence from the Government. — Ed. Aust.]