Ned Kelly
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Edward Kelly (1854 - 1880)

Edward (Ned) Kelly
Born in Beveridge, Colony of Victoriamap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
Died in Melbourne, Victoria, Australiamap
Profile last modified | Created 30 Dec 2013 | Last significant change: 29 Aug 2020
00:50: Jenny (Marthick) Gray edited the Biography and Death Place for Edward Kelly (1854-1880). [Thank Jenny for this]
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Australian 1788
Ned Kelly is managed by the Australia Project.
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Wikitree Australian Bushrangers
The Kelly Gang and Kelly Family
Cameron Letter
Jerilderie Letter: The Gang tell their story
Parkes Letter
The remains of Ned Kelly identified: youtube
"Poor Ned Kelly": Redgum: youtube
YouTube - "Ned Kelly was a Gentleman" by Slim Dusty
"Ned Kelly": Johnny Cash: youtube
"The Story of The Kelly Gang" 1906 Directed by Charles Tait
Hugh Bracken was a policeman who took part in the battle at Glenrowan
William Culp and his sons are reputed to have made Ned Kelly's armour.

Edward (Ned) Kelly

Edward "Ned" Kelly was an Australian bushranger. Some might consider him to be nothing but a murderous outlaw, while others think of him as a folk hero and Australia's Robin Hood — a symbol of Irish-Australian defiance against British colonial authorities. Many Australians grew up hearing stories of Ned, the Kelly Gang, and their famous last stand at the Glenrowan Inn.


Ned Kelly was an Australian Bushranger
This profile won Profile of the Week the Fourth week of March, 2014..
This profile is part of the Kelly Name Study.
Notables Project
Ned Kelly is Notable.

The early years

The birthdate of Edward "Ned" Kelly is not known although it is believed to have been about December 1854 [1] at Beveridge, Victoria, the eldest son of John (Red) Kelly and his wife Ellen Quinn. John Kelly had been transported to Australia for stealing two pigs and was sentenced to seven years' transportation. John Kelly was transported to Australia on the PRINCE REGENT II which had carried 181 male convicts to Hobart with three deaths en-route. She departed Dublin on the 7th of August 1841 and arrived at Hobart on the 2nd of January 1842. In 1848 John Kelly went to the Port Phillip District, where on 18 November 1850 he married Ellen, daughter of James and Mary Quinn. They had eight children.


John and Ellen Kelly bought and sold a number of farms around Beveridge. In 1864 John Kelly sold his farm for £80 and headed further inland with his family. They rented 40 acres near Avenel, Victoria. (An alternative version is that they moved to Avenel in 1860.) The Kelly family was very poor and the drought of 1865 made matters worse. In 1865 John Kelly was charged with stealing a calf from a Mr. Morgan. On 29 May 1865 the charge of cattle stealing was dismissed, but Kelly was charged with unlawful possession of a hide and was fined £25 or 6 months in jail. John Kelly served 4 months.

Ned rescues a 7 year old child from drowning.

The Sash presented to Ned Kelly
for saving Richard Shelton's life

In 1865 Ned, aged 11, rescued local 7 year old child Richard Shelton from a flooded creek. Richard had been trying to retrieve his hat from the creek, when he fell in. Ned jumped in fully clothed and brought him to the bank, then took him home to his parents at the Royal Mail Hotel. [2] The parents were so grateful that they presented Ned with a 2.2m green sash with gold fringing, (chosen for the Irish colours) at a school ceremony. Ned treasured the sash for the rest of his life and[3] wore it on special occasions, including under his armour at the shootout at Glenrowan. The frayed, blood stained sash remains on public display at the Costume Pioneer Museum in Benalla.

By November 1866, John Kelly was dying of dropsy.He died on 27 December 1866, aged 46 years. His death was reported and signed by his son Edward Kelly who was 11 years old at the time.

Edward Kelly was arrested for assaulting a man named Ah Fook in 1869 when he was 14 years old. The next year he was arrested again, for being a suspected accomplice of bushranger Harry Power. Both these charges were dismissed, but by now Ned had caught the attention of the police.

The Fitzpatrick incident [4]

Ned's sister Kate Kelly was only 15 years old when Alexander Fitzpatrick, a young police constable, made a pass at her which started Ned and his brother Dan on their life of crime. Fitzpatrick was drunk when he paid a visit to the Kelly household on 15 April 1878, claiming he had a warrant for the arrest of Dan Kelly for horse stealing. While there, he made a pass at Kate and, of course, her family came to her assistance.

