08/02/03 The Legend of Ned
A spectacular, interactive
re-creation of Ned Kelly's life and times - and beyond - will be launched
by Hon. Justice J. H. Phillips A. C., the Chief Justice of Victoria,
and Ian Jones, the foremost authority on Ned, at Southgate on February
24. The Legend of Ned Kelly, at 'The Beacon' at Southgate,
(the site of the current Dali exhibition,) will run for a year and is
expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors.
The biggest and most
comprehensive retrospective on the life of any Australian, The Legend
of Ned Kelly will feature:-
- An inter-active
depiction of the Kelly Gang's Last Stand at Glenrowan;
- An 1870s banking
chamber and police station of the type the Kelly Gang knew well;
- Bray's photographic
studio at Beechworth where members of the Kelly Gang, as well as other
key characters in the story were captured on film;
- A hi-tech and
startlingly real audio visual of Ned walking into the studio in his
green silk boxing shorts and conversing with the man behind the camera
as he takes up his fighting pose;
- Footage, stills
and other memorabilia from a range of Kelly films: from the first, in
1906, to this year's international blockbuster starring Heath Ledger;
- Exact reproductions
of the Gang's armour;
- A comprehensive
collection of Kelly literature, including the rarest of all: 'Outlaws
Of The Wombat Ranges', published while the gang were still at large;
- Remarkable audio
recordings of Joe Byrne's little sister, Elly, and a man who saw the
Gang hold up the town of Jerilderie.
'This is by far the
biggest and most wide ranging focus on the life of an Australian,' says
Brendan Pearse, co-organiser with Matt Shore of The Legend
of Ned Kelly. 'Ned Kelly is our most famous historic figure, a man
become a myth: our only true legendary figure.'
Brendan Pearse and Matt Shore mounted NED: The Exhibition, seen
last year by more than 120,000 at the National Trust's Old Melbourne Gaol.
Stephen Hare, the Trust's Victorian head, said 'The response
was beyond all our expectations and it was wonderful to see the public
entertained and excited about Australia's history.'
Library of Victoria's exhibition 'Kelly Culture: Reconstructing
will be held from 28 February to 25 May,
4/10/02* 29/09/02 'Wanted:More Kelly
artefacts' (Derek Ballantine)
According to the Sunday Herald Sun
Ned Kelly would be a publicist if he came back to life this year. So goes
the joke at the State Library of Victoria, where Kelly's death mask and
armour are tangible reminders of the folk hero's impact on the 19th century.
The light-hearted assessment is based on Kelly's skill in promoting himself
and his cause. He was theatrical, he was tuned to public opinion and he
had a great capacity for cloaking his crimes in the more respectable guise
or social revolution. He would have made a good "spin doctor"
in a modern setting.
The State Library's
director of collections and services, historian Shane Carmody,
says the ram-paging Kelly successfully portrayed himself as a freedom
fighter. He represented himself as a friend of the oppressed and was highly
thought of by the poor, particularly in northeast Victoria, where his
lain-fly had been harassed by police troopers.
Melbourne's elite, on the other hand, saw him as a killer, bank robber
and threat to civil order. He would have been described as a terrorist
to-day, partcularly for his plan to massacre police. Such sharply opposing
views of Kelly, who was hanged in 1880, fascinate Mr Carmody. So does
the Kelly industry, which was in full swing even before the death sentence
was passed by Justice Sir Redmond Barry, coincidentally the earliest patron
of the State Library.
post-cards featured images of Kelly and his gang. Entrepreneurs fabricated
Kelly suits of armour based on photographs taken alter the famous last
stand at Glenrowan, where Kelly was captured and his comrades wiped out.
In one showman's macabre tilt at making money from the myth, Kelly's sister
Kate was persuaded to appear on stage at the Apollo Theatre on the evening
of the bushranger's execution.
"Kelly souvenirs were in great demand. There was a frenzy to it,"
Mr Carmody says.
More than a century
later, Kelly artefacts, scattered through public institutions and private
collections, are being brought together in one exhIbition to be mounted
at the State library in the New Year. The Jerliderie Letter, in which
Kelly proclalined his intention to create a republic, will be on display
with relics from public and private collections, some on show for the
Wifliamson is looking for more. Of special interest are items created
between 1880 and 1920, including coniic books produced by publishers cashing
in on the Kelly story. "The mythologising of Ned began when he
was still alive and continues to the present in the visual arts, music
and literature," Ms Williamson says.
*The Sunday Herald
Sun is supporting the search for Kelly artefacts.
