Friday, August 6, 2010

A Bit of History

We are in the last month of winter with yesterday cool and overcast.
When the sun omits to shine not even the birds feel the urge to sing.
Yes, we are spoilt, and the idea of remaining indoors for the day was not encouraging, so we decided on a drive.  
Only a little over an hour away is the sugarcane town of Maryborough.
Every Thursday is market and 'dress-up in the past' day.
So,  on with the warm clothes and off we went.
Through pine forests, past wild brumbies then vast sugar cane plantations, and on to the town.
An enjoyable time was spent looking at all the wares eating popcorn and watching the lunch time re-enactment with cannon blast, in the town square.

Although I doubt that Ned Kelly ever came to Queensland.
Maryborough sports his statue guarding over a Service Station/Motel with pride.
(Petrol priced at $1.23 a litre, now isn't that robbery?)


(1854 - 1880)

On a cold June morning, more than 100 years ago a bush ranger called Ned Kelly fought his final battle.
He was an outlaw who put on a suit of armour, rode a horse and fought police. Today, he is an Australian legend.
The eldest of eight children, he was born to Irish parents in Victoria in 1854.
When only twelve years of age his ex-convict father died. This forced the family to move closer to relatives at Greta, two hundred and forty kilometres northeast of Melbourne.
The countryside consisted of wild rugged terrain, making life hard.
The best land was held by a handful of wealthy squatters.
Ned's family was poor and the only opportunity they had to own land was as 'selectors'.
Under the selection system families took up areas of land set aside by the government and paid them off bit by bit.
As part of the scheme they were obliged to improve the property by clearing it, building a house, putting up fences and growing crops.
If this wasn't done, the land could be taken away.
For many it was an impossible situation. The plots of land were small, and the soil poor, making it impossible to make a living.
Faced with poverty, selectors often stole horses and cattle.
At sixteen Ned was convicted of receiving a stolen horse and served three years in gaol. His release came in 1874. 
In April 1878, a police officer accused Ned's mother of attacking him,  and Ned of shooting him in the wrist.
Whether this was true or not, Mrs. Kelly was sent to prison for three years and a one hundred pound reward was offered for the capture of Ned.
From that time on Ned, his brother Dan and two others lived and hid in the bush.
A reward of two thousand pounds was offered for Kelly and his gang.
This was later to rise to an amazing eight thousand pounds, the equivalent today of nearly two millions dollars!
But people supported Ned and for almost two years they helped the gang evade police.
During this time the Kelly gang robbed two banks.
The robberies were important in the making of the Kelly legend.
In June 1880 Ned made his final stand.
The gang were at the Glenrowan Hotel when surrounded by police.
Prepared to fight, the four bushrangers wore suits of armour made from steel.  Ned became the sole survivor of the siege.
Then in a Melbourne gaol, on 11 November 1880 Ned Kelly was hanged.
He was twenty-five years old.
Today some see Ned as little more than a criminal.
While others see him as badly done by, brave and  a bit of a larrikin.
No matter what, he will always remain distinctly Australian.


  1. Just stopped by to say hi, God bless, Bobbi

  2. Great post, and looks like it was a good day out. But did the lady in the period costume fire the cannon?
    I know the Ned Kelly story, and have mixed feelings about an Irish criminal becoming a folk hero - but I suppose there must be two sides to the story.

  3. Got to admit - the story was a little over my head. Maybe I'm just tired. Will have to go and reread it tomorrow.

    I just can't believe you are cool there - it is hotter than blazes here.


  4. hello love! this was a wonderful story and i suppose i'll have to admit to standing on the side of ned :) it makes me feel incredibly sad that poverty leads people to do the steal so that they can live.
    was nothing more said about his mother?? just wondering :)
    sunny days are on their way, dear one :)

  5. Bless you also Bobbi.

    Hello Phillip, Yes the lady lit the cannon....With Ned Kelly. I believe life was terribly hard. He lost his father early. I remeber my grandfather saying he came to their kitchen for bread. My grandfathers family were very strong Christians and they helped him? This tells me he wasn't an evil person.

    Hello Sandie, send some warm air here..
    It gets cold in the house but is warmer in the sunshine...and... its sunny today.We don't use the air-con very much. Like it natural.

  6. we learn from history,
    when one is starving, one does unbelievable things..

  7. I loved reading the story of Ned Kelly...seems strange that June is the last month of winter, now you have much to look forward too....:-)Hugs

  8. First of all, I really like the new look you've given your blog -- it's really inviting and pleasing to the eye! Second, I've never read the story of Ned Kelley -- being from the States, it's one that isn't part of our daily bread. But it reminds me how people under duress, placed in circumstances that are far less than just, can do things they might normally refrain from doing. His story actually reminds me of the one told in America of the James Gang (Jesse and Frank), who, after returning home from our War Between the States, found their land unjustly seized by the railroad and opportunists seeking unfair advantage over those who were vulnerable. Yes, they robbed banks and yes, they were outlaws, but there was much more to their story than simply attempting illegal gain. Things are often not nearly as black and white in the heat of the moment than they appear at a distance of a hundred years or so. It gives one pause and I appreciate you telling the story, especially for one who is not native to it. :-)

  9. Jingle, Very true my friend.

    Bernie,Yes it is strange how one part of the world differs from the other. Its August the last month. September starts Spring and my granddaughter gets married.

    Bill, Nice to see you again! hey, your looking good!!! You should have almost heard from Boards by now? I know the James brothers well.. I don't think I would have liked to live back then.
    Oh, and glad you like my new Blog look, I am learning.


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