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Ned Kelly the Bushranger (from The Australasian Sketcher, 7 August 1880)

by an unknown artist

wood engraving on paper (sheet: 63.7 cm x 50.5 cm, image: 40.5 cm x 27.9 cm)

Edward 'Ned' Kelly (1855-1880), bushranger, is Australia's pre-eminent folk hero. Kelly and his siblings were raised by their mother, neé Ellen Quinn, after the death of their father, an Irish former convict. The family was in constant conflict with the authorities, and Kelly, implicated in the criminal activities of the Quinn clan, was charged with several offences over the 1860s and 70s. A police crackdown led to the arrest of Mrs Kelly in April 1878. In October, Redmond Barry sentenced her to 3 years' hard labour. Soon after, Ned Kelly, his brother Dan and two companions shot three policemen who were searching for them at Stringybark Creek. They avoided capture until they arrived in the town of Glenrowan in June 1880, intending to ambush a police train. In the town's inn, Kelly, wearing a homemade suit of metal armour, was wounded in a siege in which the others were killed. He was hanged in Melbourne Gaol on 11 November 1880.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2002
Accession number: 2002.45