Welcome to Ned Kelly Part Two!
We left our heroes (?) in Stringybark Creek, just after murdering a small handful of policeman. Ned’s fame would absolutely skyrocket from this act, and then, as now, public opinion was divided – did Ned act in self-defence? Or was he nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer?
With the gang now outlawed, they were forced to spend most of their time isolated in the Victorian bush, relying on a network of supporters to get by. Hundreds of police were out scouring the countryside for the Kellys. As time wore on the police grew more and more desperate, and decided to make the very act of being a known associate of the Kelly gang a crime. With their mates locked up, the gang wanted to help them out, but even in the 1800s legal fees were expensive. What are four blokes to do but start robbing banks? How different could it really be from horse stealing, anyway?
In this episode, we cover Ned’s life after the murders to the end of his short but infamous life. This is all the good shit – the bank robberies, the boozing, the general larrikinism. If you’re not a fan of Ned by the end of this episode, maybe you’ll at least admire his pizazz.
After the murders at Stringybark Creek, Ned and co set off to rob some banks, cause some mischief, and just generally act the way folk heroes do. Bank robberies in Euroa and Jerilderie became the stuff of legend, not just for the boldness of the crimes, but for the way their hostages were treated – more often than not, they were thanked for their trouble with a few beers and a slice of the profits. Ned and the gang gained a reputation for being courteous, friendly, and honourable even while they were committing crimes – but they’d still shoot anyone who betrayed them.
The fun couldn’t last forever, though. Still fuming with rage over the wrongful imprisonment of his mother and wanting to make a statement the police couldn’t ignore, Ned and the gang schemed to blow up a train full of police officers en route from Benalla. Things didn’t go according to plan, and the gang ended up in a days-long siege with police at Glenrowan, from which none of them, in one way or another, would survive.
Please read Peter Fitzsimmon’s Ned Kelly. It’s a banger.https://www.penguin.com.au/books/ned-kelly-9780857988140
To read a biography of Ned’s short but busy life, go here http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/kelly-edward-ned-3933
A very interactive and fun website about Ol Ned can be found here https://www.ironoutlaw.com/
If you’re not a fan of Ned Kelly you can have your worldview supported by reading this salty Herald Sun article https://www.heraldsun.com.au/rendezview/ned-kelly-was-a-failed-terrorist-not-a-folk-hero/news-story/5b80433f048c89e6836898b255f44fb0