Ned Kelly
Updated November 28, 2003

Ned Kelly documentaries Ned Kelly has been the subject of films since the turn of last century. Nearly all have not let truth get in the way of a good story. We have been keeping track of progress on the latest. Please have your say.

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An Australian/Irish International Co-Production.
Length 52 mins, colour Digital Video, Stereo, M&E
Filmed in the North-East Region of Victoria, "Kelly Country".

Australian outlaw Ned Kelly's life has been the subject of many films including the Tony Richardson film starring Mick Jagger, and more recently the Heath Ledger film also staring Geoffrey Rush to be released soon in the UK and North America.

Ned Kelly's exploits are soon to be well known, and they raise the question was he an outlaw, a freedom fighter or a murdering terrorist?
This documentary sets out to examine these issues and to tell the historically accurate story of Ned Kelly.


And featuring


IAN JONES, author and historian
KEITH McMENOMY, author and historian
SIOBHAN McHUGH, author and broadcaster.
ELLEN HOLLOW Direct Kelly descendent
ROMA CROTTY Direct Kelly descendent

Ian Jones is one of the most authoritative researchers and writers on the subject of Ned Kelly and was the producer of the television series The Last Outlaw as well as co-writing the film Ned Kelly which starred Mick Jagger.
Keith McMenomy is the author of Ned Kelly: The Authentic Illustrated History which is the most extensive pictorial record of Ned Kelly and the times in which he lived. Both these historians provide critical insights into what it is about Ned Kelly that is so fascinating to a contemporary audience.
Ellen Hollow and Roma Crotty are direct descendants of the Kelly family. Roma still lives in what remains of Greta, the small town in which the Kellys lived and where many of the incidents in the storyt took place.

This film shows how poor social conditions, combined with harsh treatment meted out by the authorities, and a growing sense of nationhood in Australia, led NED KELLY to develop the persona of a rebel or as he put it "Forced Outlaw". It gave him the determination to strike back at the authorities he saw as corrupt and unfair. The film shows how Kelly consciously created his own image and how he found a ready and eager public who supported him.

It is little wonder then that he has become the folk hero and cultural icon that he is today.

"If you tried to create an Australian folk hero, and a frontier folk hero, you would end up synthesizing a Ned Kelly. But you would never dare go as far as Ned Kelly did in creating Ned Kelly."
Ian Jones Author and historian

Australians are as divided today as they were 120 years ago when it comes to Ned Kelly. His charisma and exploits have inspired both awe, and fury.

"He loomed larger than Robin Hood for me. He was someone who was an Australian and an Irishman who stood against the forces of oppression."
Pat Dodson Aboriginal Leader

"My family don't see it that way they see him as someone who had murdered 3 policemen. Someone who had been a horse stealer before that and he'd had a criminal record before that. There's been so much effort put in by a lot of people to try and turn Ned Kelly into a hero, now really I don't think that he was."
Howard Humphrey Constable McIntyre's grandson

The rise of terrorism in our world, and on the other hand the persistence of social liberation movements and the ambiguous area between, highlights the most persistent question, "what is the right way to respond to a corrupt government, oppression and injustice?"

"People have this lofty idea that he should have gone along with British justice. Well British justice means different things to different people. To the Irish it isn't as high minded a concept as it might be to the English."
Siobhan McHugh Author and broadcaster

This new documentary traces Kellys life; his Irish parents, his harsh and poverty stricken childhood, his crimes and struggles and the rise of the peoples hero, willing to answer back to often corrupt authorities.

"Not everyone in the north-eastern district was sympathetic to the Kelly's. Many people were strongly opposed to them and would've dobbed them in as they say."
Keith McMenomy Author and historian

The film also explores the legacy of the Kellys, the effects on generations of Kelly descendants who have, until now been unwilling to talk about what it has meant to be a Kelly, because of the way their lives have been affected by the tragedy of the Kelly outbreak of 1879-80.

"I know my uncle always said that Fitzpatrick would never have gone to the house if he knew Ned was there. He had certainly been pursuing Kate. Whether Kate had given him any encouragement, I don't know."
Ellen Hollow
Direct Kelly descendant

Ned Kelly has become one of Australia's great Icons. But he has divided the country, usually along class lines, as to whether he was a rebel who stood up to the corrupt and vicious British government, or a murderer and thief.
When Europeans came to Australia at the beginning of the colony's history (whether by choice or as convicts) they creating a colony, one founded on cruelty and convict labour, where the power structure of England was transported along with the poor convicts, and settlers.
Ned Kelly inherited the status of the poor and downtrodden but also the culture of Irish rebellion towards the English rulers. He kicked back at the authorities and in so doing became a hero to the poor and anyone who hated the English.

Brief History Of Ned Kelly's Life
Edward Kelly, known to the public as Ned, was born of Irish descent in a small township outside Melbourne, Australia around 1854.
His father died when Ned was 12 years old and, being the eldest boy in a family of six, he shared the responsibility with his mother Ellen Kelly of looking after the family.
They moved to a selection at Greta where Ned and his brothers had many run-ins with the law before Ned was convicted of horse stealing and sent to prison for three years.
After his release he returned home but was then accused of attempted murder. He denied any involvement in the crime but was soon on the run again.
His mother Ellen Kelly and two neighbors were arrested. Ellen Kelly, with a newborn baby in her arms went to prison for three years. The government posted a reward of 100 pounds for Ned and Dan Kelly.

Joined by Steve Hart and Joe Byrne, the fame of the Kelly Gang spread when they ambushed a party of police at Stringybark Creek and in the ensuing shootout three troopers were killed.

The Gang held up the bank at Euroa. This was followed by an audacious raid on the town of Jerilderie that further humiliated the authorities who over the next 18 months had no luck in capturing the outlaws. The reward was increased to 8,000 pounds, the equivalent today of several million dollars.
Sympathizers of the gang were systematically rounded up and jailed and held without trial for up to four months.
Newspapers of the day carried stories of the latest exploits of the gang. The myth making had begun.
The siege at Glenrowan took place in 1880 and led to the death of Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne, and Steve Hart. Ned Kelly wearing his now famous armour attacked the police positions and was shot many times but survived his wounds.
After a short trial, Ned Kelly was convicted of murdering Police Constable Lonigan at Stringybark Creek and despite large public rallies seeking clemency he was hanged at the Old Melbourne Jail on the 11th November 1880. He was 25 years old.


Ned Kelly DOCUMENTARY in production (press release)


Now shooting in regional Victoria and Melbourne "Besieged - The Kelly Legacy" is a documentary explores and retells the story of Ned Kelly.

With richly layered dramatizations re-enacting scenes from the story and readings from original texts (such as the Jerilderie letter), location filming, expert commentary from leading Kelly historians and a contemporary story about the descendants of the Kelly clan we examine the facts and tell the story of Ned Kelly and his Gang and reveal why he demands our attention over 120 years after his death.

The documentary is being shot on location of the events key to the Kelly story: Stringybark Creek, Glenrowan, Beechworth, The Old Melbourne Gaol.

The film is financed with assistance from RLAF - The Regional Victoria Film location Assistance Fund, the Australian Film Commission and the Irish Film Board. It is a co-production between Australian producer/director Gregory Miller of Film Projects and Irish producer/director Barrie Dowdall of Telwell Productions. Peter Fenton who starred in feature film Praise and television series 'Love is a Four letter Word', plays Ned.


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