Contact Derek Ballantine on 9292 2570 or ballantined@heraldsun
23/09/02 Plan for Ned Kelly
artefacts to tour Vic
According to ABC
The Victorian Government
wants to bring together Ned Kelly artefacts and memorabilia for a travelling
exhibition next year.
A committee, chaired by Arts Minister Mary Delahunty, is coordinating
memorabilia in public and private ownership for the exhibition.
Mrs Delahunty says the age of the Ned Kelly artefacts will determine where
the exhibition will tour in the state. "We'll explore where the items
are, how fragile they are and particularly the letters Ned wrote - they
are very, very fragile and need to be carefully protected," she said.
"But it would be a marvellous thing to have a touring Ned Kelly exhibition
right around Victoria."
The Sunday Age 'Ned on Tour' (John Elder)
John Elder's article
about the first of the tours of Kelly sites organised by Ned: The Exhibition,
was an enoyable read. The tour apparently covered all of the major Kelly
sites and some of the lesser known ones. By bus the tour started at the
Old Melbourne Gaol, headed north up the Hume to Beveridge, Avenel, Benalla,
Glenrowan, Kelly's Gap and Greta Cemetery. Unfortunately the article does
not describe the rest of the tour. The tour sites Elder did describe,
seemed predominantly to be paddocks, power poles, fruit trees, holes in
the ground, vandalised homestead remains and 'keep out' signs.
Reading his description of the sites shown on the tour, one gets a full
sense of Australian history neglected and opportunities for meaningful
restoration of historical sites lost. Instead we are left with paddocks
and crumbling homesteads, while our imaginations are required to do all
Anyone wishing to show their support for the restoration of the Kelly
homestead at Beveridge should contact the national
13/05/02 Jon Faine interview
on 3LO with Brendan Pearse, (with guest Marina Prior).
Brendan Pearse is co-organizer (with Matt Shore) of Ned: The Exhibition,
which has been held at The Old Melbourne Gaol (OMG) since October 2001.
According to Brendan statistics have shown that normal attendance at the
OMG is up approximately 66% since the opening of the exhibition, and so
due to its popularity it is being extended until July. Brendan
claims that Ned Kelly has become 'public property' and widespread interest
in his story is the main reason for the exhibition's success.
He personally was captured by the legend of Ned Kelly as a young boy.
His mother worked across the road from the OMG and so he spent much time
playing there, from this his interest in Ned grew, along with his familiarity
of the gaol itself.
After fielding some difficult questions from Marina Prior (such as; why
Ned is popular when he is a killer? and, why are people still so interested
in this story?), he openly declared his position as a 'Kelly Sympathiser'.
Brendan shared with listener's his fascination with the Kelly story and
how he sees the legend of Ned Kelly.
Brendan explained that he had just returned from one of the tours of Kelly
'sites' he helped organise. Three tours of sites relevant to the story
of Ned Kelly's life were organised as part of the exhibition. He talked
about how, for anyone interested in the Kelly story, it was valuable to
see these sites and soak up the atmosphere. The first tour was seemingly
enjoyed by all those who went including himself and a number of like-minded
people, (such as 15-year-old Webmaster Mike Lawson). Brendan said that
the emotion of being at the Kelly homestead site with other sympathiser's
moved some of the tour visitors to tears.
Brendan explained that a number of interesting Kelly artefacts may possibly
be surfacing over the coming weeks. One such article is a chest, which
Kelly enthusiast Ian Jones is purported to be close to locating. It is
believed to be secreted somewhere in the North East of Victoria and contains
various important Kelly items.
Part of the content of the chest is allegedly 'proof' that Ned married
his second cousin Kate Lloyd. (The theory of Ned marrying young Kate is
one long held by Ian Jones).
Bailup look forward to seeing the alleged marriage
Brendan also predicted the soon to be made public fascinating discovery
of a Kelly gang hideout, which apparently was an old mineshaft.
updates on the forthcoming 'discoveries' keep an eye out here on the news
2004 still waiting...
16/06/02 Kelly grave robber
fury - Further investigation
Our sources have indicated that
the story reported in the Herald Sun (2/6/02) is no more than an unexplained
retelling of an old story. The impression given in the article was that
the disturbing of gravesites was a recent event, however our investigations
indicate that it refers to alleged events of some years ago. Why this
story was published so recently is still unknown.
The alleged incidents do not appear to have been publicly reported at
the time, however they have been widely discussed in 'Kelly circles' for
some time. Apparently no eyewitnesses have come forward and no one has
been charged with any related offence.