Fitzpatrick returned to Benalla Police Station claiming that the Kelly family had attacked him. He said Ellen Kelly had struck him with a fire shovel, Dan Kelly had beaten him, and Ned Kelly had attempted to shoot him in the wrist. William Williamson and William Skillion, neighbours of the Kellys, were also accused. The trial was reported on at length in the Ovens and Murray Advertiser. [5]Ellen Kelly received a three year sentence [6] for aiding and abetting an attempted murder, based purely on Fitzpatrick's claims. Judge Redmond Barry, who sentenced Ellen, was the same Judge who sentenced Ned to hang, two years later.

Ellen Kelly

After Ellen's arrest, Ned and Dan Kelly went into hiding and were later joined by Ned's friend Joe Byrne, and Steve Hart, a friend of Dan. In October 1878, they headed for Bullock Creek, where they hoped to earn enough money to appeal Ellen's sentence by running a whiskey distillery. On arriving at Bullock Creek, they received a warning that four policemen were on their trail. The gang ambushed the police camp at Stringybark Creek and found two Constables, Lonigan and McIntyre sitting around a fire. The gang drew their guns and Ned shot Lonigan. McIntyre surrendered.

When Police Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlon returned to the campsite and refused to surrender, Ned killed Scanlon and then Kennedy [7]. From this moment the two Kellys, Byrne and Hart were officially outlaws: the notorious Kelly Gang.

The Kelly Gang

On the 15 November 1878 the Victorian government offered rewards of £500 for each of the gang, alive or dead. [8] Weeks later, on 9th December, the Kelly gang took possession of a sheep station at Faithfull's Creek, about four miles out of Euroa, locking up twenty-two people in a store-room. While Byrne guarded the captives, the other three went to Euroa where they held up the National Bank, taking £2000 in notes and gold. This crime resulted in a doubling of the reward, but on Saturday, 8 February 1879, the gang struck again, this time at Jerilderie. They locked up two policemen and took possession of the police station, remaining there until Monday morning. Then, wearing police uniforms, they held up the Bank of New South Wales, seizing £2,141 in notes and coin, and rounded up sixty persons in the Royal Hotel next door. It was in the Jerilderie bank that Ned gave a statement to a bank-teller. [9] Over 8,000 words, this became known as the Cameron letter or, more commonly, the Jerilderie Letter and was his explanation and justification of his conduct.

The Jerilderie Letter

The Jerilderie Letter was dictated by Ned Kelly to Joe Byrne in 1879. It is one of only two original Kelly documents known to have survived.

The [10] Jerilderie Letter is a 56 page document, in the letter Ned Kelly tries to justify his actions, including the killing of three policemen in October1878. He describes cases of alleged police corruption and calls for justice for poor families. Ned Kelly is the only Australian bushranger known to have attempted to justify his actions in writing.

Only small parts of the contents of the Jerilderie Letter were published during Ned Kelly's lifetime. It was not published in full until 1930.

The document is named after the town of Jerilderie, New South Wales, where the Kelly Gang carried out a robbery in February 1879 during which Ned Kelly tried to have his document published as a pamphlet.

Two copies were made of Ned Kelly's letter, one by publican John Hanlon and one by a government clerk. The original and both handwritten copies have survived.

Shoot-out at Glenrowan

Joe Byrne
Steve Hart

After the Jerilderie robbery, there was now a £2,000 reward for each gang member. The Victorian Police Chief Commissioner bought in black trackers from Queensland.

For two years the gang evaded arrest, hiding in the bush where they constructed armour. In 1880 Joe Byrne and Dan kelly joined Ned and Steve Hart at Glenrowan, taking possession of the Glenrowan Inn run by Mrs Ann Jones and holding about sixty people. [11] Police surrounded the hotel. Steve Hart was shot in the arm and Ned wounded in the foot, hand and arm. Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart hid in the hotel, Ned Kelly escaped to the bush.[12] Byrne, standing at the hotel bar, was shot in the thigh and bled to death in the hotel.

Last Stand

Ned Kelly, wearing his ihomemade [13] armour, although he had escaped from the Glenrowan Inn, he returned the next day to assist Dan and Steve who were trapped inside. With the inn surrounded by police, [14] Ned Kelly still in his armour, was brought down by bullet shots to his legs.

