The Big Screen: True History of the Kelly Gang

The Big Screen: True History of the Kelly Gang

The new film depicting the life of famous bush-ranger Ned Kelly and his family is set to hit Australian cinemas on January 9 with a following release date in the UK of February 28.

After the death of his father – who was also a criminal – Kelly’s life of crime began at age 14, with his first prison stay coming just one year after. In and out of prison for various offences including murder, the next 10 years of his life were tumultuous and bloody.

One of the incidents he was most famous for occurred in April of 1878 after it was claimed that he shot a police trooper named Fitzpatrick who had arrived at his mother’s home.  The real facts of the case were never uncovered but nonetheless, family members, including: Mrs. Kelly, her son-in-law, William Skillion, and a neighbour, William Williamson, were arrested and charged with aiding and supporting the attempted murder of Fitzpatrick.  They were convicted.  Mrs. Kelly was sentenced to three years, while the men were sentenced to six.  Ned and his brother Dan were nowhere to be found, as they had gone into hiding in the Wombat Ranges. They were still fervently sought after, even offering a reward for information leading to their capture.

Some would say that Ned was a common hero, while others proclaim he was a common murderer. A gritty string of crime and punishment accompanied his life, which he later justified in a letter which became known as the Kelly’s manifesto. After a prolific career, he was eventually hanged for his crimes at the young age of 25. It is said that his final words were “such is life”.

Read more about the life of Ned Kelly and his Family before heading to the picture-house to see the universally acclaimed movie.

More on the Kelly Gang:

Read: Colonial Australia – The Gold Rush and Ned Kelly