I have always channelled my interest into a wide variety of outlets but a constant theme throughout my life has always been Ned and the gang.For those that are the least bit interested in how this came about,read on.


I’ve had a keen interest in history for years and my extensive reading covers such subjects as Tombstone and the American Wild West,the Holocaust,the JFK assassination and Eureka Stockade to name a few.I’m also into hard rock in a big way-my favourite band being AC/DC- and science fiction.My interest in the Kellys is certainly not an unhealthy obsession-thanks in part to my other outlets-but it certainly has a big place in my heart.Unlike some,I have always treated the story and the land involved with respect.


I was born in Adelaide in 1969 and with the exception of a 4 year stint in Melbourne,it has remained my centre.Throughout primary school,I would read cheap,lurid comic books and horror stories.Not a great introduction to the world of literature.My Father thought it was high time I joined the real world so one Saturday morning,he bought me a book entitled “Australian Bushranging-The Stark Story.”His theory was @ least it was fact and not American “garbage”as he called it.After reading the first section of the book entitled“The Day Ned Kelly died”,I was hooked.Here was a real life horror story introducing me to the barbarities of the past and the iconic figure of Ned simultaneously.


My first Kelly book was actually “The Last Outlaw”magazine,written by Melbourne journalist Les Carlyon and detailing the making of Ian Jones excellent 1980 mini-series.It was probably the best pocket money I ever spent.Not only did it give great details on the Kellys,but it introduced me @ an early age to the great work that Ian Jones had contributed already to the story.In terms of narrative thrust and atmosphere,the book is still hard to beat.The writing is lyrical and conveys the imagery of the gang and the landscape vividly.-especially to a then 10 year old.


From there,I was off and racing.Gaining an interest in Ned just after the centenary year was lucrative from a book collectors point of view and I was able to snap up many Kelly publications,the highlight probably being John McQuiltons “The Kelly Outbreak-1878-1880.The Geographical Dimension of Social Banditry.”(1979)An excellent book,it inspired me further.


My first field trip to North Eastern Victoria was in 1982-the first year of high school.This was back in the days when the Glenrowan Tourist Centre was a modest affair-before Mr.Hempels “commercial”sense kicked in(!)My guide to the area @ this early stage was a book entitled “Saint Ned” by Keith Dunstan.The excellent section on tourism in Kelly Country and locating the surviving relics spured me on.


And so it continued.I was a regular after that and became a familiar(and shy)face to many of the museums and souvenier outlets in the area.My years as a sales representative in Melbourne were a pleasure also because my work took me to Kelly Country for weeks @ a time in some cases.


Now,being home in Adelaide,I have a 12 hour drive instead of 3 but it certainly has not diminished my interest or contact.When I first saw Ned’The Exhibition at the Old Melbourne Gaol in October,I knew the story was in for a major kick start.Careys book and the coming film(s) will set it in concrete.Hopefully,my own book is about to be realized and for me,will be the culmination of a 20 year plus journey through the story of Ned and his gang.


To coin a phrase from another well known Australian,I’M EXCITED!






Instalment 1: Ned: the exhibition  January 4th 2002 
Instalment 2: Glenrowan February 4th 2002
Instalment 3: Mark Perry joins Mike! March 4th 2002