This photograph features a woman and a man, both older, seated together on a bench at Benalla railway station, c.1917. The woman on the left, wearing a hat and face veil is Mrs Kelly (Ellen Quinn Kelly), Ned Kelly’s mother and the man beside her is Ned Griffiths.
Born in 1832 in Ireland, Ellen married John ‘Red’ Kelly, an ex-convict who also originated from Ireland, in 1851. She met Kelly after emigrating to Australia with her parents. Ellen and John Kelly had 7 children, the eldest of these is the infamous Bushranger Edward "Ned" Kelly. John Kelly died in 1866. Ellen had 7 children to care for and not much money so she relocated the family to Greta where she had relatives. Ellen remarried in 1874 to a young George King, an American originally from California. The couple married in Benalla and together they had 3 children. Ellen and King's children would later adopt the surname Kelly after George disappeared in 1877. Ellen spent three years in prison for the assault of Constable Fitzpatrick (an incident surrounded by mythology and uncertainty). She later passed away in her early 90s on the 27th of March 1923 at Greta.
In this photograph, Albert "Ned" Griffiths wears a hat, full suit, and glasses. He is Ellen Kelly's son-in-law from his marriage to her daughter Grace Kelly. Ned Griffiths was born in 1871 and died in 1939. He married Grace Kelly in 1889 in Benalla and together the couple had nine children.
This photograph is part of the Burke Museum "Kelly album" which includes a significant collection of photographs and artefacts connected to Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang. Ned Kelly and his gang have become ingrained in Australian popular culture and thus many museums, art galleries and private collections house material connected to the Kelly story which allows the events and people to be researched and interpreted.
Individuals like Ellen Kelly played an essential part in the Kelly story which have been adapted for popular culture. The study of these individuals through their images and records can help researchers to correctly interpret their involvement with Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang.
Original sepia rectangular photograph developed on matte photographic paper, mounted on board.
Inscriptions & markings
(Top half of reverse)
Mrs Kelly/Mother of Ned Kelly
And Mr Ned Griffiths her/
Son in law – husband/
Of Grace Kelly/
(Down right side of lower half of reverse)