Taken from the Australasian Sketcher 3 July 1880 drawn by Mr T Carrington at the Glenrowan Siege

Glenrowan Inn before the fire
Glenrowan Inn after the fire

The Armour

The Kelly gang Armour was made of iron a quarter of an inch thick, and consisted of a long breast-plate, shoulder-plates, back-guard, and helmet. The helmet resembled a nail can without a crown, and included a long slit for the eyes. The suits' separate parts were strapped together on the body while the helmet was separate and sat on the shoulders, allowing it to be removed easily. Ned Kelly's armour weighed 44 kilograms (97 lb). His suit was the only one to have an apron at the back, but all four had front aprons. Padding is only known from Ned's armour and it is not clear if the other suits were similarly padded. Ned wore a padded skull cap and his helmet also had internal strapping so that his head could take some of the weight. After the shoot-out there were five bullet marks on the helmet, three on the breast-plate, nine on the back-plate, and one on the shoulder-plate. All the gang wore dustcoats over the armour.

Ned Kelly captured

Ned Kelly in custody and Joe Bryne was dead , only Dan Kelly and Steve Hart] were still missing, but the police continued to fire until 3 p.m. When a policeman set the building on fire, Father Matthew Gibney went into the burning building to administer the last rites and reported three bodies in the Glenrowan Inn. Steve Hart and Dan Kelly were said to be 2 of them, although the bodies were burnt beyond recongition. Byrne's was brought out by police, the other two were those of Dan and Hart, who had taken poison and were burned beyond recognition. On 28-29 October 1880 at Melbourne, Kelly was tried for the murder of Constable Thomas Lonigan at Stringybark Creek. He was found guilty and was sentenced him to death.

Kate Kelly visited her mother who was still in gaol after the final siege of Glenrowan. She also visited Ned when allowed, Kate also tried desperately to raise money for Ned's trial, to get him a good lawyer, After Ned was sentenced to death, Kate, with her sister Maggie and Tom Lloyd, applied for help through the Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment. With four members of this Society she went to see the Governor to beg for mercy for Ned. She went on her knees begging for her brother's life, but His Excellency the Marquis of Normanby refused.

The very evening that Ned was hanged, some posters appeared around Melbourne, announcing ...

It is estimated that a petition to spare Ned Kelly's life had over 30,000 signatures. Despite this Ned was hung on the 11 November 1880 in the Old Melboune Goal. [15][16][17] Edward Ned Kelly was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol on 11 November 1880. He met his end without fear. His last words were, 'Ah well, I suppose it has come to this', and by another version, 'Such is life'.

Ned Kelly on trial

Nearly [18] 133 years after his death, Ned Kelly’s remains were finally returned to his family. His last wish was to be buried at the Greta Cemetery with the rest of his family.

Ned and the Kelly Family’s tombstone in Greta Cemetery. All the graves are nearby and are unmarked.


The maternal line is confirmed.

A ‘mitochondrial’ DNA sample (from the maternal line), taken from Melbourne school teacher Leigh Olver, the grandson of Ned’s sister Ellen has confirmed the female line of Edward Kelly. The haplogroup is J1c.[19][20][21]

Male descendants carrying the KELLY surname are encouraged join the Kelly Y-DNA project at FTDNA. Other descendants who have take autosomal tests are encouraged to upload their results to GEDmatch and add their descent line to Wikitree so that other may compare their results. [22]


