Ned Kelly the Brutal Bushranger

Ned Kelly was a vicious criminal. Throughout history people have tried to turn Kelly from a lowly criminal that committed assaults, theft and murder into a national folk hero. Perhaps it could be said that Kelly tried to stand up for the rights of the common Irish man of the day, but  he used the worst possible means - violence and murder.

Ned Kelly is not the 'all Australian' folk hero he is made out to be. Ask yourself, what kind of hero holds up banks, ambushes people at random and shoots every police officer that dares cross his path? Some historians say that he did all of this in self- defence. I say, killing innocent people and agents of the law for no good reason is not self-defence, just barbarism. He could have just negotiated with the government and sorted out his personal grievances in a civilised fashion, through open dialogue. It is clear that he only really attacked people for his own selfish needs and personal gain. You can't protest for your civil rights by denying others their civil rights. Kelly ruined the lives of many people in Australia in the pursuit of his own personal freedom.

The only act of kindness attributed to Kelly shows up in his early school records. It is noted that he saved his boyhood friend, Richard Shelton, from drowning in the nearby river. He was given a green sash by Richards family in honour of his bravery, which he was still wearing many years latter, when he was caught and imprisoned, in the infamous Glenrowan shoot out.

Aside from this one act of kindness and daring, Kelly was a serial criminal from a young age. At the tender age of 14, he stole over 150 cattle and then moved on to vicious assault and bank robbery,  Not just he, but his whole family had a long history with the police.  Generations of Australian children have been brought up on the myth that Kelly was a hero, but far from it, he is in fact an anti-hero - a person that is appreciated for his criminal activities, rather than the good they do for society.


On the 27th of June 1880 the Kelly gang held up the Glenrowan inn at Glenrowan, Victoria. Unfortunately for the Kelly gang the police showed up from a special train. Ned went and fetched some extra weapons while the rest of the Kelly gang kept on firing at the police from the inn. When Ned came back he tried to hold off the police outside the inn. While Ned was off his guard one of the policemen snuck around him and shot him from behind. The rest of the Kelly gang retaliated but to finish off the job the police set the building on fire leaving all of them inside and all of them dead. Kelly was later treated his wounds and then was hanged.  

Superintendent Hare's  perspective

                                                                                                                                                                  31st June 1880

We've finally caught the malicious criminal that is Ned  Kelly. He was found outside a local hotel in full armour trying to flee but he just had to have one last stand off with the police. To our advantage he was heavily wounded and on himself had 40 kg of armour. Next week will be his execution and my payment of £8000. He's had a price on his head for so long as he ruthlessly murdered three police officers at Stringy Bark Creek, has committed two major bank robberies, horse and cattle theft and assaults. I could be here all year telling you the wrong doings that Ned Kelly has done. The death of the vicious criminal will commence at 8.00 am Wednesday.  

Ned Kelly's perspective

                                                                                                                                                                 7th July  1880

Last week was the fate of my friends and brother and my fate will be soon too. My execution will commence in a hour. It is unfair that the Kelly gang and I have to suffer for something we haven't done. The Kelly gang was burnt alive in that small inn and I'm going to be hanged by the neck for something we've tried to make right. Even winning the vote that I shan't be hanged isn't enough for the wretched law enforcement. I've been through so much and it's such a shame for my life to end now. My last request is to beg for my mother Ellen Kelly's release from prison.

Ned Kelly has killed, assaulted and has hurt many people. He is a bad influence and definitely not a hero. Ned Kelly had the punishment he deserved and the punishment he got. This article has hopefully proved to you that Ned Kelly is well and truly a vicious criminal.

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