at a glance:
- John Kelly (ex-convict)
and Ellen Quinn (free immigrant) marry in St Francis Catholic Church,
- Edward (Ned) Kelly born.
It is believed he was born near the township of Beveridge, in Victoria,
Note: the precise date of
Ned's birth is actually unknown by historians, but evidence suggests
it is likely to have been somewhere between the end of 1854 and mid
1855. (The official record of John Kelly's death included information
supplied by Ned, who indicated he was born about June 1855).
- Joseph (Joe) Byrne born
near Beechworth, in Victoria, Australia.
- Steven (Steve) Hart born
near Wangaratta, in Victoria, Australia.
- Daniel (Dan) Kelly born
near Beveridge, in Victoria, Australia.
- Kelly family moved to Avenel,
Victoria. Ned attended school, where he learned to read and write.
- Outlaws Ben Hall and John
Gilbert shot dead by police.
- Ned Kelly (aged ~11) saved
Richard (Dick) Shelton from drowning in Hughes Creek, Avenel, at considerable
risk to his own life. (Ned was formally thanked by the Shelton family
with a green silk sash with gold fringe, which he later wore under his
armour at the Siege of Glenrowan.)
- John (Red) Kelly died in
December. (A young Ned, aged only 11, reported his father's death and
signed the official death registration.)
- The widowed Ellen moved
with her 7 children to north-east Victoria, to be near her relatives.
Before long she chose to become a 'selector', and contracted around
80 acres of uncultivated farmland from the government at Eleven Mile
Creek, (near the small township of Greta).
- Ex-convict and bushranger
Henry Johnstone, alias 'Harry Power', escaped from prison.
- Ned was arrested
for the alleged robbery and assault of a Chinese traveler, Ah Fook.
He was held for 10 days, however after witness testimony the case was
- Ned apprenticed to bushranger
Harry Power, who probably taught him effective survival techniques for
- Ned arrested on
suspicion of being Power's accomplice. Police detained Ned for nearly
2 months, but the case against him was dismissed for 'lack of evidence'.
- Harry Power caught and
- 'Babington letter'. It
was incorrectly rumoured in the district that Ned had turned Harry Power
in to the police and Ned was therefore treated with hostility. (Harry
was well liked and police informants were generally ostracized.) However
the informant was in fact Ned's uncle, Jack Lloyd. Ned wrote a letter
to police Sergeant Babington pleading for assistance (this letter survives
- Conviction. Ned
(aged 15) was convicted of 'assault' and 'indecent behavior' and sentenced
to 3 months gaol for each offence, as well as being bound to keep the
peace for 12 months, (he was freed on remission, 5 weeks early, in March
- Conviction. Shortly
after Ned was released from gaol he was arrested and charged with horse
theft. However when it was shown Ned had been in gaol at the time the
horse had disappeared, the charge was amended and he was instead convicted
of 'receiving a stolen horse'. Ned claimed he did not know the horse
was stolen when he rode it, and that he believed the horse belonged
to acquaintance Isaiah 'Wild' Wright. Nevertheless he was convicted
and sentenced to 3 years hard labour. In contrast Wild Wright was convicted
of 'illegally using a horse' and thus received the lesser sentence of
18 months for the actual theft.
- Dan (aged 10) and James
(aged 12) Kelly arrested for illegal use of a horse. Charges dismissed.
- James Kelly (aged 14) was
arrested for stock theft and sentenced to 5 years in gaol, serving 4,
(released on remission).
- February - Ned (pictured
right) was freed early from Pentridge Goal and returned to Eleven
Mile Creek. The next 3 years were without criminal conviction and he
spent them doing 'honest' labour, (e.g. working as a tree-feller in
- February - Ellen Kelly
married an American named George King.
- Ned reputedly fought and
won a 20 round bare-knuckled boxing match with 'Wild' Wright.
- Warrant issued for Ned's
arrest on a charge of horse theft. The case was dismissed.
- Joe Byrne and Aaron Sherritt
were imprisoned for 6 months for killing a sheep they did not own.