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Ned Kelly," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 7, 2019) See Reference 'a' for a discussion regarding Ned's birthdate
  2. Heritage Council of Victoria. “Former Royal Mail Hotel and Cottage, Avenal.” Victorian Heritage Database. Accessed November 7, 2019.
  3. Sydney Morning herald - Ned rescues a child from drowning Note this newspaper article incorrectly names Esau's wife as Elizabeth. Her name was Margaret. See her death notice - Family Notices (1913, September 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 13. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from and death index entry Victoria State Government, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria. Margaret Shelton. Death. Registration number 7810/1913. Link to search page
  4. Kate Kelly - The Fitzpatrick incident happened on April 15, 1878 Alexander Fitzpatrick, a man whose own reputation would later be called very much into question decided to bring in young Dan Kelly on charges of stock theft.
  5. BEECHWORTH COURT OF ASSIZE. (1878, October 10). Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 5. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from
  6. Kelly Gang - In 1878 Ellen was sentenced to three years' imprisonment because of the Fitzpatrick incident
  7. Kelly Gang -1878 Ned kills police
  8. Kelly Gang - On the 15 November 1878 the victorian Govement offers a reward of £500 for each gang member
  9. National Museum Australia - Ned gives written statement to a bank teller. This became known as the Jerilderie letter.
  10. State Library of Victoria - Letter written by Joe Byrne at the dictation of Ned Kelly, [1879 Feb.]. [manuscript]. Ned Kelly 1855-1880.
  11. UpFromAustralia -The shoot out at Glenrowan 1880
  12. Kelly Gang - Joe Byrne is shot and bleeds to death in the Glenrowan hotel
  13. State Library of Victoria - The armour held by the State Library includes Ned Kelly's helmet, backplate, breastplate and shoulderplate. It is crudely constructed from parts of ploughs, pieces of leather, and iron bolts. It was put together in the year before the Glenrowan raid, when the gang were in hiding following their raid on the town of Jerilderie. The prototype for the armour was made for Ned and was tested by firing a stolen police rifle, which left a dent on the breastplate.
  14. State Library of Victoria - Capture of the Kelly Gang
  15. Victoria State Government, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria. Edward Kelly. Death. Registration number 10661/1880. Place: Melbourne Gaol. Parents: Unknown. Link to search page
  16. Melbourne Goal The Old Melbourne Gaol was the place where Ned Kelly was hanged in 1880
  17. Australian Geographic - On this day Ned Kelly is hanged 11 November, 1880
  18. ABC News - Ned Kelly's headless skeleton has finally been identified more than 130 years after his execution in the Old Melbourne Gaol.
  19. Australian Geographic, 2011, accessed 22 Apr 2020.
  20. Kelly Clans DNA Update, 2013, accessed 22 Apr 2020.
  21. The contributions of anthropology and mitochondrial DNA analysis to the identification of the human skeletal remains of the Australian outlaw Edward 'Ned' Kelly, 2014, accessed 22 Apr 2014.
  22. DNA notes added by Veronica Williams, Project Leader, Australia Project, 22 Apr 2020.
  • Vic death registration #10661/1880
Royal Commision Kelly Gang
Launceston Examinier 20th Nov 1878; article The Mansfield tragedy
The Bendigo Advertiser 12th Feb,1879; article Kelly Gang Rob the Bank at Jerilderie
Western Australian Times 7th March,1879; article
Mercury Hobart 7th July, 1880; article destruction of the Kelly Gang
Warick Examiner and Times article 3rd July,1880
Argus Melbourne article; Enquiry into the State of the Police Force after the siege at Glenrowan
South Australian Chronical and Weekly Mail 14th August, 1880; article The trial of Ned Kelly
Mercury Hobart 15th November, 1880; article The execution of Edward "Ned" Kelly
Biography Ned Kelly
Wikipedia Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly finally laid to rest 132 yrs after his death
A Pictorial History of Bushrangers, 1966 Landsdowne Press, Melbourne. Paul Hamlyn revised edition 1970. H. Nunn, Bill Wannan and Tom Prior.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships by comparing test results with Ned or other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA test-takers in the direct maternal line:
  • Ned Kelly: Mitochondrial DNA Test HVR1 and HVR2, haplogroup J1c

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Comments: 12

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I've created a profile for a Michael Kennedy who turned out to be the Sergeant Michael Kennedy killed in the Wombat forest by the Kelly gang. I haven't developed the profile - if anyone is interested, please feel free.
The links to on this Ned Kelly Profile are no longer working. The website still exists but the pages must have been re-organised. Could someone who is familiar with the site perhaps review this?
posted by [Living Turner]
The policeman Hugh Bracken was one of those who took part in the battle at Glenrowan
posted by Valerie Willis
Can we link to Charles Tait? Charles Tait and members of his family were responsible for The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906). This is regarded to be the world's first feature film. I'm also very happy to have Charles' profile worked on by anybody who has a keen interest.
posted by Mick Tait
Michael, your post is correct.

Ned Kelly is the most famous of the Australian bush-rangers (outlaws).


Kelly-11643 and Kelly-4912 are a MATCH and can be merged,

There is more than sufficient data in the source links i've written above to complement the fields for this profile already in Kelly-4912

Kelly-4912 is the original profile, post date: 30 Dec 2013 by WikiTree-37

posted by Mark Ridgway
Kelly-4912 and Kelly-11643 appear to represent the same person because: Clear duplicate
posted by Mick Tait
Another great Profile Terry... Hope this correspondence finds you well (sending you a smooch)

I have an interesting Profile that you might want to link to Ned (it's not yet complete though) See William Culph this man and his son's are reputed to have made Ned Kelly's armour.

Hoping you don't mind, but I've popped a few of your photo's here on to my William Culph Profile

Cheers and a very belated Happy New Year.

Trace xx

posted by Trace Allison
Image:Profile_Photo_s-268.jpgDecember 8, 2014
posted by Paula J
Congratulations! Great profile and story!
posted by Paula J