Ned Kelly, the most famous of our 'Wild Colonial Boys', was born in 1855.

He was raised in harsh poverty in Northern Victoria, and became an expert bushman; by his teens he had developed a reputation as a bushranger. Kelly and his 'gang' were proclaimed outlaws when they killed three policemen, accounts of which differ.

So began the prolonged hunt, which ended with Kelly's capture in Glenrowan, in iconic home-made armour made from plough parts. Ned Kelly was executed in 1880, hanged in the Melbourne Goal by order of Sir Redmond Barry. Barry was instrumental in the foundation of the State Library of Victoria where, perhaps ironically, Kelly's "manifesto", the Jerilderie letter and the armour are held.

Kelly's Irish heritage, his contempt for and success in humilating the authorities, his harsh and some say unfair treatment, his bad luck and his daring and notoriety have ensured Kelly's place as folk hero.


View videos and other Kelly artefacts from the State Library of Victoria Ergo site:

Capture of the Kelly Gang

Ned Kelly's Armour

The Life of Ellen Kelly, Ned Kelly's mother

The Jerilderie Letter

Ned Kelly's death mask