Historical information

This Carte-de-visite (CdV) taken by renowned Wangaratta based photographer William Edward Barnes previously belonged to the donor's grandfather, Daniel Mullins who was a Police Officer stationed at Glenrowan soon after the Kelly gang siege. Today, the siege has become an important part of Australian culture and Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang (comprising of Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne) has become ingrained in Australian history and mythology.

A CdV is a sepia toned photograph mounted on card and is generally of a small size. This particular style was first patented by Andre Adolphe Eugene Disdéri (1819-1889) in 1854. In 1857, the CdV was introduced to England and after photographs of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family were taken using CdV in 1860 the popularity of this method reached a peak.

In this photograph, eight men stand along the railway line near Glenrowan. The photo dates to shortly after 1880 and references the attempt by the Kelly gang to derail a police train in June 1880 on those very tracks. Ultimately, this plan failed and the police train was never derailed. Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang took their final stand at Glenrowan which has been immortalised through Australian popular culture.


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.

Artefacts and photographs pertaining to the Kelly gang are particularly valuable for Australian museums. This particular photograph is significant for its connection to Wangaratta based photographer William Edward Barnes and to the Glenrowan Siege of June 1880. Taken at an unknown time, after the siege at Glenrowan, this image depicts eight gentlemen standing about the railway line near Glenrowan. This is a reference to the Kelly gang's plan to derail a train which would barrel up to Glenrowan after news reached Melbourne that Aaron Sherritt had been shot by Joe Byrne in the Woolshed Valley. This image is important for its artistic information that it can provide about the Kelly story and the fashion and streetscape of Glenrowan.

Physical description

This sepia coloured Carte de Visite is attached to yellow cardboard. The obverse of the photo depicts the railway line near Glenrowan around 1880s. The rails are positioned in the centre of the image and are made on an incline of earth. In the foreground are three men, two standing next to the rails and one slightly off to the right of the image. In the background are trees which line the side of the rails and slightly in front of these trees is a group of five men standing on the rails. The reverse of the image is yellow card and contains printed and pencil writing. The printed writing is in the centre of the card. It reveals that the photographer was William E Barnes from Wangaratta. The pencil writing provides the inscription stating that the photo was taken near Glenrowan around the time of Ned Kelly.

Inscriptions & markings

Railway line near /
Glen Rowan /
Kelly's time /

W. E. Barnes /
Photographer /
Wangaratta /

BMM 8089 /