“Down in the Kelly country proper, the tourist industry celebrates the outlaw for all he is worth. The Glenrowan Tourist Centre specializes in a bewildering array of Kellyana, from reproductions of the old postcards and reward posters to recent editions of J. J. Kenneallys book. Wearing your Ned Kelly T- Shirt and mask, clutching a replica of Neds Colt pistol, you can wander through a display of fibreglass figures of police and bushrangers forever fighting a mute, static parody of the last stand.”


            “Ned Kelly in Popular tradition”- Graham Seal (1980)



And so it continues. The centenary year of 1980 was a landmark year for an abundance of Ned Kelly souveniers but this year,
with Peter Careys “True History of the Kelly Gang” doing so well and “Ned: The Exhibition” at the Old Melbourne Gaol having had almost 80,000 visitors since October as of the time of writing, it all looks set to continue and bloom even brighter in March 2003 when the new “Ned” film starring Heath Ledger is released.






However, it actually all started whilst Ned and the gang were still alive. During the Euroa bank hold-up of 1878, one of the tellers asked Dan Kelly and Steve Hart for mementos of the occasion. They were fully aware even at that early stage in the gangs career, they were partaking in history. After Ned Kelly had fallen at Glenrowan in 1880 and the charred remains of the Glenrowan Inn had cooled down, the souvenier hunters moved in and took everything that was takeable. (Refer Kelly relics section.)



“ ‘ In Kelly Country, there was a great resentment of anybody cashing in on the Kelly legacy for many years’, says Ian Jones, author of the definitive Kelly history, ‘Ned Kelly- A Short Life’. ‘There is a classic story in Glenrowan of a man who opened up a Last Stand café, only to find that his sign was torn down overnight.’ ”


                                                        “The Australian Magazine”- April 2001


Glenrowans main street today, has been likened to a film set for a B grade western than anything to do with an Australian Bushranger.



“Still, there is a ‘Big Ned’, in the famous armour, presiding over Ned Kelly jams and pickles, beer mugs, stubby holders, leathergoods and the inevitable T-shirts, in that strange tourist constellation whereby mythic  sites become associated with handicrafts, as if there were some natural connection between the two. The souveniers are souveniers of the fact that you have visited a place where there are souveniers.”


      “Herald Sun- View from the Couch”- David Mathews (1998)


Kates Cottage/Museum and Cobb’n’Co. sell the typically full range of Kelly souveniers. You can walk in with nothing and wander out, dazed, hours later, wearing a Ned Kelly T-shirt (one of many designs), carrying several of the recent Kelly publications under your arm, swinging a ‘genuine’ leather Ned Kelly stockwhip in the other hand whilst heading over the road for lunch at Kellys Cookhouse.



 There, you can have a Ned Kelly Pie Floater, washed down with Kelly Cola, Reckless Rasberry, Larrikin Lime or Glenrowan Ginger. All produced for your enjoyment in Kelly Country of course. After lunch, it’s back over the road to see “The Last Stand” show in all it’s sound and light glory. At the price charged, you’d reckon it includes a “Ned Kelly” leather jacket. But no, it doesn’t. You just stumble out, half deafened by the din wrought within and slightly confused.



You’d better visit one of the museums to get the story straight in your mind. While your’e there, you might just buy a few souveniers, after all, you need to take something home to the grand kids and Mrs. Gongbeater for watering your Listeria while youv’e been away………..When you go back to the Kelly Country motel that night, tired, you should have a shower, using Ned shampoo, purchased that day and dry on the big, fluffy Ned Kelly towel you had to have. Now you’re all refreshed, ready for the trip to Beechworth in the morning where you will be able to get that “Ned” souvenier you missed out on…….