The exploits of the Ned Kelly gang have entered legend. Seen now as a sort of Australian Robin Hood, and immortalised on screen by none other than Mick Jagger, and in paint by the great Australian artist Sidney Nolan, the reality – as related in this contemporary book written soon after the events it describes – was less romantic and more sordid than the myth. Kelly and his band were Irish ‘larrikins’ who preferred a career of brutal crime to honest toil. They operated as mounted bushrangers across the state of Victoria and brought terror to the outback with a string of armed robberies and murders in 1880 resembling the raids of the Jesse James gang or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in the US. This account is written by the Police chief who tracked them down, and is illustrated with many photographs, including one of Ned Kelly in his famous home-made armour that brought him a reputation for invincibility from police bullets. When finally apprehended and hanged his ironic last words were: ‘Such is life’. An indispensable book for all interested in the Kelly story, the history of crime and outlaws and early Australia.
Francis A Hare, Late of Victorian Police
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SB vii+326pp 8 illustrations ,2006 N&MP Reprint of 1892 Original Edition
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