I’ve always been a Ned Kelly “fan”. I did a school project on him in Grade 6 and also wrote a poem on Ned. The following year I rewrote the poem for an English assignment in High School. My teacher, Mrs Kay accused me of not being the original author.
I also played the part of Ned Kelly in a play at school. When it came to the hanging scene I had a parka (jacket) on with my hands inside the jacket and the sleeves were filled with newspaper to make it look like my hands were in them. I was standing on a chair with my concealed hands I held the rope under my chin. Just as I loosened my hands to get a better grip they kicked the chair out from under me. I was literally left hanging with only my fingertips keeping me breathing. I was literally hanging out for the final curtain.
The route I followed was
Beverage This was Ned’s first home. It was built by Ned’s father Red and is now known as The Kelly House. It is currently undergoing extensive restoration.
Avenel The Kelly moved to this area from Avenel and in 1865 Ned was hailed a hero when he rescued a young boy from drowning in the swollen waters of Hughes Creek. As a gesture of appreciation the family awarded Ned a green silk sash. Ned was obviously proud of this ash as he was wearing it when he was captured after the siege at Glenrowen. Ned’s father passed away in Avenel in 1866 and is buried in the local cemetery.
Euroa This town was the scene of the 1878 robbery of the National Bank by the Kelly Gang. It was one of two bank robberies ht the gang, the other being at Jerilderie in NSW. Prior to the robbery the gang rode into nearby Faithful Creek Station to rest their horses, change clothes and cut the telegraph lines by the railway line nearby. Joe Byrne kept watch as the others rode into town to carry out the robbery. After the robbery they forced the Bank Manager, family and staff to accompany them back to the Station so they couldn’t raise the alarm.
Mansfield was the base for the police search operations as it was the murder of three Mansfield policemen at Stringybark Creek that put a price on Ned’s head along with the other three Kelly Gang members.
Powers Lookout Harry Power, another infamous bushranger, and said to be Ned Kelly’s mentor, frequented this area for its superb view of the King Valley. Here Harry could see police coming and could be well gone before they reached him. Ned was 14 years of age when he became Powers “apprentice”. Together they carried out a string of robberies and hold ups in which Ned learned the tricks of the trade including bushcraft.
Stringybark Creek The infamous shootout between the police and the Kelly Gang took place at Stringybark Creek on 26th October 1878.
I found this an eerie place to be and as I walked along the somewhat overgrown track around the area it seemed to be riddled with ghosts from the past. The bush is thick, the whole area is heavily wooded and isolated and it really did send chills up my spine reading the memorial plaques where the events took place. The fact that there was not another soul around added to the eeriness of the experience.
Benalla was the major town closest to Ned’s home and the epicentre of his Bush-ranging days and was police headquarters for the Kelly Gang manhunt. Unfortunately the museum was closed for extensive renovations.
Glenrowen The scene of Kelly’s Last Stand. Plenty of history here and they are working on providing more information and improvements at the park overlooking the railway.
Greta The final resting place for Ned, his mother Ellen and many of his brothers and sisters as well as some extended family members.
Beechworth was the headquarters for the search for the Kelly Gang and being the largest regional town, it was the place where Ned fronted court after his capture. The trial was then held in Melbourne.
Jerilderie NSW is the final town on the Ned Kelly Trail. I have previously written about this in a previous post.