Ned Kelly hero, villain or victim

By Zion Narain

Many people believe Ned Kelly to be a courageous hero who fought for the rights of people, others thought Ned was a cold blooded killer and a criminal, while some even regarded Ned as an honest victim of society. Whether Ned Kelly was a hero or not is something that has been debated throughout Australia for a long time. I believe Ned Kelly was an outlaw and a cold blooded criminal. Ned was a bushranger and a murderous villain who was wrongly idolized as a hero.

Ned Kelly died 132 years ago, he was hung in 1890 for shooting down 3 policemen. Ned was the leader of a group called the Kelly Gang which established in 1876. The Kelly Gang consisted of Ned, his brother Dan and his good friends Steve Hart and Joe Byrnes, also known as lawbreakers and criminals. Ned was a horse thief, a bank robber, a murderer and a cop killer. Ned was first arrested at the age of 14, he was in jail for 6 months and was on the charge of assault. Later Ned was sentenced to 3 years hard labour due to horse theft.

One of Ned Kelly’s most notorious crimes was the police siege of the Kelly Gang at the Glenrowan hotel, where he put the lives of innocent people in danger. This event was a plan by the Kelly Gang that occurred on the 27th June 1880. The Kelly Gang attempted to trap the police and use them as prisoners in order to get Ellen, Ned’s mum, out of jail. This simple plan shows the mistakes that could happen in his plans at the time.

The last few events of Ned Kelly’s life led to the horrific death at Stringybark Creek, where Ned deliberately murdered two innocent policemen. This unfortunate incident occurred in October 1880, when a group of policemen were searching for Ned and Dan Kelly near the Wombat Ranges. The policemen split into two groups, and even though the officers were disguised, Ned and Dan still recognized them straight away and began shooting, during this time three officers died, only Mclntyre managed to escape and return back to testify against Ned. When Ned and Dan were leaving the crime scene, Ned stole a gold watch from Sergeant Kennedy and said “What’s the use of a watch to a dead man?” Those were the cruel, hurtful, cold hearted words that came out of Ned Kelly, a person people call “a hero.”

People believe Ned Kelly is a representative of Australian culture and heroism, which I believe is ridiculous, Ned Kelly is a cruel member of society, a cold hearted criminal and a murderous villain, he is an embarrassment towards real Australian Icons and hero’s. Even though he was quite brave and loyal he was still born into a life that would lead him to become Australia’s most well known and notorious villain.

Fitzpatrick Incident, Fitzpatrick's perspective

On April 15th 1878, Constable Strachan gave Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick an order to go to straight to Greta, but instead he rode to a hotel at Winton, where he spent a considerable time. When back on track Constable Alexandra remembered a view days before, he saw an arrest warrant for Dan Kelly for horse stealing at the Gazette Police Station. He decided to go to the Kelly house, and in doing this he violated the police policy, where at least two constables are allowed to go to the Kelly house. When Fitzpatrick got there he realised Dan wasn’t home and left, he then came back when he saw Dan and Skillion arrive back on their horses and made the arrest.

Fitzpatrick in fact didn’t have a warrant at the time but he had a telegram to which his mother said Dan didn’t need to go. Fitzpatrick pulled out a gun and said “I will blow your brains out if you interfere.” Dan’s mother then said “You would not be so handy with that popgun if Ned was here” Dan then tried to make a distraction by saying “Look here comes Ned” while Fitzpatrick turned to look Dan took the gun from Fitzpatrick and blocked him. Fitzpatrick didn’t know what to do. Fitzpatrick rode to Benalla where he claimed Dan, Ned, Ellen, their friend Bricky Williamson and their brother in law Bill skillion attacked him. Fitzpatrick said all of them except Ellen were armed with weapons, and that Ned shot him right in his left wrist and that Ellen hit him on the head with a coal shovel. Williamson and Skillion were arrested for their part in the incident, Ned and Dan however were nowhere to be found. Ellen was taken into custody along with Alice, her baby. Fitzpatrick’s wounds were apparently self inflicted, Fitzpatrick disagreed with this statement but Ellen, Williamson and Skillion were convicted.

Dan Kelly's Perspective

On the 15th of April 1878 Dan Kelly and Bricky Skillion, Ned’s brother
in-law, went somewhere on their horses, but when they got back they were shocked to find Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick waiting at their house, to arrest Dan for horse stealing. Dan then asked if he could stay to have dinner before leaving, Fitzpatrick decided to allow him to eat first and sat down next to Dan.

In an interview a few months later Ellen, Dan’s mother, asked Fitzpatrick if he had a warrant, and in fact Fitzpatrick didn’t have a warrant at the time but a telegram. Ellen said Dan need not go, in response Fitzpatrick said pulling a gun out of his pocket “I will blow your brains out if you interfere” Ellen then said “You wouldn’t be so handy with that gun if Ned was here” Dan then jumped in trying to make a distraction and said “Look here comes Ned!!!” While Fitzpatrick turned to look, Dan snatched the gun out of Fitzpatrick’s hand and blocked him. Dan said he released Fitzpatrick unharmed. Kelly denied Fitzpatrick
could have taken liberties with his sister, she wouldn’t have stood for it.
Kelly said that he wasn’t present at the time and that Fitzpatrick’s wounds were self inflicted, Williamson, Ellen and Skillion were free to go but Ned and Dan were nowhere to be found when the arrest happened. A reward of £100 was give to Kelly for his arrest.

By Zion Narain

Comment Stream