- Steve Hart convicted of
illegal use of a horse, 4 months gaol.
- Dan charged with stealing
a saddle. (The case was heard and dismissed in February 1877.)
- Ned operated a stock theft
racquet, along with his stepfather, George King, and others, including
Joe Byrne and Aaron Sherritt, which ran successfully until early 1878.
- Formation, by Greta district
landowners, of the 'Stock Protection Society'. The Society offered rewards
for information leading to the arrest and conviction of stock thieves.
- (January) Aaron Sherritt
fined for 'cruelly torturing a horse'.
- (February) Joe Byrne and
Aaron Sherritt charged with beating a Chinese market gardener who had
objected to their swimming in his irrigation dam. Joe found not guilty,
Aaron found guilty of 'assault committed in self-defense', both were
- (June) James Kelly arrested
and convicted of horse theft, and released in late 1879. (It was this
gaol sentence that undoubtedly prevented him from becoming part of the
- (July) Steve Hart arrested
and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for 'illegal use of a horse'.
- (September) Ned arrested
for drunkenness. Afterward he maintained he was not drunk but had been
drugged. When four policemen were escorting him to the courthouse, Constable
Fitzpatrick attempted to handcuff him and Ned broke free and ran into
a boot-maker's shop. There was a scuffle against 5 men, but they were
unable to overpower Ned. During the scuffle Constable Lonigan 'black-balled'
Ned (grabbed him by his testes), and legend has it that Ned, in pain
and anger, yelled out 'If I ever shoot a man, Lonigan, it'll be you!"
(By coincidence, Lonigan was one of 3 policemen later shot by Ned at
Stringybark Creek). Ned surrendered to a Justice of the Peace named
McInnes. He was fined.
- (October) Dan Kelly tried
and imprisoned for 3 months for 'causing willful damage to property'
- The Kelly Outbreak
Alexander Fitzpatrick injured (on the 15th) at
the Kelly homestead attempting to arrest Dan Kelly for horse theft without
a warrant. (A warrant had been issued and notice published in the Police
- Ned and Dan retreated to
bush land in the Wombat Ranges in Victoria and began panning for gold
and illegally distilling liquor.
- Warrants issued for the
arrests of Ned, Dan and Ellen Kelly, as well as Bill Skillion and neighbour
Brickey Williamson, for 'attempted murder' of police constable Fitzpatrick.
Ellen, Skillion and Williamson arrested. £100 reward offered for
Ned and Dan.
- Ellen Kelly tried and sentenced
by Sir Redmond Barry to 3 years gaol (hard labour) for the attempted
murder of Constable Fitzpatrick. Williamson and Skillion were also convicted
for aiding and abetting attempted murder and both received sentences
of 6 years gaol (hard labour).
Creek Gunfight. 26th - 'Birth'
of the Kelly Gang after the shooting deaths of 3 police officers:
Sgt Kennedy, Constables Lonigan and Scanlon. The police party of four
was searching for Ned and Dan in the Wombat Ranges to arrest them for
the attempted murder of Fitzpatrick. Police Constable McIntyre was the
only member of the party to escape physically unharmed. Those involved
were Ned and Dan Kelly and their friends, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart.
- Government issued notification of a reward of £800 for the arrest
and conviction of the 'Kelly gang', (at £200 each).
- Outlawed. Kelly
gang members were legally declared 'Outlaws'
under the Felons' Apprehension Act of parliament. Reward was increased
at this time to £2,000, (at £500 for each offender), and
police or civilians could legally shoot the gang members on sight.
Robbery. The 'Kelly Gang' took hostages at the Faithfull's
Creek homestead then successfully robbed the nearby Euroa Bank in north-east
Victoria. The gang managed to steal £2,260.
- 'Cameron' letter posted.
- Reward published in Government
Gazette at £2,500 total.
