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T H E  E A R L Y  Y E A R S 

 Mr Edward Kelly grew up in a tough environment. His parents John “ Red” Kelly and Ellen “Nell” Kelly nee Quinn , were both from Ireland, John Kelly was a convict sentenced to seven years transportation  for stealing two pigs, to the un-known land of Australia. Ellen and her ten brothers and sisters, came to Australia to seek a better life.


John’s prison records, when sentenced to Australia, was written as:


Trade, Labourer; Height, 5/8; Age, 21: Complex, Fresh: head, Large; Hair Reddish; Visage, Long; Forehead, Medium. Height; Eyebrows, brown; Eyes, Blue; Nose, Large: mouth Med.; Chin, Med.


The five month trip to Australia was very boring, and very harsh treatment. The prison hulk John was aboard was “ The Prince Regent “.


The “ Prince Regent “ arrived in Hobart the capital of Tasmania, Tasmania was then known as “ Van Demens land “ on the 2nd of January 1842. All convicts had notes taken of them monthly, John was reported as:

“ Quiet & Good “ and “ Orderly “ .


John worked through-out 1844-1848, and finally after seven years and two days since he was sentenced he received his “Certificate of Freedom” on 11th of January 1848 .Meaning he was now on a free man, he could return to Ireland, or start a brand new life in Australia.


John, along with lots of other freed convicts, sailed across the Bass Strait which is a mass of sea dividing Victoria a state of Australia between Tasmania also a state of Australia. He finally arrived in Melbourne a river town.




Back in 1841, the Quinn family arrived in Melbourne, a large family of ten, Ellen was among them. The family were:

Father James was 37, mother Mary was 32.

Their children were:

Patrick was 15

Helen was 10

Jack was un-known around 5-10 yrs

Ellen was 8

Mary-Ann un-known around 8-10 yrs

Kate un-known around 8-10 yrs

Jane un-known around 8-10 yrs

Jimmy was 6 months


The ship the Quins had came to Australia in was the “ England “. Soon after the Quins took up a small farm in the village of Brunswick near the Monee Ponds creek. When they had enough money to move to a bigger property near Broadmeadows.


Around the year of 1850 James moved yet again to an even bigger property near Wallan near Kemp’s swamp at the top of a creek called Merri creek. The property consisted of 640 acres and was large enough to support the growing family.


Ellen was turning 18, she was a very attractive young woman. Early that year or maybe the next year, there was a strange man who came to the Quinn homestead. It was John “ Red “ Kelly. He had met James Quinn Ellen’s father at a pub in Donnybrook a town not far from Wallan Red & James had talked about setting up an “jigger still” which is a plan to make a special type of Whisky (Alcohol) named moonshine whisky.


30 year old John Kelly fell in love with 18 year old Ellen Quinn that same day. James did not approve of the match, because John was an ex-convict.


In November, John and Ellen finally got married in Melbourne, Ellen had recently fallen pregnant to which would be their first child.

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