You would think that the whole story ended there.
Don’t be too quick!
The story starts here; really!
But now that I think of it those ink-mongers got started BEFORE I was hung. Some questioned my sister Kate’s honor – – – and others did not.
Things got really quiet for ten or fifteen years. The bushrangers numbers fell precipitously and the Irish-Australians still were not receiving any respect.
A few people took a stab at writing books about me; some succeeded and some did not.
John Bradshaw applied for copyrights on my story.
There were at least 30 books written about me. See what I mean about the ink-mongers. They continue to make money off my bones.
These books seem to pop up in specific eras. I have no idea why except for 1929 and early in the 2000’s. We will talk about those two eras a little later.
See about half way down the following book list? There are two books published in the same year with the same title by different authors and publishers.
THE LAST OF THE BUSHRANGERS
An account of the capture of the Kelly Gang
Francis Augustus Hare
First published 1894 by Hurst & Blackett
THE INNER HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG
J J Kenneally
First published 1929 by J Roy Stevens Printer
NED KELLY: AUSTRALIA SON
First published 1948
First published 1970 by F W Cheshire Publishing
Frank Clune and Walter Stackpool
First published 1970 by Angus & Robertson
KELLY COUNTRY SKETCH BOOK
Brian Carroll and Jack Montgomery
First published 1972 by Rigby
After a century of acrimony
John Meredith and Bill Scott
First published 1980 by Landsdowne Press
So when I say that the REAL story started after my death these books are the reason why.
Oh – – – I don’t mean to imply that these stories are real; most of them are full of buzzard bait.
What I trying to say is that the story became the story. It is feeding on itself.
Look, someone even wrote a book about my mother.
A woman of spirit
First published August 2012 by Network Creative Services
And I haven’t even scratched the surface regarding about the barrels and barrels of ink used in an attempt to write “the true story of – – – “ – – – well you can add your own words.
THEN THERE WERE THE MOVIES. DAMN CELLULOSE-MONGERS!
1906 The Story Of The Kelly Gang
Producers: John Tait, Nevin Tait, Millard Johnson and William Gibson
Director: Charles Tait
Film Location: Mitcham, Victoria
Running Time: 60 minutes (approximately)
1920 The Kelly Gang
Director: Harry Southwell
Cast: Godfrey Cass … Ned Kelly
1923 When The Kellys Were Out
Writer: Harry Southwell
Producer: Harry Southwell
Director: Harry Southwell
Photography: Tasman Higgins
Godfrey Cass … Ned Kelly
Charles Villiers … Dan Kelly
William Ellison … Steve Hart
Allan Douglas … Joe Byrne
Rose Rooney … Kate Kelly
Rita Aslin … Ellen Kelly
Harry Southwell … Aaron Sherritt
1934 When The Kellys Rode
Producer: Harry Southwell
Studio: British Empire Films
Production Company: Imperial Feature Films
Hay Simpson … Ned Kelly
1951 The Glenrowan Affair
Writter: Rupert Kathner
Producer: Rupert Kathner
Director: Rupert Kathner
Running Time: 66 minutes
Associate Producer: Alma Brooks
Photographer (interior): Harry Malcolm
Photographer (exterior): Rupert Kathner
Editor: Alex Ezard
Assistant Director: Bill Crow
Narrator: Charles “Bud” Tingwell
Bob Chitty … Ned Kelly
Ben Crowe … Dan Kelly
Larry Crowhurst … Joe Byrne
Bill Crowe … Steve Hart
Rupert Kathner … Aaron Sherritt
Alma King … Kate Kelly
1960 Stringybark Massacre
SORRY! They have no pictures from this old movie – – –
“AVANTE-GUARD” you know.
Director: Gary Shead
Garry Shead’s avante-guard filmmaking techniques result in a stylish re-creation of the murder of three police officers at Stringybark, Victoria by Australian bush outlaw, Ned Kelly.
1960 Ned Kelly
ANOTHER ONE WITHOUT PICTURES? WHAT GOES?
Director: Tim Burstall
This superbly crafted short film explores the legend of Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, through the modernist paintings of internationally acclaimed Australian artist Sidney Nolan and an accompanying bush ballad.