- Kelly friends and 'sympathisers'
arrested and held without charge for up to 3 months under mere 'suspicion'
of assisting the gang evade police. This action caused a groundswell
of support for the gang and resentment of the government's misuse of
- The 'Kelly Gang' held up the town of Jerilderie and robbed
the Jerilderie Bank of New South Wales, stealing £2,414. Ned intended
to have the 'Jerilderie letter' published at this time, but the local
printer escaped. The letter was left in the town for publication but
confiscated by police and consequently not published, however some excerpts
were printed in Melbourne newspapers.
- NSW issue reward totaling
£4,000, (or £1,000 for each outlaw). The Victorian Government
increased its reward to match. With the inclusion of the NSW reward
the combined total increased to £8,000.00, (or £2,000.00
per outlaw), which was a large fortune in Victorian times. The gang
nevertheless managed to evade capture for 16 more months.
- Letter written by Ned posted
to Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of N.S.W.
- Nothing public was heard
from the gang after this time until June the following year.
- Destruction of the 'Kelly Gang'
- 'Notice of Withdrawal of
Reward' posted by Government. It stated that after 20th July 1880 the
Government would "absolutely cancel and withdraw the offer for
- Prorogation of winter parliamentary session resulting in the expiry
of the Felons' Apprehension Act 612. Note: The
gang's outlaw status is no longer in effect after the prorogation.
- Double agent Aaron
Sherritt shot and killed, near the town of Beechworth, by Joe
Byrne, who was accompanied by Dan Kelly. (Aaron was Joe's boyhood
friend and trusted by the gang during most of their outlawry, but
the gang was eventually convinced he had turned traitor.)
Siege 26th - 28th
26th - 27th
Ned and Steve take hostages, hold up the Glenrowan Inn, and instruct
that part of the railway line at Glenrowan be torn up, all as part of
a plan to engage police in a direct battle, beginning with the intended
derailment of the police special train. Joe and Dan arrive in Glenrowan
- Released hostage, Thomas Curnow, forewarned the train driver and the
train was halted safely, with no one injured. Escaped hostage, Constable
Bracken, directed the newly arrived police to the Glenrowan Inn. The
police then stormed the Inn and a gunfight began. The gang wore 'home-made'
armour made of farming plough shares for defense against police gunfire.
Despite the protective abilities of the armour, Ned and Joe were injured
by gunshot in the arms and legs.
Byrne - shot and killed during the siege. His body
was taken to Benalla and strung up (on the door of the police lock-up)
as a curiosity for photographers and spectators. It was later autopsied.
(Confirming the cause of death as blood loss from gunshot wound to
the femoral artery.) His body was not claimed by his family, and so
was buried by police in an unmarked grave in Benalla.
captured - Ned was shot and badly injured but escaped
the inn, collapsing nearby due to loss of blood. In the dawn light,
weak and in pain, still wearing the armour, he returned to the inn
and engaged a back line of police in a solitary gunfight. His attempt
to rescue his brother Dan and Steve Hart later became known as his
famous 'last stand'. Ned was shot in the legs and captured.
Ned, in critical condition, was held in custody. He had confession
with a priest and doctors treated his injuries. Doctor Nicholson took
Ned's sash at this time. (The sash survived. It remained in the possession
of the Nicholson family until 1973, and is now in the care of the
Benalla District Historical Society.) Ned taken to Benalla.
- The last of the hostages
Kelly and Steve Hart - both
died inside the inn. Their cause of death undetermined, but presumed
to be suicide.
of the deaths of the remaining gang members, and wanting to avoid
having to storm the inn and risk loss of life, police set fire to
the building. Catholic priest, Dean Gibney, bravely entered the burning
hotel in an attempt to get the gang to surrender. He reported three
dead bodies fitting the descriptions of Joe, Dan and Steve. Unlike
Joe's body, which was recovered before destroyed by flames, Steve
and Dan's bodies were unable to be extracted and were burned beyond
recognition. They were later given to the Kelly and Hart families
and buried in Greta cemetery. No autopsies were performed.
- All four of the gang's sets of armour were taken into the possession
of various members of the police force.
- Ned was transferred from the Benalla lock-up to Melbourne Gaol.
- Ned's arraignment held in Melbourne Gaol kitchen. Constable McIntyre
identified Ned as being one of the men involved in the Stringybark Creek
shootings. Ned was remanded.