A number of our sources believe they knew who allegedly
disturbed the graves, but are unwilling to say 'on record', as the information
they have is only hearsay. It has been suspected that 2 men are involved
in the grave tampering. Our sources explained that they live in the Northeast
of Victoria along with the alleged perpetrators, and are therefore understandably
unwilling to say anything that may cause problems or alienate them. One
of the graves alleged to have been tampered with was Joe Byrne's in Benalla
cemetery. The recent Herald Sun article stated that the men were searching
for a policeman's ring however this seems unlikely, as logic decrees that
stolen valuables would not have been buried with a bushranger's body.
One of our sources said that those involved, under the cover of night,
were simply seeking anything that could be souvenired from the graves,
such as and including, bones.
It is curious, that if there is apparently
enough evidence to print an article and insinuate a culprit - why no one
has yet been legally charged for a crime? If there has been a recurrence,
then a proper police investigation would surely be a better option than
a newspaper article providing little to no evidence?
At this stage it is unfortunately very difficult to determine what specifically
occurred, the identity of the culprits, or indeed even how much of the
stories are true. It is therefore inappropriate to infer an accusation
against a suspect, without evidence. (Particularly as anyone with knowledge
of the Kelly story would likely know whom the Kelly 'buff' in the article
Regardless of the reason for the article, it is unfortunate that the newspaper
has chosen to publish this story, as surely it must be an unpleasant and
unnecessary reminder of the events for the living relatives of those buried
in the gravesites allegedly disturbed. Our sources indicate this is just
a regurgitation of an old story, so for the sake of the relatives involved
let us hope this issue is not dwelled upon any further.
2/06/02 'Kelly grave robber
fury' (Derek Ballantine)
According to the Herald Sun
Grave robbers have
disturbed the remains of up to six Ned Kelly relatives and associates
in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. They are believed to have
dug up one body and probed other graves in a bizarre quest for bushranger
According to Brendan Pearse, organiser of Ned: The Exhibition,
the worst outrage was almost six years ago, when the Benalla grave of
Joseph Byrne was plundered. Since then the graves of Ellen King (nee Kelly),
Dan Kelly and Stephen Hart, all in the Great cemetery, have been tampered
with. It is believed that two or more men may be involved in grave tampering,
however the focus of the allegations in the article were seemingly on
one Kelly 'buff' in particular. In an exhibition newsletter, Mr Pearse
and partner Matt Shore wrote: "If it weren't for the fear
of having our backsides dragged through court, we would name the monster
responsible." The Sunday Herald Sun was unable to talk to a man
Mr Pearse accused of grave tampering.
Kelly descendants in northeast Victoria are renowned for guarding their
privacy. But a cousin, who did not want to be named, confirmed she had
taken legal advice in 1997 after learning that a researcher wanted to
sink probes into graves at Greta in a bid to prove Hart and Dan Kelly
were not in plots allotted to them. She directed a solicitor to write
a letter warning him off.
* Messrs Pearse and Shore have plans for a temporary exhibition in Beechworth,
followed by a permanent information centre in Kelly country.
This article referred to the tampering of gravesites
over 5 years ago, but unfortunately made no mention as to whether this
upsetting act has occurred again more recently. Bailup are therefore unsure
whether this alludes to a recent occurrence, or is simply the re-telling
of an old story by the newspaper?
Kelly's Beveridge Homestead
David Consiglio told Dave White yesterday that
despite knowing little about the house before buying it, they are nevertheless
committed to its restoration, and are very keen to see the 'right thing'
done with the Kelly house long term.
only is the generally dilapidated state of the house of concern, but due
to it's constantly being further damaged by vandals and thieves, there
is increasing urgency in seeing something done to protect and preserve
the house. On a regular basis the house is still being subjected to souvenir
hunters, who take bits and pieces of the building, along with senseless
vandalism and theft. Despite the surrounding 3-meter high fence, a miner's
couch (bed) was recently stolen from the front of the building. In another
recent incident, four young men cut through the wire and entered the property
in broad daylight. Such things continue to occur despite the fact that
there is now nothing of any value left inside the house, and as parts
of the building are unstable - it is quite dangerous to enter.
would like to see an analytical report done and subsequent proposal made
on the future of the house. It is their understanding that the local shire
is currently considering this option and they are hopeful that this will
eventuate. They expressed their open intention to comply with such a report.
