Historical information

To commemorate the 125th anniversary of Edward “Ned” Kelly’s committal trial in the Beechworth Historic Courthouse, the Robert O’Hara Burke Memorial Museum (henceforth Burke Museum) commissioned this postcard to coincide with their exhibition dating September 2005 to March 2006 and titled the Ned Kelly 125th Anniversary Exhibition.

The postcard depicts a Snider-Enfield of .577 calibre which was reputedly favoured by the Bushranger. The firearm is of typical 1870s hunting design and was displayed as a focal point within this exhibition. The firearm, which was named “Betty” was reportedly taken by Kelly from Henry Dudley. The weapon has the letter ‘K’ engraved into the wood of the fore end. Other items also displayed in this exhibition include the Burke’s Kelly death mask, a replica of the Kelly Gang armour and photographs from the Burke Museum’s Kelly album.

Significance

This postcard depicts an advertisement or memorabilia for an exhibition held at the Beechworth Burke Museum. It commemorated the 125th anniversary of Kelly’s committal trial which took place in the Beechworth Historic Courthouse. This event is significant for what it can reveal about the popularity of Ned Kelly in the late 20th and early 21st century. The study of this exhibition, through artefacts like this postcard, allows for a deeper analysis into the curators’ perceptions of the Kelly story. It provides insight into the popularity of Kelly in Australian local history.

Further research into this exhibition and the treatment of the Kelly story by institutions like the Burke Museum and the contrast of findings to current treatment of Kelly can help researchers understand any changing attitudes towards Kelly, which is related to the study of the reception of artefacts and people/events. The Burke Museum has a large collection of Kelly photographs and several artefacts and the study of how these have been displayed and used can potentially impart important information.

Physical description

Rectangular colour printed postcard celebrating Ned Kelly 125th Anniversary Exhibition at Burke Museum, Beechworth. Inset image of Ned Kelly's rifle.

Inscriptions & markings

Obverse:
Ned Kelly /
125th ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION /
ROBERT O'HARA BURKE MEMORIAL MUSEUM
BEECHWORTH . VICTORIA . AUSTRALIA /
September 2005-2006 /

BEECHWORTH /
Echoes of History /
HISTORIC & CULTURAL PRECINCT /

NED /
KELLY /
TOURING ROUTE /

REVERSE:
Ned Kelly /
125th ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION /
ROBERT O'HARA BURKE MEMORIAL MUSEUM
BEECHWORTH . VICTORIA . AUSTRALIA /
September 2005-2006 /

AFFIX STAMP HERE /

7250 /

This is the rifle that was taken from Henry Dudley by Ned Kelly. It became Ned's favourite /
rifle, which he called 'Betty'. Note the 'K' carved into the wood of the fore-end. /
Interestingly, there is at least one other rifle owned by Ned Kelly that also has a 'K' engraved /
into it by Ned- the Colt revolving carbine used by Ned at Glenrowan /

References