- 11th - Ned's preliminary hearing held in Beechworth
Courthouse. Ned was committed to stand trial for Willful Murder.
- Ned transferred again to Melbourne Gaol.
& 29th - Ned's
Trial - Although being charged with a capital crime,
Ned's trial (held in the Melbourne Supreme Court) was rushed, taking
a mere 2 days. He was convicted of the willful murder of Constable Thomas
Lonigan and sentenced to execution by hanging. Ned did not deny the
killing, but maintained he shot Lonigan in self-defense. The judge presiding
was Sir Redmond Barry. Ned and Judge Barry had their famous verbal clash,
ending with Barry declaring the sentence of death on Ned, and Ned responding
to the challenge characteristically, saying "I will go a little
further than that, and say I will see you there where I go."
- Ned Kelly hanged
- Public meeting held at
the Hippodrome in Melbourne, seeking that the life of Ned Kelly be spared.
Petition for reprieve organised and presented to the Governor. Over
30,000 signatures were collected on the petition.
- Ned dictated a number of
letters addressed to the Governor as a last attempt to tell his own
version of events, and also to appeal for the release of his mother
and ask that his body be buried in consecrated ground. (Neither request
- At Ned's request, his photographic portrait was taken. He was granted
farewell interviews with family members, including Ellen, Jim, Kate
and Grace Kelly, and cousins Kate and Tom Lloyd. Ellen's parting words
to Ned were reported to be "Mind
you die like a Kelly".
executed (by hanging) at the Melbourne Gaol, aged 25
years. His death was witnessed by numerous press agents, and his last
words were reported variously as "Ah well, I suppose" and
"Such is Life". He was said to have died bravely.
- Evening stage show at the Apollo Theatre involving Kate and Jim Kelly
and Ned's ex-girlfriend, Ettie
- 12 days after Ned's execution, the judge who had sentenced Ned to
death himself died of natural causes.
- Ellen (Kelly) King released
from the Melbourne Gaol in February.
Commission into the Kelly Outbreak - A large number of
witnesses were interviewed and required to testify under oath throughout
the extensive enquiry into the reasons for the Kelly outbreak, the actions
of the gang, and the police conduct in the period leading up to and
during the gang's outlawry. The Commission took 18 months and its findings
(released and published in 1881) put many of the police involved in
the Kelly hunt in a less than positive light, yet neither did it excuse
or sanction the actions of the Kelly Gang. As a result of the Commission
a number of members of the Victorian police, including senior staff,
were reprimanded, demoted, or dismissed.
- First full-length feature
film ever produced in the world released. It was about the Kelly gang,
entitled 'The Story Of The Kelly Gang'. (No copy is known to have survived
For more Kelly 'Quick' Facts:
General historical overview
and Glossary - CLICK
Personal details and descriptions of the Kelly gang members - CLICK
Carroll, Brian 'Ned Kelly Bushranger' Landsdowne Press
Dean, Gary & Balcarek, Dagmar 'Ned and the others' Glen Rowan Cobb
& Co.Pty.Ltd. 1995
Jones, G. 'Ned Kelly the larrikin years' Charquin Hill Publishing 1990
Jones, I 'Fatal Friendship' Lothian 2003
Jones, I. 'A Short Life' Lothian 1995, 2003
Kelson, B. & McQuilton, J. University of Queensland Press 2001
Malony, John 'I am Ned Kelly' Penguin Books 1980
McMenomy, Keith 'Ned Kelly The Authentic Illustrated Story' Currey O'Neil
Ross Pty Ltd 1984, 2001
McQuilton, John 'The Kelly Outbreak 1878-1880' Melbourne University
Meredith, John & Scott, Bill 'Ned Kelly After a Century of Acrimony'
Landsdowne Press 1980
Nunn, Wannan & Prior 'A Pictorial History of Bushrangers' Landsdowne
Seal, Graham 'Tell em I died game, Legend of Ned Kelly' Hyland House
The Royal Commission into the Kelly Outbreak 1881
and written by N. Cowie
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