It certainly looks like 2002 will be the year of Ned! For some years now, the embers of the Kelly story have been smouldering away waiting for a breath of wind. Well,it seems more like a hurricane! With the advent of recent milestones such as NED: THE EXHIBITION at the Old Melbourne Gaol, the embers have been re-lit in a spectacular way!

                 

Welcome to another edition of the Greta Mob Insider. Over the coming months, Mike and I will bring to you information on Ned and co. on a regular basis. Between us, we have been students of the Kellys for 30+years so our enthusiasm has never been greater especially in this apparent Golden age of exhibits, new books and more contemporary photos coming to light. WE’RE EXCITED!

Although Peter Carey's book didn’t win any fans amongst Kelly purists,it seems like it captured a nation judging by all the publicity.Whilst winning the Booker prize will guarantee newcomers to the story of the Kelly Outbreak,it should only serve as an introduction.Some excellent books have been released lately.Chief among them are Kelson and McQuiltons”Kelly Country”and a re-issue of McMenomys”Ned Kelly-The Illustrated History.”Now these 2 books will certainly point the novice in the right direction.And the best is yet to come!Ian Jones-Kelly student supreme is about to re-issue his”The Friendship that destroyed Ned Kelly.”New title is  “The Fatal Friendship.”In this writers humble opinion,it gets 6 out 5 Neds.(Mikes rating system.)

 

But it is no longer only through print we can get to know Ned,Dan,Joe,Steve and others.It has become a 3 dimensional experience!The excellent exhibition at the Gaol in Russell St.is a Kelly museum like no other.For the first time in history,under one roof(and 1 gallow beam!)you can behold most of the surviving relics that Ned himself touched.Available for inspection is his belt(removed after the siege of Glenrowan),the remains of his whisky still,guns,the 4 incredible suits of armour-seen as they were meant to-identified correctly and together.The viewer can also follow the history

Of Australian film if he/she follows the history of the Kellys.The Gang were the main images on our celluloid for many years.Mick Jaggers armour from the 1970 film is on the upper level of Gaol as is an excellent representation of Ned souvenirs which have been available on a seemingly endless basis.For someone who was technically a criminal,this all says much about the man himself and Australians in general.

 

If museums aren’t your gig,then you can feel Ned in the wind in what it still his land-North Eastern Victoria/Kelly Country.

 

Stand at Eleven Mile creek near Greta on a hot day and swat the flies as you gaze at the remains of the Kelly Homestead.This is the place where the Outbreak began.I often stand here myself and wonder what exactly did happen that strange afternoon.2 chimneys stand over land that was mute witness.

 

Wander the site of Ned's Last Stand @ Glenrowan and wonder how it all was before you visit one or two of the excellent souvenir shops in the area.It may be a small town but Ned looms large!

 

To many,the historic town of Beechworth is the heart of the Kelly story.This was Joe Byrne and Aaron Sherritts stomping ground and site of the “fatal friendship.”Who needs Sovereign Hill when you can walk the main street of a living,breathing museum?If nature’s your thing,sneak down to the Woolshed Valley.Nature has certainly reclaimed all that the gold mines took away.I can feel Aaron,Joe and Ned strongly here.It is still their country.

 

So the exhibition,books and walking the land all add up to an unforgettable “Ned experience.”For anyone interested in Ned and his gang,these are the days!

 

Mike and I are sure the best is yet to come……

 

                                     MIKE LAWSON - MELBOURNE &  MARK PERRY-ADELAIDE