Ned Kelly
Updated December 13, 2004

Ned Kelly books

Ned Kelly has inspired numerous books and continues to do so. I will review and keep you updated with any new or re-released Kelly books.

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What they said about Ned: Looking at the legend of Ned Kelly through books
by Brian McDonald
Booklet RRP ebay $55 (plus postage), or contact Brian directly $49 (pp)

' "Not another book on Kelly!" You've heard that expression ... well this book explains why.'


Kellyana expert Brain McDonald has compiled the most comprehensive study of books, magazines, articles and journals on Ned Kelly yet released. He specifies that this publication is “for the use of librarians, researchers and collectors” and it certainly serves its purpose well, but also manages to offer more than simply a bibliography on Kelly literature.

There is a worthwhile Foreword by Brian, followed by a brief but very comprehensive précis of the history of writings on Kelly, noting rare but important early works, as well as a brief look at films, and art. The main body of the publication is an Annotated Bibliography, which is quite remarkable. It includes nearly 800 listings of publications from before Ned’s execution to current works, and all those in between. The book includes numerous colour images of various works, and concludes with an excellent end note on Researching Kelly.

General Comments
The author’s two main passions (books and the Kelly outbreak), have been combined into a wonderful and handy reference book. Despite Brain’s modesty, it is obvious that he is an authority who knows his disciplines well. He has extensively researched and recorded a comprehensive array of literature on Kellyana, both mainstream and obscure. The resulting sizeable mass of data has been methodically collated in this clear and efficient 102 page presentation. Brian’s annotations for each listing are concise, impartial, and helpful.

What they said about Ned’ serves a functional bibliographical purpose, but also shows the progression of Kelly research and demonstrates the staggering number of authors that have been inspired to write about Ned Kelly over the years. By presenting in this format all that has been written about our ironclad bushranger since his lifetime, this work illustrates why Ned has become such an enduring national icon. It also, inadvertently, puts both individual and modern works on Kelly into perspective, and, shows that, although already extensive, the list of Kelly authors is one that is only likely to grow. It demonstrates the fact that since even before Ned’s death Kelly literature has been a good seller, and therefore there will probably always be a market for Kellyana. Each work, past, present, and future, becomes another piece in the Kelly puzzle, and which, when placed together, create a fuller image of the man and legend. This publication shows that Kellyana is never likely to be completed and that, as Brian states, “Ned will be here for prosperity”.

There is no question that this publication does the job it sets out to do. It is a highly useful and comprehensive source book for librarians, researchers and collectors, but potentially it is also useful for anyone with a serious interest in the Kelly legend.
'What they said about Ned' is highly recommended.

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