Ned Kelly
Updated November 23, 2003

Ned Kelly books

In the forth-coming months a number of Kelly books are set to be released or re-released. We will be doing reviews and keeping you updated as to when the books hit the stands. For a extensive list of reviews, we recommend ironoutlaw.

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'Ned Kelly The Last Stand Written and illustrated by an eyewitness'
Thomas Carrington
Edited and introduced by Ian Jones
Lothian Books (paper back) RRP$19.95

Ned Kelly Last StandREVIEW (This is too short to be categorized as a book, so for the purpose of this review shall be referred to as a booklet.)

"No extra rifles were taken up in the special train, and the four reporters on the platform were quite at the mercy of any of the outlaws or their pals."

The booklet includes: press artist Thomas Carrington's vivid sketches covering the Glenrowan siege; some of his politically motivated satirical illustrations published during the Kelly outbreak, and Carrington's written eyewitness account of the siege. Kelly historian, Ian Jones, has edited Carrington's originally published account (the edits are unfortunately not delineated); and there is an 'Introduction' and 'Afterword' by Ian.

Carrington's account of his experience of the Glenrowan siege is interesting and certainly a worthwhile read. His observations were for the most part impartial, and, fortuitously, he witnessed and therefore was able to report most aspects of the siege, (from the train journey from Melbourne with police, to just after the Inn was burned). The most interesting incidents in the siege are reported, including a description of Ned emerging through the dawn mist to make his famous last stand, "…It was the most extraordinary sight I ever saw or read of in my life, and I felt fairly spell-bound with wonder, and I could not stir or speak." Carrington witnessed Ned's capture and interviewed him afterward, providing a wonderfully detailed description of him, "…jet black hair, inclined to curl; reddish beard and moustache…altogether a fine figure of a man, the only bad part about his face being his mouth, which is a cruel and wicked one." Amongst other interesting facets of the siege, he had a clear view of the bodies of Dan and Steve in the Inn before they were consumed by flames, "…I feel perfectly certain that they were dead long before the house was fired…I am sure that Hart and Dan Kelly did not shoot themselves. When the 25 prisoners left the inn they told us the outlaws were still alive…"

Included in the booklet's introduction by Ian, is a brief biography on Carrington. He appeared to be an interesting person who, surprisingly, didn't seem to be particularly fascinated by Ned Kelly per se - except to use him as a tool in his witty satirical work. Apart from editing Carrington's text, Ian has also provided some explanatory notes (in brackets) throughout, which would certainly be useful for those not familiar with the details of the siege, and helpful notes on all of Carrington's sketches.

Ian's fans will not be disappointed by this latest effort, as the introduction and afterword in the booklet are written in Ian's trademark storytelling style and flare for the dramatic. "Carrington was helping purge the demon from all their imaginations…Carrington's pencil became the stake through the vampire's heart."

Those with an average interest in the Kelly story may well be dissuaded by the 20 dollar price point for just 30 pages of sketches and text, nevertheless the booklet is no doubt a must for Kellyana collectors, or those with a particular interest in the siege.

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