Ned Kelly: The Genesis of a National Hero

Graham Seal explores the life and legend of Ned Kelly.

Portrait of Ned Kelly taken by the Police Photographer at Pentridge after Ned's transfer from the Beechworth Gaol in 1873 State Library of Victoria In 1980, Australia celebrated the century-old death of a bank robber and murderer. Edward Kelly, hanged in Melbourne gaol on November 11th, 1880, came at the end of a long tradition of Australian bushrangers who attained the status of folk hero. But he was the only one who transcended such localised fame to become Australia's sole national hero. How a brawling Irish-Australian brat grew into an angry young man, died, and was transformed into a nation's defining symbol, can only be understood by reference to events both before and after Ned Kelly's brief life.

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