True History of the Kelly Gang

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True History of the Kelly Gang

His descent back into crime is precipitated by a visit from a local police officer, Constable Alex Fitzpatrick. The policeman woos Ned's younger sister Kate, prompting Ned to reveal that Fitzpatrick has multiple mistresses in other towns and has no intention of marrying Kate. After his mother Ellen threatens the constable with violence, Fitzpatrick pulls his revolver on the family and Ned shoots him in the hand in self-defense.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Although he dresses the wound and Fitzpatrick leaves while promising that no action will be taken, warrants for the arrest of Ned and his younger brother Dan are issued the next day. Ned Kelly and his brother Dan hide out in the hills of northeast Victoria , eventually being joined by their friends Steve Hart and Joe Byrne later becoming known as the Kelly Gang. Kelly's mother is eventually arrested along with her baby daughter and imprisoned in Melbourne as enticement for Kelly to give himself up.

A detachment of four policemen is eventually sent to kill the quartet after efforts to arrest them prove unsuccessful; the Kelly Gang ambushes them at Stringybark Creek, where Ned kills three of the policemen. This adds to the growing folklore surrounding the Kelly Gang, which they fuel by robbing banks and giving parts of the money to the lower-class settlers in Victoria who help to shelter the gang.

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Kelly falls in love with Mary and makes plans to escape the colony with her after she becomes pregnant with his child. Crucially, it is Mary who motivates Kelly to begin writing the story of his life as a legacy for his future child, who she fears will never know its father. Following two successful bank robberies, Mary uses the money to emigrate to San Francisco with her son and Kelly's unborn daughter; Kelly remains behind, however, unwilling to leave Australia until his mother is released from jail.


The gang is eventually cornered by a large squad of dozens of policemen versus just four in the Kelly Gang in the town of Glenrowan where the gang has taken numerous hostages and constructed several suits of plate-steel armor for protection. One of the hostages is the crippled local schoolmaster, Thomas Curnow , who encourages Kelly to relate the story of his entire life after seeing samples of his writing.

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Curnow betrays the gang by warning the incoming police train that the gang has sabotaged the tracks, feeling that history will view him as a "hero". The policemen surround the town and engage in a furious shootout with the armor-clad gang, seriously wounding Ned Kelly and killing the other three members of the gang.

Kelly's narrative stops abruptly just before the shootout itself; a secondary narrator, identified as "S.

True History of the Kelly Gang Reader’s Guide

C", relates the tale of the gunfight and Kelly's death by hanging. Since Curnow is shown to have escaped Glenrowan with Kelly's manuscripts, it is assumed that this narrator is a relative of Curnow's. Kelly dies a hero to the people of northeastern Victoria, with the legend of his life left to grow over time.

The novel is divided into thirteen sections each ostensibly written by Kelly , with a short description at the beginning of each section describing the physical condition of the original manuscripts.

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The novel also includes a preface and a frame narrative at the end which describe the events of Kelly's final shootout at Glenrowan and his eventual death sentence. Carey departs from what is known about Kelly's life by providing him with a lover and a daughter, for whom he has been recording his life history whilst on the run from the police. The novel is written in a distinctive vernacular style , with little in the way of punctuation or grammar ; the influence of Kelly's Irish heritage is also apparent in his language.

The style is similar to Kelly's most famous surviving piece of writing, The Jerilderie Letter. Excepting the frame narratives of "S. C", the novel does not contain any commas.

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Although there is much profanity in the novel, it has been censored replacing vulgarities with terms such as "effing" or "adjectival" for the benefit of Kelly's fictional daughter, presumably by Kelly himself. This novel uses many aspects of the history of the Kelly Gang, but much of it is invented, and some facts are distorted. The 'parcels' are entirely an invention of the author, as is the "Sons of Sieve", and the suggestion that Ellen Kelly and Harry Power were lovers. The character Mary Hearne, and her children, are entirely fictional; Ned Kelly is not known to have fathered any children in his lifetime, nor was he was known to be romantically involved with any woman during his outlawry.

A film adaptation of Carey's novel is currently in production, with Justin Kurzel serving as director. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The Jerilderie Letter. A brisk and suspenseful narrative, Kelly Gang is Ned's account of his own life, a memoir written for his daughter. Through his eyes, the book examines a singularly uncivilized era in Australian history, the late s a time when Irish immigrants suffered at the hands of the British ruling class. Shot through with a keen sensitivity to society's machinations and teeming with larger-than-life characters, Kelly Gang is a wonderfully Dickensian narrative.

From the start, the odds are against Ned. Born into a poor Irish family in Northeast Victoria, he is lied to and manipulated by the adults in his life, including his mother Ellen, who runs through a series of suitors after Ned's father dies. Long on avarice, short on loyalty, Ellen remains the center of her son's affections even after she sells him at the age of 15 to a bushranger named Harry Power.

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As Harry's apprentice, the good-hearted Ned is forced into a life of crime, soon ending up in jail. This is the first of many such stays for Ned, who is, time and again, deprived of the right to defend himself and victimized by a legal system that seems to lack one important element: justice. When, a few years later, he is accused of murder, Ned is forced to take to the bush with his younger brother Dan and a gang of allies. For nearly two years, they elude the law, robbing banks and using some of the money to aid the impoverished inhabitants of the district. Toward the end of his brief life, with the facts about himself buried beneath layers of betrayal, the year-old Ned is determined to set the record straight thus, his version of events, a narrative, written during his time as a fugitive, full of censored swearwords, 19th-century slang and high good humor.

Carey, pitch-perfect, works miracles with the rough vernacular of ill-educated Ned.

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