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