1970 Ned Kelly
Director: Tony Richardson
Writers: Tony Richardson and Ian Jones
Running Time: 103 minutes
Studio: United Artists
Producer: Neil Hartley
Cinematography: Gerry Fisher
Editing: Charles Rees
Composer: Shel Silverstein
Production Design: Jocelyn Herbert
Art Direction: Andrew Sanders
Costume Design: Jocelyn Herbert
Mick Jagger … Ned Kelly
Allen Bickford … Dan Kelly
Geoff Gilmour … Steve Hart
Mark McManus … Joe Byrne
Serge Lazareff … Wild Wright
Peter Sumner … Tom Lloyd
Ken Shorter … Aaron Sherritt James Elliott … Pat O’Donnell
Clarissa Kaye … Ellen Kelly
Diane Craig … Maggie Kelly
Sue Lloyd … Kate Kelly
MICK JAGGER? REALLY? SERIOUSLY! THEY ARE KIDDING; AREN’T THEY?
1993 Reckless Kelly
Director: Yahoo Serious
Producer: Warwick Ross
Executive Producer: Graham Burke
Co-Producer: Lulu Serious
Running Time: 81 minutes
Screenwriters: Yahoo Serious, Warwick Ross, Lulu Serious, David Roach
Production Company: Larrikin Films, Serious Entertainment, Warner Brothers
Ned Kelly … Yahoo Serious
Robin Banks … Melora Hardin
Major Wib … Alexei Sayle
Sir John … Hugo Weaving
Mrs Delance … Kathleen Freeman
Mr Delance … John Pinette
Dan Kelly … Bob Maza
Ernie The Fan … Martin Ferrero
Yahoo Serious’ satirical take on the Australian bushranger Ned Kelly
2003 Ned Kelly
Production Companies: WTA / Working Title Films, The Woss Group, Endymion Films
Release date: 27 March 2003
Ned Kelly … Heath Ledger
Joe Byrne … Orlando Bloom
Francis Hare … Geoffrey Rush
Julia Cook … Naomi Watts
Dan Kelly … Laurence Kinlan
Steve Hart … Philip Barantini
Aaron Sherritt … Joel Edgerton
Alex Fitzpatrick … Kiri Paramore
Kate Kelly … Kerry Condon
Grace Kelly … Emily Browning
Ellen Kelly … Kris McQuade
WELL I HOPE TO HELL HEATH DID AS GOOD A JOB ON ME AS HE DID ON “THE JOKER” IN “THE BLACK KNIGHT.” HE PLAYED A GOOD PSYCHO.
(GOD REST HIS SOUL).
Director: Abe Forsythe
Abe Forsythe … Ned Kelly
Nick Flint … Dan Hughes
Damon Herriman … Steve Hart
Josef Ber … Joe Byrne
So there you have it. The saga of the REAL STORY began.
Remember where they hanged me? Yep; the Melbourne Goal (that word means Jail to you people from New York City).
Well the books and movies carried my story forward until 1929. That is when it started taking a twist.
It seems as though some new construction was needed at the Old Melbourne Goal, jail or whatever. While they were digging around they found several of us duly executed fellows. They seemed to think that I was among them. That sure got the imaginations working overtime. It had been a while since Kellymania had been invoked.
I had been staying there for the last 49 years. You would think that they would respect a man’s castle. But no. They moved me to Pentridge Prison.
It was not that far away but it wasn’t home. I missed the sounds; the trap doors dropping, the ropes snapping, it made Friday mornings memorable. That is when they hung the new inmates.
But things do not always go as planned. Our graves were opened, the gawkers gawked, and neighborhood boys scrambled to get a souvenir. I was beside myself and lost my head.
No, I really mean it, I think that is when I lost my head. Some young fellow probably had it tucked beneath his arm as scrimmaged with the guards; – – – if there were any.
Well things were not much better at Pentridge Prison. Nobody knew where we were located. Maps said one thing – – – excavations another. New technologies allowed the archaeologists to discover another new mass grave.
They had finally found me! They checked my DNA. And then they were ecstatic over what they called a “mitochondrial match.”
Then, surprisingly, some guy walks in to the authorities with a head he claimed was mine. It wasn’t really a head. It was just a skull. However the DNA was not a match.
If only I could have read Rudyard Kiplings poem “IF.” He mentioned me in it:
“IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,”
then maybe, just maybe, I could catch the eye of some young lady here at VIFM.
One the other hand I am not sure I would really like that. Most of them are just a bag of bones.
All that work was done by the VIFM. You remember who those guys were – – – don’t you?
Right! The Victoria Institute of Forensic Medicine.
So now the stories start recreating themselves all over again.
More books, more movies, magazines, radio shows, telly-news; all for what good purpose?
Nothing more than to make me look better than I really was – – – or worse.
Thank God somebody put together the stories about the Irish-Australians before it became any more twisted.
A link to Irish-Australians “NOT JUST NED”
But yet the story continued. Don’t believe me? Wait till you see what comes next.