I believe that considering the conciliatory disposition of Sharon and
David Consiglio, it would be difficult to accept that nothing further
is done to preserve this important part of Australia's heritage. At the
very least, a plan needs to be made and implemented to protect the Kelly
house in the short term. N.Cowie
14/06/02 Stateline ABC TV
Extract from Heritage Council report
Council is the protector of 2000 registered buildings. The retiring chairperson
Catherine Heggen, revealed to Stateline that the Council is in
crisis and on the verge of closing its register due to the State Government
providing insufficient funds. Among the 2000 buildings registered by the
Council and requiring financial assistance is Ned Kelly's boyhood home
at Beveridge Victoria.
David and Sharon Consiglio privately own the home. David was interviewed
by Stateline and expressed his concern at the amount of vandalism and
souvenir hunters that are gradually further destroying the house. He said
he believed that the house would not withstand much more.
Catherine Heggen said she believes there is potential for the house to
fall into such disrepair that it will be impossible to be rectified and
reestablished. She also said at this stage the Council does not have the
funds to do anything about it that, she added, was to her "enormous
regret". She said that the Heritage Council for a number of years
been allocated a very modest amount of money, in fact she said, "
have been starved of funds".
Technically the Council have the ability to say what the owners of the
buildings on their register can and can't do, but the Council have unfortunately
not got the 'financial muscle' to save any of them.
frame that Red Kelly built is still there, however the timber shingle
roof is now covered in tin and the split paling walls are now covered
in weatherboards. Subsequent owners have extended the building extensively.
Stateline interviewed Kelly historian Ian Jones. He said that compared
to the original the cottage was now unrecognisable. Gone is the dirt floor
with a drain that separated the living and kitchen areas. He said that
when Ned lived in there it was a "very primitive Irish Cottage,
built from Australian materials."
10 years ago the
Heritage Council paid for a fence and some minor stabilization work. A
year later $7,000.00 was provided for a conservation management plan that
was never implemented.
Stateline said that money was not the only problem; another problem is
how to handle the restoration works. The possibilities regarding restoration
include: simply preserving what is currently there, preserving the original
home and demolishing the additions, and stripping the house back completely
and reproducing it as it was when the Kelly family lived in it. Ian Jones
stressed the point that it is a problem that we may have no chance to
deal with in the future, if something isn't done immediately to preserve
the house as it is.
There is also the
question of who benefits from public monies spent on the property. The
Consiglio's are willing to negotiate a management plan and admit the public,
but have no intention of parting with the property. Catherine Heggen said
that funding was only part of the equation and that the future of the
home should be considered. Along with determining some benefit to the
tax payer for what would be the significant financial contribution that
may be required. These things need to be equated and balanced up.
Mary Delahunty declined an invitation to appear in Stateline's story,
but a spokesperson said that the department would reassess budgetary issues
when a new chair is appointed to the Council next month.
Stateline will be repeated on the ABC TV on Saturday
the 22nd June and 12 noon.
4/06/02 'Last stand for Ned's
boyhood home' (Lawrie Francis)
According to The Age
Time is running out
for an important piece of Australian popular history. The house John Kelly
built in 1859 in Beveridge - and where Ned, born in 1855, was thought
to have lived until the age of nine, is crumbling, and no one in authority
seems to care.
There is no signage to indicate the houses history, just a 'keep out'
sign that has not worked. Vandals are regular visitors.
The land and cottage, 40 kms from Melbourne, are privately owned. Bought
3 years ago by David and Sharon Consiglio. The owners have spent
some money and effort on basic repair and maintenance, but any meaningful
restoration would take far more money than they could afford to spend.
The house in in a bad state of disrepair both inside and out. In 1996
Heritage Victoria reported that a cost estimate for "basic"
restoration and conservation would be $200,000. Larger scale development
could exceed $1 million.
The National Trust and Heritage Victoria say the house is historically
Garry Cecil, CE of Mitchell Shire, has invited the Consiglios to contact
the council about a future of the house. Two years ago author Peter Carey
publicly called on the authorities to save the house, but nothing was
Sharon Consiglio was quoted as saying "We're happy to do anything
within our means to help, but it needs more than we can provide ... I
would hate to see the place disappear and another important part of the
Kelly story simply pass into history."
I am delighted to see this topic receiving press
attention. The house is certainly one of this country's most significant
historical sites, and requires urgent attention. Thanks to the private
owners Sharon and David Consiglio
for their commitment to preserving this important part of Kelly history.
My thanks to the various sources who brought to my attention
many of the above articles and information, particularly D. White, A.
Kent, L. Cowie and S. Hollingsworth.
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