For some reason best known to themselves they stopped their war against the law for more than sixteen months. But the law continued in its efforts to capture the Kellys. The Government in Melbourne had asked the Queensland Government for a party of black trackers to help in the hunt for the Kelly Gang. The nervous strain of dodging these invisible pursuers affected Nedís morale and judgment.
Early in 1880 the police were told that mould-boards of ploughs had been stolen from the neighborhood of Greta and Oxley. They did not know, and could not guess, what the purpose of these strange thefts, but they sent parties with black trackers to investigate. The trackers discovered marks of high-heeled riding boots near the farms where the mould-boards of ploughs had been stolen.
At a hide-out in the Greta Swamps, Ned and his mates heated the metal mould-boards and hammered them over a green log to a round shape, to protect their bodies in the pitched battle with the police which they believed must come soon. Each suit of Armour consisted of two main sections, front and back; these were held together at the sides by leather laces, and supported from the shoulders by strong straps. An apron made from part of the mould-board was attached to the edge of the front piece by a bolt and swivel to protect the groin and thighs. The weight of the armour suits was about eighty pounds, a heavy load for these slightly build youths to carry. For Ned, who had the physical strength to carry the extra weight of fifteen pounds.
After the successful raid on Jerilderie, the Government of New South Wales offered a reward of £2000 each for the bodies of the outlaws, dead or alive. This, added to the Victorian offer, meant a grand total of £8000. But where were they? Months passed, a year passed, while informers, greedy for the reward, passed information to police. One informer was Aaron Sherritt, who was engaged to Byrneís sister. His informing cost him his life. He was spotted entering a police camp. On Saturday, 27th June 1880, though guarded in his home four constables, Sherritt was shot dead by Byrne and Dan Kelly. Ned Kelly was realising that his days were also numbered. For £8000 friends could become enemies. He began to make plans.